Mary Magdalene shin bone on Ill. tour

February 20, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The Relic Tour, as it's called, began this at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in River Forest. The tour will visit 36 churches in just 31 days.

The relic was, according to believers, discovered in a cave in France in 1295, has been under the protection of Dominican priests ever since.

"They are looking at the shin bone of St. Mary Magdalene. It comes from France," Fr. Henri Dominique, OP/dir. Cave of St. Mary Magdalene, said.

The church does not say that Catholics have to believe in relics like this, and there is no definite, scientific proof that it's genuine. However, if you do believe, it's good for the soul.

"I was reflecting on the fact that Mary Magdalene was a friend of Jesus's and that she was with him through his life so it just helps me during this time of Lent," said one woman at St. Vincent.

"I feel maybe this can get me closer to Jesus and Mary before I leave this world," said a man.

One of the most obvious questions: How did Mary Magdalene end up in France? Well, you have to remember that in those days Christians were being persecuted in the Holy Land and they were expelled.

"She was actually put in a boat with other Christians. A boat without a mast. It was towed into the Mediterranean and it actually landed in the south of France not far from Marseilles. So she actually found her way to France and from there she evangelized," Deacon James Devine, Basilica of Mary Magdalene, said.

They say she preached in France for the next 30 years, converting the country to Christianity. Her entire skeleton, including the shin bone, was found in a tomb in St. Maximin, France. The tomb was identified.

"They found her remains with a plaque beside it says this is the body of Mary Magdalene," Devine said.

"I'm sure she's there," Father Dominique said. "I'm positive."

Find out where the shin bone goes next at The relic is on tour until March 20, 2013.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.