The forest here was dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis (protector of wild things, children and childbirth) for seven centuries before legend claims Mary Magdalene arrived here. It is a place saturated with silence and Presence.
The final staircase leads to a gate with the lineage of the monastery: Cassianite monks, Benedictines, Dominicans.
Beyond, the scene from the Gospel of John, with the Virgin Mary and John standing to the left and right, while Mary Magdalene weeps at the feet of Christ on the cross
Most Pietas (like Michelangelo's) show only the Virgin Mary holding her broken son in her lap. This one, however, like the statue at St, Sulpice in Paris, shows a trio of deep tenderness, with Mary Magdalene burying her face in the Virgin's lap in grief.