Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Catholic Springtime Traditions: The Mary Garden

This tradition is so versatile and is an excellent tool for teaching theology and some of the traditions that mention the Holy Family. A full treatment of these beautiful gardens is impossible in a blog post, but they are worth taking a look at in any case.

Church tradition, Catholic and Orthodox, has come to associate some flowers and plants with different stories of the Holy Family and Our Lady in particular. A Mary Garden that focuses on the Flight into Egypt could include:

(Protected the Holy Family with shade in the day and warmth at night)


(Hid the Holy Family from robbers and bandits)


(Hid the Holy Family from Herod's men)

Germander and or Veronica Speedwell

(Sprang up where the Holy Family rested)

Rose of Jericho

(Sprang up where the Holy Family rested)


(Used as a pin Cushion by Mary as she made her living weaving in Egypt)

If you have the climate and abundance to have a Date Tree, this tree fed the Holy Family.

For other events such as the Nativity and Presentation of our Lord, there are other flowers. There are also groupings of flowers that symbolize Mary's Motherhood, Mary as Wife, Mary's devotion, Mary at the Cross and Mary's tomb. The lists can be very long and fit almost ever climate.

I have seen a garden for the Motherhood of Mary that was very beautiful.

These gardens, like all things of Mary, should lead us to a greater devotion to her Son. These flowers and the stories associated with them bring the Holy Family to life. They bring the reality of the Holy Family as a family into our homes.

If you do not have garden space there are ways to do indoor Mary gardens and window box Mary gardens.

All in all, this is a beautiful tradition that can inspire prayer, teach the faith, help us to appreciate God's gifts in nature and teach us how to grow and tend such beautiful gifts.

Mary's Gardens HomePage (link) has everything you need to know about Mary Gardens.

There is also an excellent book: Mary's Flowers, Gardens, Legends, and Meditations by Vincenzina Krymow

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