It always amazes me the depth of meaning to be found in tending Mary’s garden. I never would have guessed that the roots of the garden could plant flowers in our spiritual lives as ~virtue~, but with MARY it certainly can!!
Here is an excerpt I stumbled upon today…..
In the Madonna House Apostolate of Combermere, Ontario, extensive
use is made of the religious meanings of herbs, as set forth in
letters from Catherine Doherty, Director General, to Mary’s Gardens
of October, 1951 and September, 1963 (excerpted):
" . . . So few people in this land understand gardening in
God’s earth and gardening in one’s soul: the two in one in a
manner of speaking each help the other.
" . . . All our projects (at Madonna House) are not just
ordinary projects of interest – botanical, culinary or
educational….They are spiritual projects.
"There is such a need in our day and age of restoring
humankind to God, and our Apostolate is dedicated in
total to that restoration of Christ’s kingdom to him.
"This restoration must begin with individuals, though of
course in time it will extend to institutions and groups
and, in fact, nations. But like all things of God, it must
begin slowly, painstakingly on a small scale relating to
the individual and then to the rest of the world.
"My firm belief is that one way of restoring humankind to
God is by putting all in contact with nature on an intensive
and deep scale so that we all can begin to understand the
mystery of creation and begin to distinguish the face of
God in the beauty and order of nature.
"Also, I believe that there is a healing quality in working
with earth, plants, gardens and farming. And as we restore
the earth that God has given us to till to a healthy
condition and grow in it our own food, we become restored
ourselves and learn to read in the immense prayerbook of
nature the tenderness and love of God for us.
"Herbs are part of this. They’re also part of the
Scriptures. Like everything in nature, they help us to
understand the source of our faith and appreciate the
Scriptures better. And they are a beautiful way of
expressing a mutual charity. . . . The growing, drying
and preparing of them for storage and cooking purposes
involves many members of our apostolate in training here,
and herb lore and nature lore and the Scriptures become
alive for many. . . .
Send forth flowers as the lily,
and yield a fragrance,
And bring forth leaves in grace,
and praise with canticles,
And bless the Lord in his works."
Sirach 39:13-14 (Ecclesiasticus 39:18-19)
"As the flower pneums of the virtues have descended from heaven,
through Mary, for implanting in our hearts, so, in return, do the
flowers of our subtle, interior Tree of Love, rise heavenward in
grateful praise of God and the desire to participate in his works.
Rising thus, they are received, embellished and conduited by Mary
on their way to God, who then fills them with actual graces for
return, again through Mary’s hands, to our hearts for our
inspiration and prompting in our works of mercy and social
The way of flowers is thus one way rooted in tradition upon which
we can draw for the faith which moves mountains and the love which
is stronger than death, as we work to overcome the evils of
exclusion, discrimination, disadvantage, poverty, ignorance, drugs
and violence, in our works of personal and social redemption.
Copyright, Mary’s Gardens, 1997"