Archive for the ‘Mary Gardens’ Category

I love being a "sneaky mom"!  I just tested the kid’s knowledge of the Catechism without a formal test…we had a Scavenger Hunt today!!

The overall theme was all to honor Our Lady in the garden and give God praise!  We started and ended our hunt with the statue of Our Lady of Grace in our backyard. 
The first clue started with one of the little ones’ favorite songs to honor Our Lady which was draped at Her feet:

Roses_frise3"Hail Mary, Mother of God, Lady in Blue I love you!
Hail Mary, Mother of God, Mary is my mother too!"

What does a mother do?
A mother takes good care of you!
She will teach you all you ought to know,
And will direct you to THE WAY to go!

Across the very humid yard ran a pack of giddy children from clue to clue that challenged them to recall the Baltimore Catechism.  I used some of the lines from 24 Catholic songs for Children from Our Lady of Victory to make the clues.  (The music is a catchy way to memorize the catechism and the children love the songs.)

We ended with:

Stay close to Her and all will be well.
Hear Her say, "Come to me and learn to be wise,
if you call on me I will answer."
And with Her always is our greatest prize!"

Under a rock by the side of the statue of Mary was this note…

Garlofros"Make a garden for me here that is full of love from your heart.  Prayerfully tend the flowers and think about me…and I will think about you! 

Offer me your flowers as a prayer!  They will remind you of the virtues with which I wish to share to fill YOUR heart!!
I love when you visit me, and offer me your gifts of love and prayer!  Stay close to me and have no fear!  I will always point the way to THE WAY of Divine Love, My SON!

I love you!"

The site of this garden needs some work!  And now that work is ready to begin! (finally!! :o)
The children and I are putting our heads together for it’s design.  The children are going to use Poetry Stones Deluxe Poetry_stones_picto help them personalize their Mary garden and  label the plants we intend to place here.  We also hope to use this kit to make stepping stones for the different mysteries of the rosary…embellishing each with symbols of each mystery!  Looks like we will be sporting the look of cement this summer! There are a few hints on the cement here as well as some ideas for garden design.

The great thing is that we are working together and personalizing the yard and at the same time creating a Garden that Prays!

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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)

Petals12"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"

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Our Lady of Walsingham

"Wooden statue of the Mother of God with the Infant Christ at Walsingham. The statue, dating from the 19th century, was crowned with papal crowns in 1954, the year of the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption. Shown here carried in procession traditionally led by the Arhcbishop of Westminster, the statue is surrounded by flowers traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

(Pictured in The Madonnas of Europe – Pilgrimates to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe – English edition 2002, Ignatius Press)"

I was perusing the net today and I came upon this picture of Our Lady.  I am so taken by the thought of Her being presented in various arts symbolically.  My children are so attracted to this symbolism too.  They are fond of icons, old tapestries, mosaics, stained glass and now, the symbolism we find in Mary Gardens.  It is as though the children are captivated by their unique "language" and are eager to decipher its meaning.

"Flowers are included in works of Christian art not only because they are pretty and decorative, but also because they had a particular meaning. ("Iconography" is the word used by art historians for the study of symbolism in works of art.) The symbolism of flowers was used especially in medieval and renaissance paintings and tapestries to reinforce the message of the main subject. Sometimes the background of a tapestry would be carpeted with symbolic flowers. In paintings, a bouquet in a vase might be included, or the Virgin or another person might hold flowers. Elaborately embroidered vestments often had floral decorations, and the borders of illuminated manuscripts were very often embellished with symbolic floral ornaments. The significance of the flowers was generally known at the time these works were originally produced for the decoration of churches or private dwellings (most are now in museums).

"Children are usually very interested in deciphering the message contained in these art works. And they may enjoy using this "code" themselves. A bouquet or wreath to honor Mary can be made of real or silk flowers, and could include those that traditionally symbolize Mary and her virtues and attributes."

Why is it that the children’s attractions in anything …most especially anything dealing with faith seem to capture my attention as well?  THEY are teaching ME?!  Yes!  They have a special way of listening and responding to God where God speaks to them "personally and with profound simplicity".  …and their JOY is contagious!  Leave it to God to catch our attention with a sense of awe and wonder just like that of a child.  I know from reading about The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd that God has a very special relationship with children.  I guess it is because of that special relationship that we have with our little ones that we also get a glimpse of that same awe and wonder that they have with Him. 

Listening to God With Children: The Montessori Method Applied to the Catechesis of Children by Gianna Gobbi, it talks about sharing religious experiences with children, a role which we are CALLED to live.  It also states "there is only one true Teacher, who is Christ Himself".   "Both our own joy to be living a religious experience with children, as well as our effectiveness as catechists, rests in our desire and commitment to listen to God with the children."  …once again God knits His seamless garment….

(The term “seamless garment of life” was developed by Cardinal Bernardin as an attempt to link together all human life as valuable. We can have a more modest goal as we think about a “seamless garment of love” for children, born and unborn, and the women who nurture them."  This quote came from a pro-life article that I read, but it struck my heart in a different kind of way….)

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Since so many of you Real Learning people have been sharing your great craft ideas for a Mary Altar…we came up with our own Mary craft for today!

In honor of Our Lady and the tulips, we created our very own tulip stained glass!

Here is how we did it!
First you need an image…like these:
simple tulip image
tulip image for older kids 
another tulip image

print out on shrink plastic  like that seen here:
shrink plastic 

color with bright colors and bake in a well ventilated room according to directions!  and voila!  you have a beautiful stained glass image of a tulip to honor Our Lady and place in your window!  If you want to hang it, make a small hole in the plastic before baking and put it on a beautiful ribbon!

(as a little aside…this shrink plastic has so many wonderful uses…like using it for a Jesse tree in Advent!  I can share more!  I have loads of ideas!!

We are keeping a special Marian notebooking project that we are adding to during this whole Marian month and continuing on until August 15th.  We are tying our whole project into our Mary garden.  On August 15th we have a custom in our parish of bringing flowers to church to be blessed which we then place in our homes.  These flowers will be placed around our indoor Mary altar!

The notebook project we are working on is one that I will write more about in future days.  One thing that we are doing for the tulip is utilizing special scrapbooking paper cut into a basic tulip shape and putting our tulip copywork on that paper using the prayer/poem from our other post today.  We will mount it into our Mary notebook/lapbook on some pretty paper and we will embellish it with tulip stickers and cut outs of tulip flowers from seed catalogs and gardening magazines (ask your library for discards!) as well as images from the net!

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There are so many beautiful flowers are blooming outside my home!! But I, not satisfied with just looking, decided to look a few things up…  It seems that the tulip is symbolic of Our Lady…"like an empty chalice that turns it’s face upwards to be fulled with the Grace of God"….how beautiful!!

"Mary’s Flowers" (1894) – the English translations of Father Louis
Gemminger’s 31 addresses on Our Lady’s Flowers, one for each day of
May, 1858, in Germany, and indeed find that that his address of May
7th was on the tulip.

"The Tulip.

"The bright-colored Tulip holds itself erect upon a straight firm
stem surrounded by somewhat oblong leaves. Its calix closes at
night but reopens, as soon as the sun rises. The only thing which
this flower lacks is perfume. Although it does not delight the
sense of smell, yet it rejoices the eye by its beautiful,
variegated dress. In a spiritual sense, the tulip may be compared
to prayer, and is therefore, taken as an emblem of this virtue.

THE TULIP REOPENS WHEN THE SUN RISES, whereas it is closed during
the night. Thus, the soul, which loves prayer, opens herself only
to God and heavenly things; esteems only these; perceives only
these; and, with great care, shuts herself up to the night of sin,
and to the world, which would deter her from prayer, or make it
distasteful to her by distractions.

tells us that prayer, although essentially one, has nevertheless
various methods.

. . .

"0 heavenly Tulip, – my most beloved Mother Mary!

In your heart
burned the love of prayer, and you practiced this virtue to an
exalted degree in every circumstance of your life! Obtain for us
also the grace, that we may every day comprehend more and more the
majesty of prayer, since there can be no greater honor for man than
to speak to his God.

Teach us yourself, 0 Blessed Virgin, bow to
pray, Tulip

"The Tulip’s crown, raised high in air,
Reminds us of the voice of prayer;
The humble prayer from earth ascends,
And God, assistance kindly lends.


Blessed Mary knew this holy art,
And from her sinless Virgin heart
The prayer of faith, of hope, of love,
Ascended to the Throne above

Through life, prayer was her loving task;
At Cana’s feast we hear her ask,
And tho’ it was before His time,
Her Son changed water into wine.


While now from Heaven she sees our needs,
E’er with that Son for us she pleads,
And prays that we from God ne’er roam,
That so we reach our destined home.

In all our trials may we find
Assistance in this Mother kind;
And when on earth our lives shall close,
May we in Heaven find sweet repose."

(taken from mgardens.org)

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A Garden that Prays

Oooh!  SPRING is in the air!  The windows are open…a special joy is abound and the month isGardenglorygn May…Mary’s month! The air is so very perfumed and it does my heart a world of good!!  All the fragrant blooms are symbols of life!  How good it all is!!  How right it is to re-dedicate this life back to it’s creator through Mary the ultimate garden of virtue! 

("Garden Glory"

by Cheryll Arnold)

I have every hope to plant a Mary Garden this year.  In many ways, even the reading and meditation of some of the beautiful flowers dedicated to Our Lady is as delicious as smelling and seeing their sweet blooms!  I want my garden to pray!

I came across this prayer today:

A Mary Garden Prayer

" Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

As our hearts are raised to you in love and thanksgiving through the
light, grace, fragrance and symbolism of these pure, blest,
transfigured flowers of Our Lady  –  your direct creations, showing
forth and sharing with us your divine goodness, beauty and truth  –
we commune with you in awe and rapture and pray that we and all our
brothers and sisters may be opened to the fullness of the divine
love of God and Neighbor, through which we are to transform the
fallen world into the culminating earthly Peaceable Kingdom and
Paradise, that all may be lifted up resplendent in the eternal New
Heaven and New Earth of our Crucified and Risen Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ.

(see /www.mgardens.org)


Prayer Plant ~ The folding together of the leaves of this plant in
"prayer" each night reminds us that the plants of the Mary Garden
are themselves a prayer.

As Rev. James J. Galvin, C.SS.R. writes
in "My Garden Prays," Perpetual Help, February 1952:


"Gardens should pray! Gardens should remind children of their Mother. Gardens should be holy places that keep minds fresh and unsullied as Madonna lilies.  Gardens should chime with names that ring like the Litany of Loreto.  And gardens, if they are truly Mary Gardens, will naturally lead to Christ."


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Rose and Lily      

"Early legends tell that when Mary’s tomb was opened, it was empty. Mary was no longer there, but she left behind a harvest of roses and lilies. Roses and lilies became Mary’s flowers. The two flowers highlight Mary’s relation to God.  She is open and receptive to the word of God; she is pure and transparent to his presence (lily). But she is also fiercely loving and passionate in her attachment to God (rose). The lily was associated with the Annunciation, the Feast of Mary’s receptiveness, and lilies are often depicted in scenes of Gabriel’s visit to Mary. She is also the rose in which the divine word became flesh (Dante), enclosing heaven and earth in her loving womb. The rose symbolism has many facets and many legends. Roses sprang up as gifts for the Infant in the manger, and they blossomed where the Holy Family rested on the flight to Egypt. Considered the most perfect of flowers, the rose becomes the symbol of the Queen of Heaven. Mary is the mystical rose because of her ardent love of God. Mary is depicted sitting in a rose garden to signify that she is enclosed by the love of God. White roses symbolize Mary’s joys, red and yellow ones her sorrows and glories."

I love the symbolism of flowers dedicated to Our Lady!  I came across this site today.  We are  hoping to plant our own Mary Garden this spring.  There are so many wonderful flowers and herbs to choose from!  What a wonderful way to begin a month dedicated to Our Lady!

"The cloistered, enclosed garden, sometimes called a Paradise Garden, came to represent the purity of the Virgin Mary. We can honor Mary by planting her flowers in a garden dedicated to her. Gardens dedicated to Mary and containing flowers named after her are called Mary Gardens."

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