Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam Pope FrancisVaya con Dios

Today, we have a new Pope.  Vaya con Dios (means Go with God or Godspeed)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose the name of Francis, one of the patron saints of Italy.

May we bless the workings of the Holy Spirit to help guide us and direct us and Pope Francis I. 

I didn't know anything about this man until today.  It will be inspiring to learn from him in the course of his papacy. 

What impresses me at first glance is that he was still
using public transporation.  Wow! 

The moment of silence pictured below was moving, as well
as the Hail Mary we all prayed together. 

Vaya con Dios.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

This is my Mom she is on your right with the rosary beads and was taken at St. Cecilia's Church in Ashland, Massachusetts.  This was when there was a May Procession.  Years later I would work on the grotto and getting the flowers and landscape ready for 1st Communion students to crown the statue of Mary.  Although, the May Procession as such was not practiced, the students did process from the church to crown the statue and sing songs praising Mary, along with the parishioners. I don't know what possessed me to alter that photo above with silly daisies, ugh!  I have to find the original picture again and rescan. 

Before I get into the Grotto, just wanted to post a picture of my mother cooking.  She was always cooking and baking and known for her baking skills since a young child in the 4H. She had all the Sunday dinners for the family all the time.  Oh,  I miss my Mom! 

How, I got involved in the Grotto at St. Cecilia's:

Many years ago, I had the privilege and honor of working for John Stokes, Jr., co-founder of Mary's Gardens. As we are coming upon Mary's Month of May, I am thinking of the gardens and the flowers of Our Lady.  Here's a link to the Marian News page.  with comments regarding honoring Our Lady. 

"Mary's Gardens was founded in 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to research the hundreds of flowers named in medieval times as symbols of the life, mysteries and privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus—as recorded by botanists, folklorists and lexicographers; and to assist in the planting of "Mary Gardens" of "Flowers of Our Lady" today." from his website now found at University of Dayton Marian Library.

I found Mr. Stokes online actually, while looking for flowers to add to a garden at what was my church, and is my 'home' parish, St.Cecilia's Parish, Ashland, MA.   Friends and I were recreating the Grotto of Our Lady there.  While that was a truly life changing experience, I was soon to meet John Stokes, Jr., via online correspondence and eventually did some transcription. for his work with the organization.  Much of what I transcribed was his thoughts and those of his colleague and friend,  Bonnie Roberson.   From his articles on found now at the University of Dayton.  (now at Dayton).  You will see from reading the main site, there is comprehensive research on the flowers of Our Lady.  I would then visit the Lillie Tower in Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod, being inspired by his original story and also the US National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC while on a college visit and subsequently trying to make the Ashland garden a sort of a shrine. 

Because it is Mother's Day, I'm remembering those days of flowers and new growth.  The site still looks good as it is well maintained.  Maybe over the weekend I'll take an updated picture. 

Vaya con Dios

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Legend of the Poinsettia

The Poinsettia and other plants associated with Christmas

A charming story is told of  Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present to the Christ Child at Christmas Eve services. As Pepita walked slowly towards the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.
"I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro consolingly.
Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, enough for a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.

As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro's kind words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.

From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.
Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!

This story is told and beautifully illustrated in “The Legend of the Poinsettia” by Tomie de Paola.

In Spain the poinsettia is known as the Flor de Noche Buena, the flaming star-like blossoms an emblem of the star of Bethlehem.  

A few words about other plants associated with Christmas:

Plants traditionally used as Christmas decorations are mostly evergreens: first, because they were the only ones available in the winter season; second, because from ancient times the evergreens have been symbolic of eternal life.

A German legend says that the carnation bloomed on the night of Jesus’ birth.
German peasants of the 19th century told of the apple tree blooming on Christmas Eve.

Holly has been part of Christmas decorations in English churches since at least the fifteenth century. The holly tree was known as the Holy Tree and in old Cornwall was called Saint Mary’s Tree in respect for the Mother of God.   
It is said that one winter night, the holly miraculously grew leaves out of season in order to hide the Holy Family from Herod's soldiers. Since then, it has been an evergreen as a token of Christ's gratitude.

 A German legend says that the holly's berries used to be white but Christ's blood left them with a permanent deep red stain. This is told in the English song, The holly and the ivy. The melody is from an old French Carol.

The holly and the ivy
The holly and the ivy,
Now both are full well grown.
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Savior. Chorus

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.3 Chorus

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas day in the morn. Chorus

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all. Chorus

Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the quire. 

by Vincenzina Krymow

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roses and Lilies By Vincenzina Krymow

From the author of Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations

     Roses and lilies have been associated with Our Lady since the early days of Christianity.

     During the first century, heathen temples were transformed into Christian churches, and traditions once associated with heathen deities were transferred to Mary and the saints. As devotion to Mary spread, plants once dedicated to Venus, Roman goddess of Spring, were rededicated to Mary. Roses and lilies, sacred symbols of Venus, became Mary’s flowers.

     The white rose symbolized the Virginity of Mary and the perfect rose became a symbol of the Queen of Heaven. The lily represented chastity. The angel Gabriel is said to have held a lily (Madonna lily) in his hand when he came to tell Mary she would give birth to Jesus.
     One of the earliest legends, from the second century, tells us that when Mary was assumed into heaven, and her tomb was opened, it was found to be filled with lilies and roses.

     In the fourth century Mary became known as the Rosa Mystica. The cult of the Virgin began in Europe in the sixth century and by the seventh century the cult of Mary the Virgin and the Mystical Rose flourished.

     Early Christian poets saw Mary’s motherhood as enclosing heaven and earth within her womb, symbolized within the space of a single round rose. They associated Mary with the rose and the sealed garden of roses and lilies described in the Song of Solomon: “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys” (Song of Solomon, 2:1).

Legends about roses and lilies flourished, reaching a peak in popularity in the twelfth century. They told about important events in Mary’s life:

Artist, Brother Joe Barrish, S.M
     The Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) bloomed the night Jesus was born.
     The Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica), also known as Mary’s Rose, sprang up every place she 
     and Joseph rested during the flight into Egypt.

   Devotion to Mary was rewarded as told in other legends. They tell of Mary placing a garland of roses (Rose Campion) on the head of an English lord who prayed to our Lady as he entered dangerous woods. Thieves saw the roses and let the lord pass unharmed. A wealthy knight was very devout but could only remember the first two words of the Ave Maria prayer. After he died and was buried a fleur-de-lis (yellow flag iris; lis means lily) sprang up from his grave, and the words “Ave Maria” appeared in golden letters on every blossom.


Hymns celebrated Mary and roses and lilies. St. Peter Damian, who lived in the eleventh century, wrote:

          He clothed you with lilies, covered you with roses
          He embellished you with the flowers of virtue

     In the twelfth century Pope Innocent III wrote these lines in a hymn titled The Assumption of the Virgin:

          Give roses, throw lilies For the queen
          Now divine
          Entered these hallowed halls

      During the Middle Ages Raphael, Signorelli, della Gatta, di Bicci and other artists painted Mary’s tomb filled with roses and lilies. Giotto, Fra Angelico and Francia depicted Mary with lilies and roses in paintings titled Enthroned Madonna, Madonna and Child and The Immaculate Conception.

By Vincenzina Krymow

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early U.S. Mary Gardens by Vincenzina Krymow

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early U.S. Mary Gardens by Vincenzina Krymow

 We are so happy to have Vincenzina write for us today.

Early U.S. Mary Gardens
By Vincenzina Krymow
1932  St. Joseph Church, Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Mass. 

The first Mary Garden that we know of was established at St. Joseph church in Woods Hole on Cape Cod in 1932.

Called “Garden of Our Lady,” it was created by Frances Crane Lillie, a wealthy woman from Chicago who first came to Woods Hole in 1891 to study biology.
During her travels in Europe, Mrs. Lillie had learned that English monastery gardens once included flowers with names associated with Our Lady. She wanted to create a garden in the "tradition of Mary Gardens throughout the world" and asked an academic friend, Winifred Jelliffe Emerson, to search early plant literature for plants with religious and Mary names.

Her friend found Mary-named flowers in old botanical and folklore books and together they planned and established the garden. Hurricanes destroyed the garden several times, but each time it was restored.

1954 - Mount St. John/Bergamo, Dayton, Ohio
Marianist Father Thomas Stanley had read about Mary Gardens and decided to find out more in 1953, when Pope Pius XII declared that 1954 would be a Marian year for the Catholic Church.  

Father Stanley traveled to Woods Hole to see the Mary Garden there, made contact with John Stokes’ Mary’s Garden Nursery and in 1954 created a Mary Garden at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto on the grounds of Mt. St. John/Bergamo.

1982 - Episcopal Convent of the Transfiguration, Glendale, Ohio
A shady Mary Garden was established in Glendale, a suburb of Cincinnati, at the Episcopal Convent of the Transfiguration. The Garden was designed by Miriam Evans, a resident of the Johnston House on the convent grounds who had heard of John Stokes interest in Mary Gardens and contacted him for information. The garden was designed around a statue of the Madonna and Child which had been placed there sometime in the 1960’s.
The garden was dedicated on August 15, 1982, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1988 - St. Mary’s church, Annapolis, Maryland
This Mary Garden is located next to the historic Carroll House. Inspiration for the garden came from Nan Sears, who first heard about Mary Gardens in 1945.
With help from volunteers she “turned a patch of weeds and gum wrappers behind the church” into a tribute to Mary. Crepe myrtle trees shade part of the area, and a circle of boxwood trees, more than 100 years old, provide a place where school children plant their own garden each spring in honor of their mothers. 
The Mary of Nazareth statue, sculpted from polished Vermont granite, shows Jesus when he was about  9 or 10 years of age. The garden was dedicated Sept. 8, 1988, feast of Mary’s birthday.

1993 - St. Catherine of Siena parish, Portage, Mich.
After many years in Africa, Father Stanley, who had established the Mary Garden at Mt. St. John/Bergamo in Dayton, returned to the U.S. and was assigned to St. Catherine of Siena parish in Portage, Michigan. 

He soon found a parishioner willing to organize a Mary Garden project for the parish. Planning began in January, 1993, flowers were planted in June and the garden was dedicated Aug. 14, 1993, the vigil of the feast of the Assumption.
A specially-commissioned bronze sculpture of the Immaculate Conception replaced an earlier statue and was dedicated on Aug. 18, 1996.The statue represents Mary, Model of the Church, with child and in anguish for delivery. 

(Excerpted from Radio Maria talk given 7-1-11 by Vincenzina Krymow. She is the author of Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends andMeditations, 
now in its third printing. Available from Tau Publishing.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grotto at the University of Notre Dame, Our Lady of the Lake

 If you are journeying into a Marian experience, take a look at the Grotto at Notre Dame.  A truly special place and everything you want to know about it, can be found here By Dorothy V. Corson

 and here