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,
978-1-935257-39-4now in its third printing. Available from Tau Publishing.)