“The rose of charity, the lily of chastity, the violet of humility and the golden gillyflower of heaven.”
-St. Bernard speaking of the Blessed Virgin Mary
By Emily Malloy
Flowers have become synonymous over the centuries with Our Lady. A great many blooms have been named for her. Many names originally bore the title "Our Lady's" preceding the names commonly used today: Our Lady's Mantle, Our Lady's Thistle, even foxglove (a personal favorite) was once known as Our Lady's Glove. Of course, Mary's Gold is now affectionate called Marigold. Floral imagery is even beautifully woven into the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary as we implore her intercession.
St. Bede has articulated one of the most beautiful of the blossomed descriptions of the Blessed Mother as he states that not only does the lily call to mind her purity, but that the golden anthers represent the beauty of her soul.
Words, even in all of their splendor, are unable to express the complementarity between Our Lady and flowers as the Flemish paintings do with floral wreaths encircle images of her.
The rosary, whose Latin name rosarium, calls to mind a garden of roses we gather as we meditate upon of the life of Christ and the role of his most Blessed Mother. During Mary's heavenly Coronation, I imagine roses tossed into the air landing at her feet while the sweet floral fragrance dances in the air. It seemed appropriate to celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary with Brueghelist flair and a touch of Theology of Home.
Dearest Mother and Mystical Rose, pray for us.