May Day – Devotions to Mary, Mother of God
Devotions to Mary increase in May. Today is May 1st. In Catholic tradition the first day of a month-long celebration honoring Mary, Mother of God. She is often referred to as Queen of May, and today many Catholics attend a ceremony called The Crowning of Mary. You may have heard of May Day customs where dancing around the May Poles occur in Britain. This is an old tradition still practiced today.
Flowers play a large part in Mary Devotions
Traditionally, young girls dressed in white carry a crown of flowers to place upon the head of a statue of Mary. This is a lovely way to honor and recognize Mary as the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven. In addition, Catholics decorate altars and shrines to Mary during the entire month of May.
My growing devotions to Mary
I guess in some small way I’ve had a devotion to Mary most of my life or at least a recognition of her. My mom, who has never been really religious, found a beautiful figurine of the bust of Mary draped in a blue shawl and placed it at my bedside when I was small.
Artistic renderings of Mary have always captured my attention. At least ten years before my conversion I placed a drawing of Mary on the wall above my writing area. So I wasn’t surprised when I came across a book that focused on gardens dedicated to Mary.
My interest in gardening had been strong throughout my life. The pairing of Mary and flowers seemed natural to me, so I embraced the concept of a Mary garden years long before I entertained any thought of becoming Catholic.
My Mary Garden
As Mary gardens go, mine is pretty small and consists of an outdoor statue of Mary and a few containers of plants commonly associated with her. I usually replant everything in May and will be doing the same this year. So I guess without even knowing it, I was a participant in the annual Catholic Mary May devotions.
I’ve always been drawn to blue flowers and every year I make it a priority to include them in my garden. Now I realize there’s another Mary connection as blue is often associated with her.
I’ve always associated peace with any statue of Mary and, of course, blue is such a relaxing color, so the statue and the blue flowers seemed to pair naturally.
Finding a statue of Mary suitable for outdoor use is pretty easy. I went to a local statuary shop where they had a wide variety and quickly found the one I wanted.
Outdoor Mary garden statues
There are many styles and types of outdoor Mary Statues suitable for garden settings and for practicing devotions to Mary.
My current one is made of concrete and perfect for the pond area. However, I’ve been looking at the garden outdoor statue of Mary featured that might fit nicely into my plans for another Marian devotion space with a small shrine or altar in the patio area.
Another alternative is to install an ever-popular Saint St Francis of Assisi statue. Saint Francis is beloved by many spiritual people and not just Catholics. Often you’ll find both Mary and St. Francis, too.
Perhaps this post will inspire you to look into creating your own Mary garden or personal space dedicated to the various devotions to Mary.
Check out this book if you’re interested in learning more about Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations and let me know how it goes. I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments below, too.