Saturday, February 8, 2014

Our Lady and the Marigold

According to Mary gardener John Stokes, there is a legend about the plant commonly known as the marigold that explains its name.  The story is that during the flight into Egypt bandits came upon the Holy Family and stole Mary's purse.  But when the robbers tore open the bag expecting a bounty of gold coins, what fell out instead was . . . marigold blossoms.

According to another author, Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., the plant blooms at the time of the various festivals in honor of Mary. He also explains that the plant was given the botanical name of calendula officinalis because it blooms on most or all of the calendae -- that is, the first days of the month. 

Interestingly, according to Brother John this flower relates to Our Lady in another way too:
"Sometimes described as 'the flower of grief', the marigold actually weeps on occasion.  Droplets gather in the flower during the night and drip off like tears when it opens in the morning.  This characteristic moved Shakespeare to write in A Winter's Tale:
'The Marygold that goes to bed with the sun, / And with him rises weeping.'"
The marigold would certainly be a good flower to include in any beginner's Mary Garden.

Sources for text:   Mary's Flowers ; Mary's Gold

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