Bouquet for Mary
Flowers Named in Honor of the Virgin

by A. Joseph Barrish
September 13 - November 12, 1999

About A. Joseph Barrish, S.M. 4435 East Patterson Road
Dayton, Ohio 45430
residence: (937) 426-7852
studio: (937) 320-5405

Native of Cleveland, Ohio; studied at the University of Dayton (B.S. in Ed.); The Ohio State University (M.A.); had Special Student status at Pratt Institute; worked with Birgit Skoild of Print Workshop, London, England. Certificate: Institute of Liturgical Consultants, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago; is a professed member of the Society of Mary (Marianists), a religious congregation of the Roman Catholic Church.

Concerning the serigraphs shown here...

The world is charged with the grandeur of God,
It will flame out like shining from shook foil...."

I believe the poet right and that the myriad variety of flowers are so many sparks flashes of God's infinite joy and creativity. It should not be surprising that devotees of Mary have seen beauty in flowers. The Mystical Rose, the Lily Among Thorns are ways we try to image Mary in her beauty and uniqueness. In being asked to make images of some of the many flowers that legend and tradition have associated with the Virgin, I have been impressed how people from all ages and from many countries have seen in flowers--both wild and cultivated--signs and symbols of Mary's presence and beauty. These myths and legends attest to the love and affection of the faithful.

Flowers are both fragile and hearty; they often grow and seem to prosper in less than ideal conditions. Flowers are accessible; one need not be wealthy to have a stand of day lilies or arose bush or two. So like devotees to Mary, flowers have a broad appeal and can be found in the cultivated formal landscaping of the rich or in the geranium pot on the fire escape of a city flat.

I have selected the woodcut image as a the modus operandi for presenting these images. The woodcut was a popular printing technique in the Middle Ages and beyond when legends concerning many of these flower forms were made popular. The woodcut is a relief print--an image created by cutting away the flat surface of a plank of wood, then inking the surface and pressing paper on the surface--something like the inked rubber stamps we have all used. The prints on display here are done with another graphic process: the silkscreen or serigraph. In silkscreen printing, ink is scraped across a stencil to create the dark areas. These prints are handmade; I colored each one and then ran the dark outline on the colored areas. This took several months of pretty consistent working and research--I wanted to get the images exact and the colors accurate. And while a horticultural expert may question some detail, I plan to use "poetic license" as my out!

I would invite the viewer to research a little on his own and discover some of the delightful stories connected with these flowers. These images will soon appear in a book where they will illustrate the text. Ask the Marian Library personnel about it.

Finally, I invite you to see in these flower images and in flowers around us, a beautiful sign of the Maker's love for each of us. And God's love is no more evident than in his willingness to share his own mother with us. In the liturgy, the Church has Mary speaking to us in the words of the Book of Proverbs:

"And I was delighted every day playing before him at all times, playing in the world. And my delight is to be with the children of men."

Awards include:

  • Purchase Prize: Metropolitan Church Federation Exhibit of Religious Art (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • first place and purchase awards: Liturgical Guild of Ohio (Columbus)
  • first and second place awards: Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors
  • second place award: Arthur Schroeder Paper Company awards (NYC)
  • has shown in All-Ohio Printmaker Show (Dayton, Ohio)
  • All-Ohio Show (Canton, Ohio)
  • National Small Painting Exhibit (Stockton, California)
  • Color Print U.S.A.: Nation Print Exhibit (University of Texas, Lubban)
  • The Artist Views the City: National Exhibit (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Sacred Art Twelve: Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois).


  • IBM Gallery (NYC)
  • Clare Spitler Gallery (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • Standard Oil collection (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Dayton Art Institute: Circulating Gallery
  • Sentanta Gallery (Dublin, Ireland)
  • in numerous private collections in Los Angeles, St. Louis and in Ohio.

Commissions include:

  • Marianist Novitiate Chapel, Dayton, Ohio: Chapel design, stained glass, appointments
  • St. Columba Chapel Dublin, Ireland: Chapel design, stained glass, appointments, fresco
  • Middletown Public Library, Middletown, Ohio: triptych acrylic collage
  • Queen of Martyrs Church, Dayton, Ohio: stained glass
  • St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio: stained glass, fresco
  • Church of the Holy Angels, Dayton, Ohio: altar, ambo, ambry, presider's chair
  • Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati: banner design and fabrication
  • City of Dayton: Riverside Mural Project
  • Catholic Central HIgh School, Springfield, Ohio: altar, ambo, Eucharistic reserve, stained glass
  • Lehman High School, Sydney, Ohio: liturgical design consultant
  • Resurrection Lutheran Church, Lebanon, Ohio: baptismal font, ambo, altar base
  • Athenaeum of Ohio: original oil painting
  • St. Maximiliam Kolbe Church, Hamilton, Ohio: liturgical design consultant
  • Adorers of the Precious Blood Convent Chapel, Wichita, Kansas: Stations of the Cross

Has taught in Maryland and in Ohio; has served as assistant professor of fine arts and commercial design coordinator in Performing and Fine Arts Department, University of Dayton. Presently resides in Dayton and is gallery supervisor of Gallery St. John and director of the Sun and Stars Artworks Design Studio.

About the Book

"Mary's flowers have been celebrated in many art forms.  Chaucer mentions the Virgin's Flower (periwinkle) in his poems. Shakespeare wrote that 'winking Mary-buds (marigolds) begin to ope their golden eyes.'  Popes and saints wrote hymns comparing Mary's virtues to roses and lilies," writes Vincenzina Krymow in Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1999, ISBN 0-86716-349-6, $29.95, 192 pages, hard cover).

This book is also published in Canada by Novalis, ISBN 2-89507-053-9, CDN$29.95. Contact Kathy Shaidle at Novalis, 49 Front St. E., 2nd FL, Toronto, ON, M5E 1B3. Or call 1-800-387-7164.

Krymow discusses flowers named after Mary, Mother of Jesus, and retells the ancient legends that inspired their names. She also explores Mary Gardens, small, medieval-type gardens containing flowers and herbs named after Mary.

Since medieval times, flowers have taken their names from the virtues of Mary, or events in her life. Krymow invites readers to spend time with the meditations they inspire. Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations is a treasury of botanical history and lore. Thirty beautiful illustrations based on medieval woodcuts bring each bloom to colorful life. ln addition, the book contains a bibliography and index, along with a list of all flowers named after Mary's virtues, to give readers additional sources to find information.

"We honor Mary in many ways, through the Rosary, special devotions and prayers that help us contemplate Mary's qualities and virtues.  In this book we offer yet another way to honor Mary, through reflecting on flowers named after her and immortalized in legends that tell us about her attributes and significant moments in her life and that of her child, Jesus.  Through the meditations for each flower we experience these events with Mary and find in them meaning for our own lives," writes Krymow.

Author Vincenzina Krymow writes for local and regional publications and journals and her work appears on the Mary's Gardens home page and the Marian Library home page. Her love of Mary and roses was nurtured by her mother and her love of gardening by her father. She lives in Centerville, Ohio, with her husband, Joe.

The Illustrator, A. Joseph Barrish, S.M., is an artist, designer and liturgical design consultant in Dayton, Ohio. Using the graphic technique of serigraph, he hand-colored each print in this book, a practice common in hand-printed woodcuts in medieval and Renaissance Europe.

Meditations were written by M. Jean Frisk, who has a degree in sacred theology and is on the staff of the Marian Library at the University of Dayton.

Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations can be ordered from St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1615 Republic St., Cincinnati, OH 45210. To place an order, phone toll-free 1-800-488-0488; to request a review copy, call John Koize, ext. 130. Visit the St. Anthony Messenger Press Web site:

Works on Display

Click on the image to enlarge and read the flower's Marian Legend

Ox-Eye Daisy
Scotch Rose
Our Lady's Rose
Our Lady's Bedstraw
Jerusalem Cowslip
Yellow Lady Slipper
Madonna Lily
Star of Bethlehem
Christmas Rose
Lily of the Valley
Roses and Lilies
Germander Speedwell
Rose of Jericho
English Marigold
Cuckoo Flower
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International Marian Research Institute
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Dayton, OH 45469-1390
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