Helleborus niger. Holy Night Rose or Rose de Noel.
White blossoms, flushed with pink, sprang up outside the stable where Jesus was born after the
angel Gabriel, seeing the shepherd girl Madelon crying because she had no gift for Jesus, touched
the frozen earth with his staff. Madelon filled her arms with the flowers and ran to decorate
Jesus' bed and the stable where Mary had borne him.
Galanthus nivalis. The Flower of the Purification, Fair Maid of February, Candlemas Bells.
The snowdrop is said to have bloomed on February 2, when Mary took Jesus to the temple.
Forty days after giving birth, Mary came to the temple to make an offering, purifying herself from
ritual uncleanliness. She also presented her son to God. February 2, forty days after Christ's
birth, became known as the feast of the Purification, as well as the feast of the Presentation of
Jesus. The day also became known as Candlemas Day after 701 A.D., when Pope Sergius I
directed that a
procession with candles begin the celebration of the Feast of the Purification.
It was said that when Mary wept at the foot of the Cross, her tears fell to the ground and
turned into the tiny fragrant blossoms of this early spring plant. In England it had the name "Our
Lady's Tears" because when viewed from a distance the white flowerets gave the appearance of
tear drops falling.
Rosa. red rose, Our Lady's Rose; Lilium. white lily, Mary's Lily.
It was told that Mary was surrounded with red roses and white lilies as she ascended into
heaven. Also that Thomas, who had not been present when Mary died, refused to believe that this
had happened and asked that her tomb be opened. When it was opened it was found to contain
only lilies and roses.
During the fourteenth century in France a wealthy knight, Salaun, renounced the world and
entered the Cistercian Order. He was devoted to Mary but could never remember more than the
first two words of the Ave Maria. He kept repeating the two words, "Ave Maria, Ave Maria," as
he prayed to the Virgin. He prayed to her day and night, using only those two words. He grew old
and when he died was buried in the chapel-yard of the monastery. As proof that Mary had heard
his short but earnest prayer a fleur-de-lis plant sprang up on his grave, and on every flower shone
in golden letters the words "ave Maria."
Rosemarinus officinalis. Arbor Sanctae Maria, St. Mary's Tree.
The rosemary bush gave shelter to the Holy Family during the flight into Egypt. It is told that
Mary hung the linens of the Holy Child on the rosemary bush to dry, and afterwards it became
aromatic and evergreen, with little blue flowers springing up from its branches.
As Herod's soldiers pursued them, the Holy Family came upon the Madonna's Juniper Bush, as
it is known in Sicily, which opened up its thick branches to enclose them, hiding them until
Herod's men had gone. The inside of the large bush became a soft bed, sheltering the fleeing
family, while needles on the outside branches grew prickly as spears. Herod's soldiers could not
penetrate the spiky branches of the juniper and passed the family by.
Violets blossomed outside the Virgin Mary's window when she spoke the words, "Here am I,
the servant of the Lord," to the angel Gabriel and accepted God's divine plan for her. It is told
that as the angel left Mary, he stopped to bless the little flowers, bestowing a delicate fragrance on
Calendula officinalis. Scottish or pot marigold. Mary's Gold.
Tradition says that Our Lady used the golden blossoms as coins and that her garments were
adorned with the flowers. Early Christians placed calendula around statues of Mary, offering the
blossoms in place of coins, and called them Mary's Gold.
The flowers of meadow cress are known as Our Lady's Smock in Cheshire, England, because
the flowers look like little smocks. When they cover a meadow the flowers give the appearance of
little smocks laid out to dry.
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