Q: What is the significance and/or history of cherry wood
as it relates to Mary?
A: The cherry tree is not among the popular Marian trees such as cedar, palm, cypress, olive,
acorn, rose bush and pomegranate. However, there are authors like Richard of St. Laurent who
liken Mary to many trees. Richard mentions thirty-three different trees (De laudibus..., lib. 12). Conrad of
Megenberg only twelve (lib. nat.). Sources for these allegories are the
Canticle of Canticles, Sirach 24
and Isaiah 60 where, alas, the cherry tree is not mentioned. There are a few examples of paintings
where Mary is linked to a cherry tree, for example, Master of "Paradiesgertelein" (1410) with
Mary sitting between the tree of life bearing cherries and the tree of death without any fruit of any
kind. We know of a cherry tree in Kleinschadowite (Bohemia), victim of frost and ice in 1709,
which budded forth and bore fruit after a Marian image had been affixed to its trunk. According to
a Tyrolean legend (Bozen), Our Lady would have a special preference for
cherry trees and chooses them for apparitions or as dwelling place for her image. Although
without solid factual support, two hypotheses might be offered:
- A symbolic connection between life and fruitfulness of the cherry tree
and Mary might be ventured
- In the history of devotion, trees are frequently mentioned as dwelling
places of Marian images, either as place where they are found or where Our
Lady wants the image to be affixed. The type of tree corresponds
frequently to the local vegetation.
Click here for information on Marian
related to the cherry tree.
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