I thought I would share a story about a Mary Garden with you today.
Are you wondering what you get if you sign up for our monthly letter subscription?
As you might already know, our letter subscription is not a conventional one. In fact, they might not even be considered letters!
Inside our envelope, instead of a traditional letter, we have give you a story. The stories are appropriate for elementary to early middle school aged children, though younger kids, if read to them can enjoy them too.
If you are curious about the type of story that you will receive, then please enjoy the following story: Lina’s Mary Garden. It is a prime example of what you will find in future letters.
Lina’s Mary Garden
One spring morning while the Sullivan children were playing outside in the backyard, a package arrived.
“Lina! Come inside please!” Mother called from inside the house. “There is a package for you.”
“Who is it from?” Lina asked coming inside followed closely by her siblings.
“It doesn’t say on the outside of the package.” Mother said handing it to Lina. “Why don’t you open it and find out.”
Lina slowly pulled the tape off the box and opened it up as Damien and Hugh bounced up and down impatiently.
“What is it? What is in the box?”
Inside the box, Lina found a blue letter with her name written on it. Under the letter was an object wrapped in brown paper and string.
“Mommy, could you read the letter for me please?” Lina asked because she was not very good at reading yet.
“Of course I can, sweetie,” Mother said, opening the envelope. Lina, this letter was written by your Godmother. This is what she wrote:
Bonjour from Lourdes my dear Goddaughter Lina!
Are you enjoying spring? Your Godfather and I are enjoying our Marian apparitions pilgrimage. We just left Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine and arrived in Lourdes yesterday.
We are very sorry to have to tell you that since our pilgrimage will continue until the end of summer, your Godfather and I won’t be able to celebrate your birthday with you this year.
“They won’t?” Lina asked sadly.
“I’m afraid not, honey.” Mother gave Lina a hug and continued reading the letter.
We know that you will be very disappointed at this sad news, so your Godfather and I have sent you a very special gift that we purchased here in Lourdes. This gift should keep you busy until we return. We hope you love it!
Love your Godparents,
Happy Seventh Birthday Ma Cheri!
P. S. Don’t forget to read the note attached to your gift!
Lina quickly unwrapped the object hidden in the brown paper and string. It was a beautiful statue of Mary.
“How will this statue keep me busy until the end of summer?” Lina was a little disappointed.
“I don’t know,” Mother admitted. “Why don’t I read the note so we can find out.”
Mother opened the note and a packet of seeds fell out.
“What are those for?” Marguerite asked.
“The note here says:
As you can see, your Godfather and I have sent you a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a packet of Marigold seeds. We would love for you and your family to plant a Mary Garden. The Marigold seeds should help you get started.
“What is a ‘Mary Garden’?” Lina wanted to know.
“A Mary Garden,” Mother explained, “is a garden that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It usually holds a statue of Mary, just like the one your Godparents sent you Lina. It is also filled with plants that are either named for Mary, or have some special or significant connection to her.”
“Marigolds, for example, symbolize Mary’s Gold because early Christians used to place these flowers around statues of Mary as an offering instead of coins.”
There is also a legend that says shortly after the baby Jesus was born, during the flight to Egypt, the Holy Family was robbed by a band of thieves.
The thieves had succeeded in stealing Mary’s purse. But, when they opened the purse to see the coins inside, a bunch of Marigold blossoms fell out and there was not a coin in sight!”
“Wow that’s neat!” Jude exclaimed. Everyone agreed.
“Yes. Many other plants have meanings and legends like that, too.”
“Well it looks like you have some research to do, Lina.”