Why a Mary Garden?
Many researchers have written about the importance of spending time in nature to improve our mental, physical, and spiritual health. The connection with fresh air, and living growing plants and creatures can pull us out of our daily concerns and reset our wellness in all these areas.
I’ve experienced this many times, especially this past year when being able to be outside for some time each day became a worldwide focus to improve well-being. A while ago my family planted rose bushes around a beautiful statue of Mary that I had been given as a gift. I go out to this garden several times a week to deadhead the blooms and water the bushes. While I’m out there my statue reminds my heart and mind to spend time with God and Our Lady.
Mary always points us back to God, never taking glory for herself, so spending time in my Mary Garden not only brings me refreshment from nature, but also reminds me to revel in the God who created it all. She reminds me of the awesome wonder of God’s creation of the universe, and of the minute, loving detail He expresses in every blossom, every shade of color, the variety of each leaf, every creature. God’s love is so richly abundant that He pours it forth, and reaches out to us, through all the amazing miracles of nature around us. The presence of Mary’s statue then leads my mind to how God in His mercy profoundly poured forth His love in His Incarnation through Mary and reminds me to try to be open to His promptings as her heart was during her earthly life.
When my family joins me for these tasks in the garden, it allows me to mention these things and have little conversations about God that wouldn’t feel quite as easy elsewhere. As we notice a flower, that wasn’t there yesterday, has suddenly and beautifully appeared, or we see a bee and are awed by the detailed systems God has put in place to protect and grow our natural world, talk of God flows naturally. Those thoughts and conversations can lead to feeling that perhaps such a caring, detailed, loving, joyful God also extends all of that to us as well. We often then begin to talk of how we have noticed God showing up for us in loving ways throughout our week, and those thoughts lead us to a sense of hope, peace and joy that we probably wouldn’t be feeling as strongly if we just stayed inside and not experienced some time in nature with Our Lady.
Our Mary Garden has led us closer to God and each other, and we are very grateful for the blessings that time spent there gives us.
- The second annual Mary Garden contest is sponsored by the Museum of Family Prayer. Hurry! Photo entries are due by July 26, 2021. Prizes will be awarded. Helpful information and inspiration will be added to the contest webpage throughout the contest.
About Lisa Popcak
Lisa Popcak, CFLC, is the Co-Executive Director of The Peyton Institute for Domestic Church Life, the Vice-President of the Pastoral Solutions Institute and a Certified Family-Life Coach. An expert in learning styles/strategies, early childhood development, adoptive family issues, and women’s spirituality, she is also the co-author of two books. Since 2001, together with her husband, Dr. Greg Popcak, she has hosted several nationally-syndicated, call-in radio advice programs and hosted programs for EWTN. Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak are sought-after public speakers and trainers worldwide.