Happy Spring

By Peggy Weber

When I walked out of the Bishop Joseph Maguire Pastoral Center at 65 Elliot Street the other day, I was hit in the nose. It was a good hit. I was attacked with the scent of lilacs. A nearby bush sent forth a delightful aroma.

Lovely lilacs

This smell made me smile and think of Spring. But it also made me think of the lilac bush that was in my backyard where I grew up on Alderman Street in Springfield. And it reminded me of how I loved when those flowers bloomed and I could rush into school and give them to my teacher to place before the May shrine that always stood in the corner of my classroom. I hoped that no one else brought in flowers that day. Often my teachers favored tulips over lilacs.

Spring blossoms

Since those days, long ago, I have loved May shrines, May crownings, and images of Mary.

Our family even gave Mary a spot in our yard.

Sometimes when I pull in the driveway, I will look her way and say hello. Other times I say a prayer.

We also have planted flowers around her and created a bit of a shrine. And in the dead of winter, I look out at a snow-covered statue and give her a nod. (And I have trudged through the snow to brush Our Lady off  if the snow gets too high.)

Our Lady of Our Yard

Our family also set up a May shrine in the corner of our kitchen one year.

It began with an old statue from my childhood.

Immaculate Mary

As you can see, this statue has been broken and glued back together. She is dinged up, but we love her.

We moved this statue to our counter to join the other Marian images that we have collected over the year.

The Mary Shrine of our kitchen counter

We leave the statues and pictures up all year. Kitchen Design magazines might not feature this look but I like having the Blessed Mother watching over us as we cook and eat and hang out.

Along with our oldest statue of Mary, we have some other sentimental images.

One is a tile that my daughter, Kerry, got for me when she went to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Another dear image came from Poland. Our son, Matthew, taught English there one summer and his host family sent it to us. It changes colors with the weather.

Our Polish Madonna

We also have an image of Mary and Baby Jesus that was given to us by a dear priest friend. I love this one because of that special love between the Blessed Mother and her son.

Madonna and Child

And the picture image was given to me by some students at St. Mary’s School in Ware. I talked to them about journalism one morning and they gave me this nice image. Now Sister Mary Clare presented the gift to me. She is a longtime Yankees fan and we have a good time kidding each other about our loyalties to our teams.

I think I will tell her that this image is now Our Lady of the Sox!!!

A gift from some sweet students

The more I thought about May shrines and Marian images the more I recalled so many great places.

I have never been to Lourdes or Fatima or Guadalupe or Knock.

However, my good-natured husband, John, and I just drove around our home and on our way to get a burger we snapped this shot of the lovely Marian Shrine at St. Mary’s in Hampden.

Founded in a very good Marian Year

Inside the shrine

So e-mail a photo of your favorite Marian spot and we will post it. It could be your backyard or classroom or church.

Share your devotion to Our Blessed Mother as we pray…”Hail Mary!”

E-mail all photos and thoughts to wmasscatholicvoices@gmail.com.

Happy Spring in Bloom on Elliot Street

OUR FIRST RESPONSE

Father James Longe of St. Mary Parish in Westfield sent in his favorite image.

He wrote:  it “shows her personal power and the Living Christ within — Wow!”

ANOTHER GREAT MARIAN IMAGE WAS SENT TO US FROM THE ELMS COLLEGE IN CHICOPEE.

This is a beauty.

And here are some other entries for favorite Marian images:

The Pieta at St. Peter's in Rome

Our Lady at the top of Harkins Hall at Providence College

St. Dominic and the Blessed Mother (at Providence College)

Caravaggio's "Flight into Egypt"

Our Lady and Child at the Marian Courtyard at St. John's Seminary in Boston

Stay tuned for more…

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