Mary of the morning glories…..

The above statue of Our Lady has accompanied my husband and me throughout almost our entire life together.

He surprised me with it at our first real home in Greenville, NC, three years after we were wed. He placed it on a pedestal beneath a large maple tree in the backyard. Then he planted a vine of large blue morning glories at the base of the tree. It quickly took root and wound gracefully around the trunk, creating a blanket of blue each morning behind Mary’s statue.

I loved looking out of my kitchen window, sipping my first morning cup of tea and seeing morning glories and Mary. As the day wore on, the warmth of the sun would cause the flowers to fade and by afternoon, their beauty was gone. But each morning, they returned, glorious, with the dawn.

During those happy days, I never imagined how much Mary and the morning glories would soon come to mean to me. Only a year after she took her place beneath the maple tree, I was diagnosed with the cancer which destroyed all of our dreams of having babies…an unexpected tragic end to four years of trying to conceive.

I packed a small statue of Mary to take to the hospital with me, and placed her upon the window sill where I could glance at her comforting presence. But there were no morning glories for me, and I felt that there never would be again.

Eventually, I came home, and I would sit on the backyard swing, near Mary’s tree and pray my rosary..over and over. I prayed to live, and I prayed for some relief from the unbearable pain of losing children I had never even known. And Mary listened, and the morning glories brought beauty into an otherwise barren, thirsting, aching season of my life.

We moved back to our home state in the deep South a year later. My husband could not get morning glories to grow in our sunny yard which had no mature trees. So, he placed Mary’s statue in front of the rose garden he had planted. And she reigned there for twenty years.

She smiled, I know, on the day we brought home our adopted infant son. And as he played in the yard as a little boy, I imagined Mary watching over him. When he was old enough, we sometimes had May crownings with his friends who lived next door. And when he became a teenager, I would run sobbing to the rose garden and unburden my heart to Mary…just as I had years before with the cancer. Only this time I was too distraught to even say my rosary. But I knew she understood.

Now, it is just my husband and I again, and we have moved to yet another home. As you can see, Mary’s garden is now filled with lilies and roses and other assorted flowers which change with the seasons. Right across from her statue, there is a garden bench, a place where one can sit and pray or simply enjoy the sounds of the birds and squirrels playing. Often my husband will relax there with a beer, after cutting the lawn. Sometimes, I pray my Divine Office or a rosary in this shady spot. Glancing at Mary’s statue, I feel a certain peace. She is still with us, and we have survived the many crosses which have fallen upon us since Mary of the morning glories first took her place beneath the maple tree.

Her statue reveals the toll of decades spent in the sun, wind and rain. The surface is no longer a smooth gray color, and her features have been worn down from their original loveliness. She, like my husband and me, reflects the passage of time. Yet we would never dream of replacing our precious statue with a new one. She has watched over us all these years…through all the joys and sorrows life brings. And we want her with us until the last page of our lives has been written.

The blows of life have buffeted and scarred us as well. But they have taught us to depend on God alone and to put all of our faith in Him. Gone from this life forever are those carefree morning glory days of youth …now we dream of the glory of Heaven. There we hope to see, no longer a faded statue, but our Most Beloved Mother in all of her eternal beauty….

Thank you, Mary, for accompanying us with your living presence, throughout our lifetime together. I know you have held us when we were broken with sorrow and that you have rejoiced with us in the good times. What a comfort to know that you will always be with us until that day when at last we behold Your Divine Son Jesus in Glory.

Stay near, dearest Mother, until the morning glories bloom again….forever.  I love you!

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18 thoughts on “Mary of the morning glories…..

  1. What a wonderful touching story. So beautiful and so thought-provoking. You write so well and so descriptively. Thank you so much for this great post.

    God bless you and your family always; and may Our Lady continue to watch over you.

    • Thank you, Victor, for so many kind words. It is good to see you here again…now I will be expecting you : )

      May you and your family also be always under Our Lady’s loving care….

      God bless,
      Patricia

  2. Patricia…I can’t tell you how much this post struck me and even more so, the one under *cancer*. I was filled with tears at the heartache you suffered. I just want to hug you. I am dealing with my own type of *loss* and I wrote about it here: http://desertofmyheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/i-still-cry-in-the-baby-aisle-2/

    I love your Mary garden. We have a statue, too, in our small backyard and I was just saying to my husband that we need to pick out some flowers to plant around her…maybe Morning Glories : )

    I am just beginning to become involved in this ministry: http://hannahstears.net/ It was started by a Secular Carmelite!! God is good and thank you for sharing your faith story.

    • Theresa, after reading your own post, I know why you related to this one and the “cancer” one. I used to think the pain should go away…if only I were strong enough or holy enough, etc. But then God helped me to see that just like a chronic pain caused from a physical injury, some interior wounds will always hurt. But with time, He sweetens the pain, and only His Love makes it possible to pray for others…that they might be blessed with what we ourselves were denied. (I read what you wrote about praying so much for other women in these circumstances.) I think we can be powerful intercessors for these dear sisters.

      I have heard of Hannah’s tears, and thank you for the link. I will have to check it out. I used to belong to a yahoo group…catholicfertility.com. Wonderful ladies trying to get pregnant using only Church approved means. I hung out over there about ten years ago, when for some reason I was re-visited by the pain in an intense way for a time..perhaps because my son was grown, and also had located his birth mother.

      Good luck with your Mary Garden…and I know you will share pictures : )
      Thank you for caring enough to comment. I didn’t forget my promise to pray for you today at Adoration. May God bless you always, my dear sister in Carmel.

      • Thank you for such a thoughtful reply and I thank Mary for sharing her experience as well. I didn’t have knowledge of either but I am glad I do know for I will hold you both especially in prayer. What testaments to the Faith!! This is truly the blessing of meeting others from blogging and journaling…one of the main reason I decided to write a little bit again. I lost touch and it was not a good feeling.

        I appreciate your prayers so much. I understand the dryness Patricia…oh so much! I can also relate to feeling *distant* from our Heavenly Mother and not motivated to pray much of the rosary. My husband has been encouraging me to pray it more, so I carry it around with me. I also have been asking her to spread her mantle over my husband and children every night and to make up for what is lacking in me as mother and wife. Since I have been doing this, I feel so much closer to her and turn to her often now.

        Much love…

        • I thank Mary too. She is such a beautiful person, and has been touched by God in so many ways. I just love her joyful spirit : )
          Theresa, you know everyone is so happy that you are back among us! You seem at peace about it. I agree that meeting others who can really share our Faith is perhaps the greatest joy of blogging. I just wish I could move all of you into my neighborhood : ) Although I’m still searching for balance, I know that if I shut down my blog, it would be such a great loss for me…and I would miss everyone terribly!

          Do you think the rosary issue is related to the dryness…not being able to meditate, etc.? I too often just carry the rosary with me, and touching it is a comfort. I was consoled reading some time ago that Therese also had trouble praying the rosary in solitude. Interestingly, it’s very easy for me to pray it with a group.

          There have been times in my life when the rosary was my “go to” prayer. I think God leads people in different ways. As Carmelites, there are other scheduled prayers, and maybe that plays a part to?? Let’s continue to keep each other in prayer, and may Our Blessed Lady draw us ever closer to her Immaculate Heart.

          Love you,
          Patricia

          • It is good for my soul to be writing again. God had a good reason for closing my previous one and starting anew. It’s also a quieter space in a sense. I don’t know how to explain it.

            I have always had trouble reciting the rosary. So, in my case, I don’t think it’s related to dryness. I don’t know…I tend to have a more reflective, contemplative nature so it is difficult for me to recite over and over the same prayer. I find I can easily pray the rosary while driving…keeps me focused and not quite as impatient : ) But our Holy Mother Teresa knew women who reached perfect contemplation *through* the rosary. As you said, God leads us all by different paths. I do have a wooden rosary that the Carmelite sisters made and I sleep with it in my hands every night! I feel as if I am holding the Blessed Mother’s hand when I do that.

            Thank you again for your kind words.

          • <>

            Theresa, how beautiful! It honestly brought tears to my eyes. Our Lady loves you so much…and surely smiles upon you sleeping there, holding her hand.
            God bless you!

  3. Patricia, Beautiful witness to your love and trust in the care of our Mother! Thank you for relaying how she has been with you and your husband throughout your lives through the daily morning beauty, the sorrows and pain of your crosses and trials. Love, Colleen

    • Hello dear Colleen. I’ve been thinking about you, and hoping everything is still improving.
      So glad you liked the post. Interestingly, my husband brought Our Lady’s statue home the same year I had my “adult” conversion. It was like she came to keep me company throughout the rest of life’s trials. During those early years of being renewed in faith, God allowed me to feel her closeness in that wonderful consoling way. I needed that so much then. In later years, those sensible consolations disappeared, but she is still in my heart as much as always. Looking at that statue reminds me of all we have been through, and makes me realize that God will see us through whatever remains.

      Thanks for your post on the rosary. Our Lady is smiling at you for that one : ) May her love enfold you always, dear friend.

      Love you,
      Patricia

  4. Patricia, I think this is your most beautiful and poignant post ever! What a wonderful tribute to the Blessed Mother and the importance of persevering in our faith no matter what trials may befall us. The morning glories may not be blooming in their physical presence, but they are certainly blooming in your heart through your great love for Mary. God bless you and may Mary always be near your side and within your heart, my dear!

    • Dear Anne, thank you for such sweet and affirming words. I think this post was actually Mary’s gift to me. For about a month now, I have been praying, “Mary, come closer,” because I felt that I had drifted away from my dear Mother. I live in such spiritual dryness that I can no longer recall those long ago consolations which once stirred my heart with such warm affection, and I am not the best at praying my rosary daily. Yet, I never forget her, and always ask her to receive Jesus with me in Holy Communion..into her Most Pure Heart. Still, I worried that I had somehow lost her. But as I wrote this post, so much came back to me…and although I may not *feel* at this time, I still *know*, and that is what really matters. Mary “came closer,” just as I asked, and reassured me that she will always be with me…just as in the morning glory days. Love you, Anne!

      (was reading The Reed of God in adoration today, and read a passage which so much reminded me of the post you wrote on your sister’s words to you about your neighbor. Will look it up tomorrow…in case you want to go back and read it.)

  5. So beautiful Patricia. Our Lady has been with you through it all… giving comfort, praying and interceding for you. I didn’t know your history of the sorrow of infertility and the joy of adoption. God has His own plan for us and you’re right, that we must put our trust in Him.

    • Noreen, thank you for the kind words. : ) Yes, Our Lady is always with us…so awesome to have God’s Mother to be our own!
      Adoption is a joy…just wish I could have adopted ten! Sadly, very few babies were available in those days, and I don’t think there was much international adoption back then…late 70′s. My son would have loved a sibling. So happy you stopped by! God bless you!

  6. Your Mary Garden is beautiful.

    Patricia, your story struck me hard. As a woman who suffered from infertility for many years I sympathize with your words on both posts. No, I never had cancer, I had Myasthenia Gravis, but both of my fallopian tubes were blocked from severe endometriosis. I remember leaning against the wall outside the hospital after a doctor had unsuccessfully tried to run dye through my tubes. I remember my mom hugging me because I was sobbing uncontrollably because I couldn’t have babies and she was sobbing too for her baby girl who couldn’t have babies. That dye shooting through the tubes must have made a tiny opening though because 6 months later I was pregnant. I was ecstatic. And then I got the news that every Catholic woman dreads…ectopic pregnancy. I swear I cried for three months (that’s how long it took for the HCG numbers to go down). I remember begging the Lord for a miracle. Yes, I even asked Him to move the baby to my womb. No go. I asked for a sign that the baby’s soul had passed to heaven and I did get this sign. A few months later, the doctor was able to get the dye through the tube that had had the ectopic pregnancy. I guess the pregnancy had stretched the tubes (but it never burst which is a big danger with EP’s). That summer I was in Church with my mom and during one of the readings Elisha told a woman that she would conceive a child one year from now. Fire rushed through my body. I walked out of Mass and my mom and I both spoke at the same time, “At this time next year, you (I) will have a baby.” The following July, exactly a year from the word given to us, I gave birth to Michaela. This was nine years after Randy and I got married. We never were able to have another baby after that, though we tried. One tube was still fully blocked, the other partially, and I was suffering terribly from the Myasthenia Gravis, not to mention the Endometriosis. I don’t know, maybe the Lord felt that more children would be too hard for someone with a rare disease like MG. I certainly had terrible difficulty taking care of her when she was young, but with God’s grace I managed.

    God answered both our prayers, though in a different manner. We both got our miracle, didn’t we?

    Like you, Mother Mary, was a huge consolation for me during the years of infertility and the ectopic pregnancy. I love her dearly.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Patricia…it touched me deeply. I think you are a very special woman and I am blessed to have met you.You and I have both suffered deeply but have become better people for it.

    Love,
    Mary

    • Mary, (don’t you love your name?) I’ve read your comment three times. I can imagine your leaning against that wall at the hospital and sobbing. I am so sorry for all that you went through! You were so fortunate that your tube did not burst with the ectopic pregnancy. That happened to a friend of mine, and hers did burst and they had to remove it.

      I am so very happy that God granted you your miracle baby, Michaela! That is so amazing how both you and your mom just *knew* that word was meant for you!!! What joy when a few months later you learned you were expecting again, and that this time, you would give birth.

      You really are the miracle lady, Mary! I know that you were healed of the MG, and something else??? And then your miracle baby! It is so easy to know that God has touched you, because you have such joy…the first thing I noticed about you. And..so much wisdom and a pure heart which searches for the truth, and isn’t afraid to look deeply into yourself.,.and a real love and concern for others. You see, I think you are very special too! xoxo

      Infertility…what a difficult cross for those of us who thought we would fill our homes with children. But as you alluded to, we never know God’s reason….just that it is the Perfect One : ) I do find that when we try to be brave for Him, He does sweeten the pain…how kind He is! I look forward to the day when I will at last understand His reason, and then I know I will rejoice that He chose this way for me.

      And, I agree with you that we are better for having suffered these things. I wouldn’t have asked for it…but He knew I needed it!
      Theresa has endured the pain of miscarriage and infertility as well. She left a link on her comment here to a beautiful post she wrote about it. She is praying for other women who bear this cross, as I am, and I know you do too. Because we have been there, I always feel that our interecession for others who suffer this cross is especially powerful.

      Mary, may your contagious joy continue to bless all who are blessed to know you.

      Love you too,
      Patricia

  7. Oh Patrica, what a beautiful tribute to Our Lady! I love how you have spoken of our dependence on God. Our Lady is always is always leading us to God’s presence and peace isn’t she.

    I have a statue of Our Lady in the backyard of our cabin in Northern California. It is so similar to yours and it was past down to me from my mom and dad. They use to have it in their backyard and I have a picture of my little niece crowning her with glorious flowers like the ones in your garden.

    I planted daffodil bulbs last year all around her and because of the cold weather, they bloom in May round her feet.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for giving me the sense of joy that I felt while reading it.

    • Hi Lisa! Oh, you must take pictures of the daffodils blooming around Mary’s statue. How beautiful! That is very special, that your statue was passed down to your from your parents. If our son doesn’t want our Mary statue, I’m going to ask him to place it where his dad and I are buried someday. I don’t want her to just be left behind and forgotten.

      I always think of your blog as the one which most focuses on Our Lady. Your love for her just shines! : )

      Our Lady truly does always lead us to her son. How can anyone think she would do otherwise? I feel bad not being able to thank her for all that she has done for me and the many graces obtained through her intercession….because I could never know how much she truly does for me…and for all of us. One day, we will know, and be astounded!

      I’d love to hear some of your stories about Our Lady…especially how you came to have such a special devotion to her.
      Thank you for stopping by, Lisa.

      God bless you always,
      Patricia

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