The Garden of the Blessed Virgin

The more help the flower needed, the more tenderly they treated it. The two gardeners wanted only the very best for the little plant!

One day, a lady named Genevieve went strolling through the queen’s flower gardens. Observing the flowers that grew there she found a harmonious variety: there were marvellous roses, snow-white lilies, daises the colour of burnished gold, ruby red tulips, purple violets that rivalled the lustre of amethysts and vibrant orchids. The loveliness of it all took her breath away!

However, it was a small and unassuming flower that caught her attention in a special way. It was precisely because it was rather bland that it captured her imagination…

With a spirit of love and dedication, the noblewoman offered her landscaping services to her sovereign the queen:

“Your Majesty, I have many years of experience in nurturing all kinds of plants. May I care for these lawns, so that they may flourish more splendidly in your honour?”

“My faithful vassal, how may I requite your generosity?”

“Oh, Ma’am! The pleasure I have in expressing my veneration for you in this small way is its own reward. Would you permit my young son Thomas to help me in this task?”

“I place my garden in your hands. Do as you will!”

Gardener and son got to work, sparing no efforts in their goal of one day having a magnificent garden to present to the queen. Although the other blooms were more outstanding for their beauty, they felt drawn to give special attention to that small and apparently insignificant flower. Whenever she saw it, Genevieve thought: “I feel this little flower could be pleasing to our monarch. Perhaps one day it will be worthy to be placed in a floral arrangement for a special occasion. I must cultivate it with care. This means work, but if it responds to my efforts, that will be half the battle won!”

First, the noblewoman had to transplant the flower to a bed with healthier soil that had more minerals. She carefully dug around the little plant to prepare if for the transfer. However, being deeply attached to its little patch of earth, it left some of its roots behind as it was pulled up, which caused excruciating pain. But the same hands that had drawn it out of the earth quickly and gently deposited it in cool, fertile black soil. After the painful operation, Genevieve and Thomas soon began to notice the first results. The foliage and the petals, which used to be so pale, were now flushed with colour.

But the process did not end there; even in the healthy soil, rogue enemies called aphids began nibbling at the fragile plant stem. The gardener, dismayed, rushed to apply a remedy which the little plant found to be terribly harsh and bitter. But since it cooperated with the treatment, the unpleasant substance soon had the desired effect and the flower was freed from the harmful pests.

“Look, mother, we’re making progress!” Thomas declared.

“Yes, my son, but we’re not finished yet!”

A heat wave set in for several days across the region. The blistering sun began to scorch some of the plants. Genevieve knew that her little flower was very much in need of the bright solar rays, but she armed herself with a watering can and a parasol and set out for the garden. Her little son followed. They were heedless of the tremendous heat as she soothed the tender plant’s aridity with a showering of cool water, while Thomas positioned the parasol so as to protect it during the hours of the most intense solar rays.

But the excessive heat had already left a few dry spots on some petals and leaves. Promptly, Genevieve pruned away the withered foliage. As she worked, she explained:

“Thomas, if I don’t pluck away these dry leaves, they will rob the nutrients that should reach the healthy parts.”

Weeks went by. Every day, mother and son faithfully watered the garden, and from time to time they tilled the soil, never failing to check on their favourite plant.

One day, as they were making the rounds, a flock of birds happened to descend directly on the bed where the little flower was planted. The two immediately rushed to the rescue, waving their arms to drive them away. When the “battle” was over they examined the damage done by the swooping flock. Surprisingly, the plant had resisted quite well. The stem had only become a little lopsided. Thomas promptly decided:

“Mother, I shall prop it up with a stake so that it will mend more quickly.”

He tied the stem carefully to a little staff.

Until then, the flower had never been alone in its moments of danger. But the unavoidable finally happened: a thunderstorm broke out.

The sky suddenly went dark and a strong wind raged. Lightning bolts and torrential rain fell relentlessly. Genevieve and her son had to remain indoors. They were worried about the little flower, but there was nothing they could do but wait out the storm. Nevertheless, Genevieve’s motherly heart prompted her to keep an eye on the little plant from the window as it weathered the tempest like a champion. Gusting winds and sheets of rain lashed the royal gardens. It was terrible while it lasted…

At the first calm, the gardener and young Thomas hurried out to check on their “little one”. Arriving at the gardens, they found beds strewn with the petals of lilies and roses that had not fared well in the storm. Even sturdy bushes looked like soldiers after a battle.

The little flower was a bit battered but still upright thanks to the stake that Thomas had provided. As he turned jubilantly to his mother, he heard her say:

“This flower reminds me of those whom the Bible calls: “weak, but faithful!” (Rv 3:8).

At these words, a mysterious liquid started to gently fall upon the little plant, infusing it with new life. Its inconstant and insecure roots became strong, its imperfect stem and leaves acquired a brilliant emerald-green hue, its previously faint scent, now wafted agreeably through the garden, its small and sparse petals became velvety.

What an impressive change! In just a few moments it had been transformed into one of the most beautiful flowers in the royal gardens! What was this mysterious liquid? It was nothing other than the precious tears of the gardener.

The flower was placed in a vase and presented by Genevieve and Thomas to the sovereign for her birthday.

*     *     *

This is not the tale of a little flower, but the story of chosen souls.

It unfolds in Our Lady’s Garden, in which there are naturally great and glorious flowers, but also many small and weak ones. The bitter remedy that these receive against their miseries is called correction, which produces sweet and health-giving results in those who accept it. And the stake that sustains them in tempests is called confidence!

What would happen to these souls if there were no dedicated gardeners to cultivate them in order to present them to the Blessed Virgin? Genevieve and Thomas represent those who have the mission of form and educating others. Let us listen to the Queen of Heaven who speaks to us through our earthly guides! ◊



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