Our Marian Garden

 

For two thousand years, the Church has honored Mary as the Mother of God. At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to the care of John the Beloved Disciple, telling him to see her as his own mother. We too see Mary as our mother, interceding for us with her Son. DSC_0435With the reconstruction of the Marian Garden including a life-size statue of Mary, as well as the crucifixion scene with Mary and John at the foot of the cross, our parish can continue its devotion to Mary and the Rosary.

The entrance to the Marian Garden contains the beginning of a life size granite Rosary. Every time we enter the garden, we are reminded of the sign of our faith, the cross, on which our salvation is achieved.

On the left of the Entrance Path begins the Stations of the Cross, carved in bronze. The Stations follow the traditional Via Dolorosa, with a few interesting details:
1) The fourth station where Jesus meets his mother is placed at the head of the meditation circle.
2) The life-size Crucifixion scene also serves as the twelfth station, connecting the scene with the entire path.
3) The Stations of the Cross are completed with the Station of the Resurrection, reminding us that Christ’s death was not the end.

DSC_0437The medallion at the end of the entrance path is inscribed with the year of dedication of this garden. Beneath the medallion is a time capsule containing photos of the parish grounds, bulletins and programs from recent events, the pictures of our pope, bishop, and pastor, and other remembrances of the St. Catherine’s community.

The Madonna della Strada, or the Madonna of the StreeDSC_0447ts, serves as one of the main focal points of our garden. It is made of bronze by the Demetz Art Studio and is crafted in Ortisei, Italy. The statue depicts Mary holding the baby Jesus. The two children at the feet of Mary are symbolic of all people. The girl on the left is dressed in 1920’s Portuguese clothing. The boy on the right is wearing clothing and shoes from the 1980’s. The Madonna della Strada is the patroness of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

DSC_0453The crucifixion scene is the other main focal point of the garden. The figures are made of bronze by the Demetz Art Studio. The cross is made of reinforced steel to withstand hurricane force winds. It is a traditional crucifixion scene with the Blessed Mother standing to Jesus’ right and the Beloved Disciple, believed to be St. John, standing to Jesus’ left. Around the base of the cross and statues is Florida fieldstone, found in Northern Florida. The native stone reminds us that the hill of Calvary is not far from us, as through our liturgy and sacraments, we stand with Mary and John at the foot of the cross.

The statue of the Madonna della Strada faces the east, while the Crucifixion Scene faces west. This allows for the breathtaking visual of the sun striking Jesus in his infancy at sunrise and the sunset illuminated the cross in the evening, reminding us that God is looking over our Church from the rising of the sun to its setting.