A bit ahead of schedule, since summer is still three weeks away, roses are beginning to bloom in our cloister garden.

None of us here is an expert on the names of the varieties of roses we cultivate, but “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” as Shakespeare reminds us.

In addition to adding beauty to our cloister garden, our roses will be used throughout the summer in floral arrangements at the Blessed Virgin Mary icon in our Monastery church.

In Christian tradition, Mary is often called the “Mystical Rose,” or “Rosa Mystica,” for her beauty, grace and humility.

A hymn, called “Behold A Mystical Rose,” includes these lines:

“Through you salvation came; All praise and blest be your name.”

Hail Mary, full of grace, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.