May is Mary’s Month

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a mark of both Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, so much so that those innocent of Church history sometimes express surprise that St Benedict never mentions Mary in the Rule, unless we are to understand that she is included among ‘the saints’ to whom he refers in general terms. Indeed, judging by today’s chapter of the Rule, RB 73, he is keener for the monk to take Scripture and the Fathers as models than Mary or any other saint or martyr.

It would be wrong, however, to deduce from this that Benedictines are indifferent to Mary or have no devotion to her. On the contrary, it is because Mary is so close to us, Our Lady as we call her in England, that we do not make much of a razzmatazz about her. We ask her prayers, and are confident that she prays for us as she prays for the whole Church, with a tender sympathy and interest. May is a month peculiarly dedicated to her honour: one in which we rejoice in her as Mother of God who leads us closer to her beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Some years ago we produced a little booklet of poems as a kind of monastic jeu d’esprit, a May Day gift for Mary. We hope you will enjoy it.

If you like Ladyflower, have a look of some of our other digital books on our main web site,


Presentation of Mary

Today we send greetings and good wishes to the monks and nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation for whom this is a Dies Memorabilis while we ourselves keep the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady: one of those minor feasts which Catholicism uses to teach the real meaning of devotion to Mary. She is the Mother of God, yes, but she is also a human being — one who, like us, had to learn the meaning of her vocation. The fact that the feast is tagged on to an event recorded only in the apocryphal gospels is not really the point. What we are meant to grasp is the idea of growing in faith and obedience; of consecration to God’s service; of learning to live in the love of the Lord. The feast of the Presentation of Mary may be liturgically ‘minor’, but if we take its lessons to heart, its effect in our lives will be anything but.