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Marian Library

Thinking about May Crowning

By Melanie Zebrowski and Ann Zlotnik

“O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.” 

 – Verse from “Bring Flowers of the Rarest”

Crowning a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a tradition in many cultures that goes back centuries. In the United States it is usually a special celebration, typically shared as a parish or school, where children may dress up, bring flowers and process down the aisle. They crown a statue of Mary with a wreath of flowers while the congregation sings familiar hymns such as “On This Day, Oh Beautiful Mother.” May crowning can bring about a sense of nostalgia, joy and love as we honor the Blessed Mother. Public May crownings may not happen this year; however, we can still keep this special tradition alive in a more individual way. 

Keep it simple, special and at home

Find a statue of Mary in your home. A printed image can work as well. Plan an intimate May crowning with your loved ones at home. Take the celebration outside near flower beds and gardens. Sing a popular May hymn, recite a poem or say a prayer. 

Or, keep it personal. Bring your statue of image outside on a sunny May day. Find some blooming flowers (even a dandelion will do). Bring your statue or image near the flowers. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty and perfection of the flower. Feel the warm sunlight shining down on you and breathe mindfully. See if you can reach a place of stillness and peace. Shifting your gaze to Mary, offer the flower symbolically in gratitude. As queen and mother, she brings comfort, grace and love to those who seek it. Say a prayer, speak from your heart or just remain in silence.

A prayer to the Blessed Mother

This prayer, excerpted from Marian Coronation Celebration for Parishes by Sister M. Jean Frisk, I.S.S.M., might serve as or inspire the perfect meditation:

We wish to crown you because of our personal helplessness in facing the deep distress of our times. We struggle to find God, and we search His inscrutable ways. We struggle with the distress of faith and the lack of it. Please fold your hands in prayer on our behalf! Tell your divine son as you once did in Cana of Galilee, “Lord, they have no wine!” Ask the Lord again and again to work miracles of peace, unity and prosperity for the poor and suffering.
Mary, you are the joy of those in heaven, the help of those on Earth, the consolation of those still burdened by their sins. Accept our May blossoms; accept each flower as a symbol of praise and thanksgiving! Thank you for your cooperation in the plan that changed the destiny of the world. Teach us, Mary, teach us, that we, too, may make the place where we are a little paradise for God.

More May crownings

Feeling nostalgic? Take a look back at May crownings at the University of Dayton.


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