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All About Mary

Lady of the Lilies, Origins of

Q: What is the origin of the term "Lady of the Lilies"?

A: The expression "Lady of the Lilies" has its roots in the Canticle of Canticles (2:2). Starting in the tenth century, symbols of the Canticle were applied to Mary. One of these symbols was the lily, standing for perfect beauty and purity. The expression lilium inter spinas taken from the Canticle (2:2) was introduced in the litany of Loreto (1578) and in the Little Office of the Immaculata (by A. Rodriguez, 1617).

The Virgin of the Lilies
Carlos Schwabe
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

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