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All About Mary

Mary Gardens Early Testimonials

Some Early Testimonials

“We shall try to make good use of the seeds, in order that Mary may have many flowers to look upon, in her honor and in that of her Risen Son our Savior, when May comes. They will receive purer prayers from us because of the incentive you have offered us…And may you benefit from all this in your turn. God bless you always.”

Fr. Louis (Thomas Merton)
Gethsemani, KY

“Monsignor Ligutti and I rejoiced as we read your (articles)...Your project is certainly in keeping with all the aims of the Catholic Rural Life Conference....Have you written anything at greater length? Are you perhaps considering writing a pamphlet or a booklet on this inspiring subject?...This is the National Shrine of St. Isidore, the patron of farmers in America, who surely could be invoked by all gardeners.”

National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Des Moines, IA

“Our Lady's Garden appeals to me very much...In your venture I found something that I had been talking about for quite some time....Perhaps you have read my book, “My Russian Yesterdays”. I have been brought up in just that type of gardening you mention. My mother often used to read to us the parables of Christ dealing with seeds, working in the fields and gardening, and the Old Testament is filled with similes of plants, seeds and flowers....It is so rare to find you. So few people in this land understand gardening in God's earth and gardening in one's soul: the two in one in a manner of speaking each help the other.

Sincerely yours in Mary, Queen of the Rosary.”
Catherine Doherty
Madonna House
Combermere, Canada

“…All our projects (at Madonna House) are not just ordinary projects of interest - botanical, culinary or educational....They are spiritual projects.”

“There is such a need in our day and age of restoring man to God, and our Apostolate is dedicated in total to that restoration of Christ's kingdom to him.”

“This restoration must begin with individuals, though of course in time it will extend to institutions and groups and, in fact, nations. But like all things of God, it must begin slowly, painstakingly on a small scale relating to the individual and then to the rest of the world.”

“My firm belief is that one way of restoring humankind to God is by putting all in contact with nature on an intensive and deep scale so that we all can begin to understand the mystery of creation and begin to distinguish the face of God in the beauty and order of nature.”

“Also, I believe that there is a healing quality in working with earth, plants, gardens and farming. And as we restore the earth that God has given us to till to a healthy condition and grow in it our own food, we become restored ourselves and learn to read in the immense prayerbook of nature the tenderness and love of God for us.”

“Herbs are part of this. They're also part of the Scriptures. Like everything in nature, they help us to understand the source of our faith and appreciate the Scriptures better. And they are a beautiful way of expressing a mutual charity....The growing, drying and preparing of them for storage and cooking purposes involves many members of our apostolate in training here, and herb lore and nature lore and the Scriptures become alive for many...”

“I wish we could cooperate on a bigger scale somehow. I wish that the message that we both have to give the world should be known better . . .”

Yours in Mary,
Catherine Doherty

Director General,
Madonna House
Ontario, Canada
September 17, 1963

“His Excellency, Bishop Mongeau, Bishop-Prelate of Cotabato and Sulu, Phillipines, has read several articles on your “Gardens for Mary” and would like to have a (Marian Year) competition between the boys and girls departments of our chain of Notre Dame High Schools in fifteen places...with a total enrollment of over 8,500 students. The Bishop would like to give a substantial prize to the department that can produce the best “Mary's Garden”

Cotabato, Phillipines

“I just read the article, “Gardens for Mary”. I am writing you as I am much interested in it. We have, at the Hotel Ambos Mundos, Havana, the only roof garden in Cuba....For a long time I have been nursing the idea of making a shrine for the Virgin at some suitable spot and even have in mind some very beautiful Spanish tile that has a picture of the Blessed Virgin, so the idea of the Gardens for Mary is perfect for our roof garden.”

Manuel Asper
Havana, Cuba

“I make bold to insist that you must try to realize that your work and writings are influencing in a very uplifting manner many people who will never plant a garden. They are not inclined to gardening, but a glance at another fellow's backyard will freshen their memories of what they have learned about another practical expression of love for Our Lady. Although no botanical blooms result from their having read about your work, your efforts have made possible a greater spiritual yield by these apparently unresponsive people. Judgment Day will surprise both of you, as you learn of the wide reaching influence you have had.”

Fr. Daniel F. Dunne,
(Former) Executive Director
National Catholic Rural Life Conf.
Revere, MA June 9, 1955

The John Stokes and Mary's Garden collection was transferred to the Marian Library in May 2013. In addition to his archives, manuscripts, artwork, and personal library, John S. Stokes also donated his extensive website. It was transferred to the Marian Library in early 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with


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