by Sr Joan Jurski, OSF
The month of May is often referred to as the “Merry Month of May.” From whence comes this description? The title comes from a poem by Thomas Dekker, an Elizabethan dramatist who used the phrase in a play he created in 1599. He was part of a group of dramatists in 17th century England. He was known for his lively descriptions.
Verse: O the month of May,
The merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so
Green, so green! O, and this did
I unto my true love say.
“Sweet pray thou be my summer’s queen.”
Hopefully, this month is merry, a time to bring forth new life all around, and a time to connect with the beauty of all creation. It has been a long, long pandemic winter. Taking a walk in nature can lift our eyes and souls to the beauty of all life. We are fortunate to have a beautiful campus of the Sisters of St. Francis and the many Metro-parks around the city and county. St. Francis shouted praise for “earth and flowers of every kind.” Let us do the same.
May also speaks to us as a month dedicated to Mary, Mother God. She is named under many titles. Queen of Peace, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Immaculate Conception, Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and many others. On the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis there are several shrines dedicated to Mary. One of the earliest is the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, built in the early days of the congregation with stones taken from the nearby creek on the grounds. Another contemporary shrine is Our Lady of Sylvania. Tile murals of Mary adorn many of the buildings.
Historically some of us, of a certain age, may recall with affection the May altars we created at home or participated in church processions in Mary’s honor.
No matter what title or image we use when we call on Mary we do so in faith.
Why direct our prayer to Mary? Is this idolatry? Why not go straight to Jesus? The Church answers:
“Because of Mary’s singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.”
As we continue to rise from the Pandemic let’s be merry and call on Mary to intercede for us so we may continue to frolic in good health and enjoy the green and joy of May and the months to follow.