A Bouquet of Marys


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “Still Life with Roses in a Vase”, 1910-19

Fount of Life

Fire of Love

Sweet Anointing From Above

Come Holy Spirit!

Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary!


A simple thought. At times that seem complex:

If every Mary in my life is praying for me, then all will turn out well.

I find that some of the most challenging times are times of serious discernment, when decisions have to be made—not made-up manufactured dilemmas, the conjectures of our overactive and self-obsessive minds endlessly playing shell games with hypothetical possibilities—but substantial concrete decisions, those times of choosing one real and reasonable path as opposed to another, equally real and equally reasonable.

These times can be quite unsettling, even if both paths are seemingly sunny. For if we desire to do God’s will and attempt to put aside our personal preferences, quite often the “right” choice is not crystal clear.

We use our minds, we use our experience, we research the facts, we reach out to trusted spiritually-solid Christian brothers and sisters for opinions and guidance, but ultimately it is not a simple matter of calculation. It is not a matter of which option has more pros and less cons, of which path offers more or less in terms of provision, obstacles, enjoyment, sacrifices, etc. Sure those things should be taken into consideration, thrown into the pot if you will, and stirred well—on low heat for that matter, and over a good amount of time.

But it is all about God’s will, and God’s will may defy logic, especially the logic of lists.

So what is left but prayer, prayer and waiting for the peace that should accompany sound, Holy Spirit-led decisions?

So we stir the pot, we pray, and we wait. We take a sip and see if it settles peacefully into the stomach. And we stir some more…

But sometimes, the time for the decision to be made comes before we feel properly prepared—or in dinner-party terms, the guests are at the front door and we feel that the soup hasn’t yet properly stewed.

It’s times such as these that we need our mothers.

I gather up my list. No, not the pros and cons, but one of the most important lists that I can assemble: the list of Marys in my life. I think about the women God has placed all about me: my earthly mother, my wife, my mother-in-law, a nun I know well, my sister-in-law, my landlady, a woman I see regularly at the bakery, several ladies from my parish who gather faithfully for Mass and to recite the Rosary.

These are my Marys. I gather them together: I ask our Blessed Mother, as guided by the Holy Spirit—her heavenly spouse—to unite them to her and with her in prayer. I then ask each one of them. One by one, as I see them or speak to them by phone. And I ask. I ask simply that they pray for me, that I do God’s will.

Then I rest assured. I sit back. I smell something delicious. But it’s not the soup. No, what my nose savours is the scent of a beautiful bouquet. My bouquet of Marys.

No matter what happens from here on out—I know I come out smelling like roses.


Hail Mary, all my Marys

Full of Grace

The Lord is with thee, all of thee

Blessed art thou amongst women

And blessed is the fruit

Of thy womb, Jesus!

O Holy Marys, pray for us sinners…now…and at the hour of our death.



Dedicated to all the Marys in all our lives, during this “Magnificat” month of May, a month full of days filled with grace.

Happy Mother’s Day!


—Howard Hain




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