Take a closer look at the images of your favorite saints. Do you see them depicted with a plant or a flower? These blooms are not chosen because they are pretty or suits the image—they actually represent a world significance! Here’s a few of them.
Have you ever noticed that the staff of St. Joseph is embellished with lilies? Legend says that even before the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary was brought to the temple as a young girl and consecrated to God. When it was time for the high priests to look for a suitable husband for her, they called on the males of the tribe of Judah to go to the temple. As the priests were debating who to pick, lilies bloomed on the staff of the elderly Joseph, who was one of the men up for consideration. Because of this, he was chosen as Mary’s husband. Joseph is known as the patron saint of husbands, and there is even a biblical reference that says “the just man shall blossom like the lily.”
The rose is most famously connected with St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who said, “My mission—to make God loved—will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.” In fact, many devotees who ask the saint for her intercession see the rose as a sign that their wish has been granted. The Virgin Mary also has a link to roses, sometimes being called the “rose without thorns.”
Remember the story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Palm fronds were joyously waved in the air and placed along his path. The leaves later made their way into paintings depicting the scene. Palms have also evolved into a symbol of martyrdom, and were adopted by early Christian saints Thecla and Sebastian.