The Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15 during the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This season is represented by the colour green and embodies the symbols of hope, growth, and faith that the eternal harvest of Heaven and the resurrection will be granted to us. These are symbols also associated with Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows.
Mary, who knows of intense human suffering like any other, is a true example of keeping faithful, hopeful and perseverance amidst pain and injustice. During this month of September, as we reflect on the formidable nature of Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also try to emulate her qualities while our country and the world experience our own sorrow.
Mary is known to be represented by beautiful garlands and bouquets of flowers, but for a change and to respect the sombre nature of this liturgical season and this memorial, here are a few non-flowering plants that can be added to spruce up any home space.
Non-flowering plants embody a sense of maturity while still being able to soften an environment and have as much symbolism as well-known flowers, for instance, the Alocasia, which is a member of the Arum family with varying species, originally from the South-East Asian rainforests.
This decorative, inedible plant is more commonly known as ‘Elephant’s Ears’ because of its leaf shape and is sometimes called “the tree that grows up to the heavens”.
While the leaves are thick, shiny, waxy, and can grow to be large, they have thin, tall, smooth, and elegant stems that grow out of tubers and are usually completely green. Alocasias are great potted houseplants that do not require much sunlight. They symbolise grabbing opportunities no matter how risky, like the way Mary willingly accepted the Angel Gabriel’s invitation to be the mother of God.
Mary experienced many hardships in her life; we reflect on these in the rosary. Despite these, she never gave up her faith in God and hope for the future. The perseverance and devotion of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ has a perfect non-flowering plant to match such symbols.
The ‘prayer plant’ is a tropical plant, native to Brazil, with wide, oval-shaped leaves. It tends to be mainly green with irregular patterns and shapes that can be white, yellow, or light green. It gets its name from the way it closes at night to resemble praying hands. This plant is excellent indoors in pots or even better, hanging baskets.
Another non-flowering plant to decorate the home during this month of September is the Dracaena originally from Madagascar. As part of the Asparagaceae family, it has over 100 species and all are perfect houseplants.
One variety, ‘the snake plant’ is known to purify indoor air. They grow from one or more ringed, trunks and usually have narrow, spiked, green and yellow leaves, sometimes with touches of red at the edge.
The shape of the leaves is similar to palm leaves and adds an exotic feel to indoor and outdoor home spaces. The name Dracaena means ‘female dragon’ and symbolises feminine strength and royalty.
Like Our Lady of Sorrows, this plant embodies the strength and power of women to handle hardships and obstacles with grace.
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