As a freshman in college the last thing on my mind was the total consecration to Mary. A convincing and caring “R.A.”(Resident Adviser) who lived down the hall approached me about this wonderful way to give myself completely to Jesus, through Mary, His mother. I acquiesced because I really couldn’t think of any reason why I should say no.

Before I knew it, I found myself in the chapel daily before Jesus praying the rosary and litany of Our Lady of Loretto for 33 days straight. I will never forget the first time I read the title, “Mystical Rose”. It captivated me and my eyes remained glued to the page. I gave it my full attention and rested on that phrase quietly pondering, “Mary is a ‘Mystical Rose’… Wow….”

Being the daughter of a florist I was surrounded by roses for all of my childhood. Only one flower really shows the power of love. The rose is the apex of all floral display. There is no other flower that quite captures the fullness of beauty than the rose. Upon seeing a rose’s penetrating loveliness it somehow overflows into the soul and coupled with an aromatic fragrance it’s power is magnified. Having seen thousands of roses year after year, one that I never saw was the one that was “Mystical”. “Mystical Rose”… That title lingered in my soul. I pondered it all those days leading up to the consecration. It became my joy to say that title, and each day I loved it more and more.

Twenty years have passed since my first consecration, and this title is still my favorite.

How could we not see this title as a perfect reflection of Mary? As one considers all the blossoms of the garden, how could Mary not be the “rose”? The perfection of petals and circular shape are a clear reflection of the Immaculate One, whose perfection we all strive to emulate. Her sweet and gentle fragrance are like the same soft aroma that spreads through the world. The refinement and feminine charm of the flower imitates her splendor as the epitome of the feminine genius. Just as the rose has a strength and mighty thorns that protect and defend itself, so also Mary in her Immaculate soul bears a power from God that has crushed the head of evil itself! And what is it about this word “mystical” that enthralls me? Webster’s dictionary states mystical as, “involving or having the nature of an individual’s direct subjective communion with God”. I think we would all agree that there is no other creature on earth that has a more “direct subjective communion with God” than His very own mother.

As I reflect on this title I hope it enkindles an ever deeper love for Our Lady in your heart. I pray that these thoughts may allow you to “stop and smell the Mystical Rose” found each day. Where has her fragrance touched your life and allowed you to draw ever closer to her Son? We should all follow that path to mystical union laid out by the loveliest maiden whose magnificence is unparalleled just like the rose that represents her so well.

By Sister Shawn Pauline

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