In England in May we notice the change from the winter months of cold, damp and darkness to the vitality and freshness of the various shades of green. In this month traditionally devoted to Our Lady, the Dowry of Mary inevitably takes on new life and vigour.
Cardinal Newman, writing in England in the late 19th century reminds us that “May is the time when the earth bursts forth into fresh foliage and its green grass after the the hard frost and the winter snow. It is a time when blossoms are on the trees and the flowers are in the garden. For such gladness and joyousness of external nature is a fit attendant to our devotion to her who is the Mystical Rose and the House of Gold“.
Many will remember with great affection the wonderful processions in Our Lady’s honour which were once a memorable part of our English Catholic heritage with girls dressed in white with blue veils and ribbons in their hair. Is this pure nostalgia? I hope not. Surely it is a recognition of the Queenship of Mary; as the litany reminds us, – the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of Peace, the Queen conceived without original sin, the Queen of us all, created by Almighty God.
Devotion to Mary has long been the hallmark of English Catholics. This was re-inforced in 1893 by the re-dedication of England as the dowry of Mary. This solemn re-dedication took place at the request of Pope Leo XIII and was carried out by the English Hierarchy in Brompton Oratory on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.