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I know flower offerings or ex-votos are examples of common piety in our Catholic faith...but what about flower offerings that we place in front of a holy image (in my case, of a Catholic Saint) in thanksgiving for a prayer answered, or just thanksgiving in general?

I know it seems like common sense but I didn't realize that voodoo and hoodoo practitioners leave flower offerings in front of Catholic Saints statues, worshiping them as if they are gods. I do realize that voodoo/hoodoo is an amalgam of West African paganism and distortion of Catholicism, but it made it more difficult for me when I tried doing a google search on "flower offerings for Catholic Saints." Maybe as expected, most links I came across on the first page were voodoo/hoodoo-related.

Flower offerings, at least from my understanding, are either donations that include prayer petitions at major shrines or are Marian in character.


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I'd be interested to hear more about this. Flowers are offered to Hindu idols as well.
There's nothing wrong with offering flowers before icons or statues. Really I suppose you can offer whatever you want as long as you don't treat the statue itself as if it were alive or use it for some sort of magic or idol worship. It doesn't need to be an ex voto per se, it can be just a simple symbol of piety or gratitude. Think about how people crown statues of Mary in may, they don't have any objective, they just want to show their love in a visible way.
I remember reading the story of a Franciscan Brother who had the custom of offering a crown of roses and lilies to the Virgin Mary and crowning her statue in her honor. 

From the Wikipedia for the Franciscan Crown:

Quote:In 1442 an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in Assisi, to a Franciscan novice named James. As a child, he had the custom of offering daily the Virgin Mary a crown of roses. When he entered the Friars Minor, he became distressed that he would no longer be able to offer this gift. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him to give him comfort and showed him another daily offering that he might do: to pray every day seven decades of Hail Marys, meditating between each decade on one of the seven joys that she had experienced in her life. Friar James began this devotion, but one day the Director of Novices saw him praying and an angel with him who was weaving a crown of roses, placing a lily of gold between each of the ten roses. When the novice had finished praying, the angel placed the crown upon him. The Director asked Friar James what this vision meant. After hearing the explanation, he told the other friars and soon this devotion spread throughout the Franciscan family.

So, yeah there is nothing wrong with offering a flower as a sign of devotion to Saints.  

In regards to offering flowers to Hindu idols, well so are incense and candles and we still do that.
At our wedding, we each gave our Mother a rose and then we took one and laid it at the feet of our Blessed Mother. It never occurred to me or the witnessing Priest to wonder if it was acceptable.
(08-04-2017, 01:10 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]At our wedding, we each gave our Mother a rose and then we took one and laid it at the feet of our Blessed Mother. It never occurred to me or the witnessing Priest to wonder if it was acceptable.

I did the same thing! Had a small bouquet and I placed it at the feet of the statue while I knelt and prayed to BVM for her intercession in my marriage while Ave Maria was sung.. thought everyone did that..
(08-08-2017, 07:25 PM)catholicschoolmom Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-04-2017, 01:10 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]At our wedding, we each gave our Mother a rose and then we took one and laid it at the feet of our Blessed Mother. It never occurred to me or the witnessing Priest to wonder if it was acceptable.

I did the same thing! Had a small bouquet and I placed it at the feet of the statue while I knelt and prayed to BVM for her intercession in my marriage while Ave Maria was sung.. thought everyone did that..
We THOUGHT that the organist was going to play just the opening of Schubert's Ave Maria, maybe long enough for us to say a Hail Mary. Nope, she played the whole thing, in a long drawn out arrangement! Still, it was a beautiful moment for us.
Apropos of this thread, here's a poem by Father Abram Joseph Ryan, the 'Poet Laureate of the Confederacy', Priest, chaplain, and spy. The dedication to these poems is
'THESE
SIMPLE RHYMES
ARE LAID AS A GARLAND OF LOVE
AT THE FEET OF HIS MOTHER BY
HER CHILD, THE
AUTHOR.'

DEATH OF THE FLOWER.

                         I LOVE my mother--the Wildwood,--
                         I sleep upon her breast,
                         A day or two of childhood,--
                         And then I sink to rest.

                         I had once a lovely sister--
                         She was cradled by my side.
                         But one summer-day I missed her,
                         She had gone to deck a bride.

                         And I had another sister,
                         With cheeks all bright with bloom;
                         And another morn I missed her,
                         She had gone to wreathe a tomb.

                         And they told me they had withered,
                         On the bride's brow and the grave;--
                         Half-an-hour,--and all their fragrance
                         Died away,--which Heaven gave.

                         Two sweet-faced girls came walking
                         Thro' my lonely home one day,--
                         And I overheard them talking
                         Of an Altar on their way.

                         They were culling flowers around me--
                         And I said a little prayer
                         To go with them;--and they found me,--
                         And upon an Altar fair--

                         Where the Eucharist was lying
                         On its mystical death-bed,
                         I felt myself a-dying,
                         While the Mass was being said.

                         But I lived a little longer,
                         And I prayed there all the day,
                         Till the Evening-Benediction,
                         When my poor life passed away.

Some of Father Ryan's published poetry may be read here.

Here is the article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on him.
(08-09-2017, 11:16 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Apropos of this thread, here's a poem by Father Abram Joseph Ryan, the 'Poet Laureate of the Confederacy', Priest, chaplain, and spy. The dedication to these poems is
'THESE
SIMPLE RHYMES
ARE LAID AS A GARLAND OF LOVE
AT THE FEET OF HIS MOTHER BY
HER CHILD, THE
AUTHOR.'

DEATH OF THE FLOWER.

                         I LOVE my mother--the Wildwood,--
                         I sleep upon her breast,
                         A day or two of childhood,--
                         And then I sink to rest.

                         I had once a lovely sister--
                         She was cradled by my side.
                         But one summer-day I missed her,
                         She had gone to deck a bride.

                         And I had another sister,
                         With cheeks all bright with bloom;
                         And another morn I missed her,
                         She had gone to wreathe a tomb.

                         And they told me they had withered,
                         On the bride's brow and the grave;--
                         Half-an-hour,--and all their fragrance
                         Died away,--which Heaven gave.

                         Two sweet-faced girls came walking
                         Thro' my lonely home one day,--
                         And I overheard them talking
                         Of an Altar on their way.

                         They were culling flowers around me--
                         And I said a little prayer
                         To go with them;--and they found me,--
                         And upon an Altar fair--

                         Where the Eucharist was lying
                         On its mystical death-bed,
                         I felt myself a-dying,
                         While the Mass was being said.

                         But I lived a little longer,
                         And I prayed there all the day,
                         Till the Evening-Benediction,
                         When my poor life passed away.

Some of Father Ryan's published poetry may be read here.

Here is the article from the Catholic Encyclopedia on him.

My 3rd grade teacher Sister Boniface used to tell us that with every Ave we said, an angel placed a beautiful rose at Mary's feet as a present from us to her.  I got that picture in my mind then, and always remember it.. such a simple thought but so beautiful!   This touches me so much, b/c as a mom, I know how my heart used to melt when my kids were little and would pick a dandelion from the lawn and give it to me like it was a flower... I can only imagine that our Blessed Mother feels the same when we give her 'flowers' of our prayers.