Flowers, flowers, flowers… The monastery garden is replete with all sorts of beautiful blooms, most of which I do not know the name: some with enormous, long, purple blossoms some with round lacy, white blooms which I recognize from Cape Cod as Queen Anne’s Lace. The flower sister can be seen on nearly every morning busily bent over the plants choosing just the right blossoms, those which are going to bloom or just bloomed, to grace the high altar. Now this is ‘during the year’ time for the liturgy and the altar color is green, the perfect backdrop curtain color, like the leaves of the flowers from which these blossoms were recently plucked. The flower sister has her wicker basket with the extra unused stems, her clippers and her gloves as do all avid gardeners. The basket is ubiquitous, seen in all sorts of spots by doorways to the garden, to the courtyard, in the cloister walk; we know she has passed and left her basket as she hurriedly runs to service. The stray blooms — those that are too short or too tall or not the right color for the high altar arrangements — are found, not discarded. NO! These blooms appear in front of the Jesus statue, or gracing a small photo of a recently deceased friend and longtime visitor to the Begijnhof, or on the table at the place of a visitor eating with us.
I have to admit I do quite look forward to the flower changes on the high and Mary altars, new vases, new arrangements, new flowers. She is attentively and continually picking up a dropped bloom from the stone floor or plucking a stem past its prime. The clippers and finished blooms are sometimes hidden in the shelves of the choir stalls. The flowers are fussed over and tended to with love, care and devotion. Nothing is too good, too special or too perfect for our Lord in His house.