Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blessing of Lilies

On the Feast of St. Anthony, June 13th, the ceremony of blessing of the lilies takes place. This custom originated in commemoration of an incident which took place at Marcasso, in Corsica. During one of the revolutions there, the Franciscans were driven into exile, but their chapel remained open and a public procession was made to it each year on the feast of St. Anthony. For this occasion a temporary altar was raised in the centre of the main aisle. Garland of flowers hung above the Saint's head, at his feet were placed roses and other flowers, and lilies of spotless white stood out against a green badckground of laurel and myrtle.

One year, the young man who had been appointed sacristan, neglected to remove the statue of St. Anthony at the conclusion of the feast. After a lapse of several months he went with a few helpers to the deserted chapel to complete his work. To their surprise and joy, they found the lilies fresh and white as on the day they had been place there, while the roses and other floral offering lay withered and dead.

A similar incident is recorded from 1680 in Austria. On the Saint's feast a fresh cut lily had been placed in the hands of his statue. For a whole year the flower remained as fresh and as white as the first day it was put there. The next year the same stem bore two lilies which filled the whole church with their fragrance. Permission to bless lilies in honour of St. Anthony was given by Pope Leo X111. Many miracles of healing have been attributed to St. Anthony's intercession after applying the blessed flower.


  1. Very SPOOKY ! Aqua Lilies are today used even in bridal flowers. I always mix them in Calla Lilien. Your story is interesting And nice pic too !!!!!
    ps. I have summer holidays 4 weeks, jeeeeee-eee !

  2. Hi Again ! announce : I painted my Garden Gnome :)

  3. Enjoy the holidays Eija, I had a look at your garden gnome, he looks a little like Santa, all painted red with his white beard. Ann