Iris and the saint

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, July 14, 2022

St. Francis statue in Mary Anna’s garden admires heart of Iris. Photos by Warren & Mary Anna Harbeck

I walked through my wife’s garden the other day, and what should I see? Why, her statue of St. Francis of Assisi looking fondly at something just a pace or two from his feet! If, as he once said, “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows,” then clearly, a single blossom was enough to drive away any gloom!

And of course, that’s just what Mary Anna’s backyard garden is all about: replacing winter’s gloom with the glory of summer’s bloom.

“Spending time on my knees, whether digging, planting, or weeding, keeps me close to God's earth as His partner in creation,” Mary Anna says. “I put in my effort, and He takes over, causing the plants to germinate, grow and bloom.”

We have a saying in our home, “Thems who cook, cook; thems who can’t, wash dishes.” Well, guess who can’t cook at our house! But I’m rewarded at the kitchen sink by an amazing view of the whole garden, canvas for Mary Anna’s floral artistry.

St. Francis, legendary for his love of God's creation, watches over the whole garden, too. “I always surround him with pansies or violas,” she says, but this year, she also added a purple iris.

Mary Anna took a photo of the iris, and I cropped it tight to celebrate its heart, the object of St. Francis’ apparent attention (attached). And the inspiration for much of his wisdom? The moment brought to mind two timely quotes by his namesake, Pope Francis:

“Nurturing and cherishing creation … means causing the world to grow responsibly, transforming it so that it may be a garden, a habitable place for everyone.” And “as stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family.”

Amen! Thank you, St. Francis and Mary Anna.


© 2022 Warren Harbeck

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