Mother Marianne loved flowers. She planted seeds of every kind; pots of seedlings lined the front of the sisters’ convent at Kalaupapa, all planted with love — bringing beauty, color, and joy to otherwise grim surroundings.
This spring, flowers again planted through love will give root to a new garden for Mother Marianne — the side lawn at the Saint Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum in Syracuse, New York will transform into the Maurillo Family Garden. Made possible through the generosity of the Maurillo family, the new garden will honor both Saint Marianne and the Maurillo’s legacy on the very site where their family home once stood.
“This is more than a coincidence. It’s a sign,” said Susan Maurillo Prostor Sims. “How happy Grandma Maurillo would be to know that the ‘sacred ground’ where she raised her family and tended her own garden now honors St. Marianne in such a special way.”
On March 2, three generations of the Maurillo family gathered at the shrine and museum to officially celebrate the start of work on the garden by symbolically planting flower bulbs. “St. Marianne, the lone woman who said ‘yes’ . . . so that all these years later we could say ‘yes’,” explained Susan.
Visitors will enter the Maurillo Family Garden through a stepped brick walkway and an “at grade” entry which lead to the garden’s focal point —a life sized bronze statue of St. Marianne. This statue will be flanked by a rock garden wall and surrounded by trees, flowers and foliage. Visitors may rest on benches in a curved seating area. The brick walkway will include more than 200 “prayer bricks” relocated from the former Stella Maris Retreat & Renewal Center in Skaneateles. The garden is scheduled to be completed in June.