October 2023 Reflection – Frances Brown – Canberra Affiliate
October 6, 2023

October is the month that we honour Our Blessed Mother. We pay special attention to praying the Rosary in October, a tradition that dates back many hundreds of years. Apart from the Rosary, we are encouraged to connect with Our Lady in other prayerful ways. One suggestion is to surround yourself with art or music that honours Mary.

The image is from William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a classic artist that depicted through his gift, some of the most stunning allegories of the holy history. Madonna of the Roses is one of my favourites by Bouguereau. We see the gentle image of a loving mother holding her infant in a casual and relaxed manner, like many of us have held our children.

Mary’s eyes are drawn upward while Jesus’ eyes connect with ours, inviting us to join Him and His mother in this intimate domestic scene. The roses and other flowers that surround the Holy pair aren’t curated or landscaped. Their growth and placement against the building add to the natural demeanor that we observe looking at this scene reminding us that Mary and Jesus also led ‘normal’ lives within their extraordinary lives.

Madonna of the Roses, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1903)

 Another suggestion for honouring Mary for the month of October is to plant a ‘Rosary’ garden where you could group flowering plants for each decade of the Rosary. Another suggestion is to landscape 10 stepping stones within your garden to walk and contemplate the Rosary as you pray.

The best suggestion that I found was to practice special acts of Charity during October. This intention goes to the heart of the devotion that Venerable Mary Potter had for Our Lady. There are countless stories of the kindness and compassion of Mary Potter and the transformative nature of that charity. One of my favourite stories from when Mary was living in Portsmouth, was her acts of generosity for the poor which included giving away clothes and shoes of both hers and her brothers. Often without permission!

In a time that is tough for a lot in our community, October is a time where we can be in solidarity with those who need our support, both in prayer and in practice.