The Marian Shrine and Garden Restoration


The lovely white marble Marian shrine has graced the church property for the past half-century. As noted on the inscription, it was the gift of Dr. Raphael Brennan and was dedicated in 1954. Dr. Brennan was the brother of then pastor, Monsignor Cornelius P. Brennan, who remained at St. Margaret’s until 1965.

The shrine is visible in historical photos of the parish grounds and in numerous personal photos commemorating sacraments. Over time, the area surrounding the shrine had become overgrown and the rosary pavers were covered by grass and moss.   In early 2004, efforts to restore the stone pavers and build the street-side stone wall served as an impetus to consider the whole of the garden. Long-time parishioners remembered that the original concept had been to plant flowers associated with the Blessed Mother. While the original planting effort did not see full fruition, over the years some parishioners had quietly volunteered their personal efforts to care for portions of the garden.

Respecting and connecting the various elements of the garden was the overarching consideration in the 2004 plan to restore the garden. All of the new plantings had a Marian significance. The colors, forms and scents were deliberately chosen to contribute to the sensory experience.  Botanical markers provide additional interest for garden walkers.  A sprinkler system added at this time continues to keep the garden fresh through the hot, dry summer months.

The collection of dogwood trees was inspired by an existing tree which was planted in commemoration of Father Flood’s service to the parish. The addition of garden benches suggests an invitation to come in, sit, and stay awhile, while the restored stone rosary in front of the shrine beckons the faithful to prayer and reflection.

All are welcome here!