On the Feast of the Assumption in medieval times, especially in northern Europe, medicinal herbs were blessed. The fields were also blessed that day asking they be fertile next year.
At the end of the feast day Mass, herbs were brought into the church or to a holy well. They were sprinkled with water and prayers were said thanking God for caring for and healing us through the gifts of creation. The herbs were then brought home and a sprig was placed on the wall where children slept, asking God to keep them strong and healthy.
Why were herbs and fields blessed on the Feast of the Assumption? Mary is often identified with flowers; she’s the “flower of the field and the lily of the valley”; she brought life and healing through Jesus, her Son.
You’re invited to bring some herbs to our Mary Garden after the 11AM Mass in our monastery chapel on August 15th . You can plant them there or take them home, but don’t forget to put a sprig over a child’s bed (or maybe your own). Don’t forget also to bless your own garden with holy water that day.
I can remember as a kid being told on the Feast of the Assumption to go into the water (in those days the Newark Bay, polluted waters now). There’s a cure in the water! I’m sure it came from this custom.
We’re connected to creation. We need to remember. Let’s bless herbs and fields on the Feast of the Assumption.