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The Archival Spirit


In the spring of 2017, the University of Dayton Libraries brought nature inside and brought a piece of history to life. In the first floor exhibit gallery a Mary garden was planted for visitors to enjoy, learn from, and reflect upon the Blessed Virgin Mary. A Mary garden is comprised of flowers and plants whose names describe an aspect of Mary’s life, her appearance, or her virtues. For example, prior to the Reformation Foxglove was commonly known as Our Lady’s Gloves. It was a means of storytelling – people could learn about Mary simply by looking at the nature surrounding them. The Mary garden also usually features a cross walkway and a statue of Mary as a focal point to reflect and meditate upon, reminiscent of medieval cloister gardens.

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Archivists of Religious Collections Section of the Society of American Archivists