The Mother of Mary Priest Garden
A Tribute Garden for Christ in His Priests
In an age where our ordained priests must endure persecution and suspicion, we must come together to show our support and celebrate the great gift of Christ in each of his priests. St. John Paul the Second once said:
“...without the Eucharist there is no Church, without the priest there is no Eucharist”
These words must remain in our hearts and minds as we work to promote the vocation of the priesthood. Let us provide constant prayers for our priests and also create a place dedicated to the remembrance of the gift of each priest.
The Mother of Mary Priest GardenWithin the lush green hills of East Tennessee, we will build a garden that will help us honor priests from all around the world. The garden will stand at the highest point of Cor Jesu Monastery in New Market, Tennessee, home of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood. As cloistered contemplative nuns, we were founded in 1947 to help pray for the sanctification of all priests. For over seven decades, we have offered up our lives to Christ that he may bless and aid his priests throughout the difficult times of their vocations. Each priest’s name entered into the garden will serve to recognize and esteem the sacrifice and love of the man who has answered the call to follow our Savior as one of his anointed ones. A set donation amount will be required for each name and will be used to support the construction, maintenance and future expansion of the garden and the Monastery.
Phase 1. Temporary Garden WallsOn the site where the permanent garden will be constructed, a temporary garden will be built with relocatable walls so that we may immediately post the name of each priest submitted for the final garden on the monastery grounds. Construction will begin on the permanent garden after the first 5000 priests’ names are collected. These walls will later be moved to a private prayer pathway within the enclosure of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood. (Please note: The names of the first 5000 priests will reside in both locations).
Phase 2. Permanent Garden ConstructionThe upper level of the garden will feature walking paths in a courtyard like setting. In this area the joys of the priesthood will be highlighted through the promises each priest makes to serve Christ and his flock. The surrounding walls will include priests’ names engraved into marble/granite panels (finished materials are subject to final plan specifications). The lower level of the garden will recess into the ground and provide a more somber experience for those entering from above. In this section the sorrows and sufferings of Christ’s priests will be remembered. In the center, a statue featuring our Mother of Sorrows holding the dead Christ, yet kissing his anointed, priestly hands beneath the Cross, will provide the focal point of the entire garden. As we gaze upon the Blessed Mother in her moment of supreme anguish that has become symbolic of the recognition that unwavering prayer and generous sacrifice are needed in the sanctification and salvation of priests, we are moved to raise our voices in prayers of gratitude to God for the unique vocation of priests and ask Our Lady to pray for all of them.
Phase 3. Fr. McGivney Pavillion ConstructionTo help show appreciation for over 137 years of supporting the priesthood, the garden will have a special section dedicated to the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus. An outdoor pavilion will be constructed and dedicated in his name allowing for prayerful reflection. This area will be shaped and placed in such a way to help complete an overall design of the garden that will resemble a giant monstrance when viewed from above.
Mary as the Mother of Priests“The Second Vatican Council invites priests to look to Mary as to the perfect model for their existence, invoking her as Mother of the supreme and eternal Priest, as Queen of Apostles, and as Protectress of their ministry. The Council continues, ‘priests should always venerate and love her, with a filial devotion and worship’ (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, n. 18). This applies for every Christian, for all of us, but in a special way for priests. Dear brothers and sisters let us pray that Mary will make all priests, in all the problems of today’s world, conform with the image of her Son Jesus, as stewards of the precious treasure of his love as the Good Shepherd. Mary, Mother of priests, pray for us!” Pope Benedict XVI 8/12/2009
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we include both living and deceased priests names in the garden?Yes
Can a group sponsor a priest(s)?Yes, in fact we anticipate many parishes and groups such as Knights of Columbus Councils may submit names for all the priests in their parish.
Is my donation tax deductible?Yes, Handmaids of the Precious Blood is a recognized 501c3 entity, so all donations are tax deductible. (Tax receipts will be issued for all garden donations.)
How will the site be maintained?Dedicated KofC Councils and Assemblies from around East Tennessee will help provide for the support and upkeep of the garden.
Can I make a donation even if I don’t have a priest’s name for inclusion in the garden?Yes, in fact you will be able to provide a donation that can be earmarked to help pay for the name of a priest who would otherwise not be included due to financial constraints.
What if my priest’s name has already been submitted?
You have four options.
- You may choose to allow us to ask your priest for the name(s) of other priest(s) who he would like to have included with his.
- You may earmark your donation for a priest whose name would be submitted but economic constraints prevent a donation.
- You may ask that your donation be made to help with the upkeep of the garden.
- You may ask to have your donation refunded to you.
Will the names of priests who were convicted of abuse be allowed in the Garden?To respect the many victims of abuse, we will not include the names of convicted priests in the Mary Mother of Priests Garden. Instead, these priests that need special prayer will be included in a separate section of the Monastery only accessible to the Handmaid community. Also, if a priest is found guilty of abuse after he has been included in the garden, his name will be moved to the special section.
Will the priests names be verified?Yes, prior to going into the garden all priests’ names will be verified to ensure they are, in fact, “priests in good standing” and that their names are correctly spelled.
Can I decide where my priest(s) name is placed?No. Names will be placed in the garden as they are received. Final placement and engraving of names into the permanent garden walls will be based on the order in which they are received.
Submit a Priest for the Mary Mother of Priests Garden
596 Callaway Ridge Road
New Market, TN 37820
A donation of $500 is requested to submit a priest for the Mary Mother of Priests Garden.
Please note that we have a 2-Step process to complete:
1) Submit your donation
2) Submit your priest
Once your donation is submitted below, you will be redirected to our Priest Submission form.
Download our brochure for all the details