Welcome to the Garden
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bishop Robert C. Morlino, consecrated the Miracle of Life Rosary Garden, on the grounds of St. Mary of Pine Bluff, on the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, May 24, 2011, as approximately 350 pro-life Christians looked on in prayer.
Literally, beside restful waters and verdant pastures in beautiful Pine Bluff, Wisconsin, this sacred place was created to be a destination for solitude, prayer and healing. The primary feature is the Rosary Garden’s center grassy area set aside as a place for people to bury babies lost before birth.
“The concept for this holy site came from much prayer and reflection,” said Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary’s of Pine Bluff. “But, the first spark of inspiration came on the day we laid to rest little Gianna Karlen, the miscarried baby of Steve and Laura Karlen. While the place we had chosen for Gianna was nice, I realized we needed a place of great dignity, serenity and prayer for these little ones, and those who mourn their loss. From that day on, I became dedicated to this project, beginning with drawings I made using coffee can lids.”
The Beauty Behind the Construction
The design of the garden is in the shape of a rosary, containing nearly 5,000 bricks in the walkway. Each brick is available for engraving, in memory of a loved one, etc. As you enter the walkway, you see a life size crucifix and kneeler just to your left. Immediately, you notice the St. Michael the Archangel statue, which would be the centerpiece of a rosary. St. Michael is the great protector of babies. You’ll then notice the five stone planters around the circular walkway. Of course, these represent the five decades of the rosary. Each planter is filled with white alyssum, like the clouds of heaven. And then bursting out from these clouds are ten clumps of blue salvia, representing each bead of the rosary. Blue is Mary’s color.
Red rose bushes surround the entire garden. The name “rosary” actually means, “a garden of roses” offered to Our Lady. At the base of the rose bushes are lilac petunias, the flower signifying, “Our Lady’s Praises.”
The rosary shaped walkway is laid before a beautiful statue of Our Lady, Help of Christians that is atop a mound filled with flowers while a tranquil waterfall flows from the feet of Our Lady. The mound of flowers surrounding Our Lady is what is called a “Mary Garden,” as each flower has some kind of significance to Mary. The mound itself is in the shape of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and a row of statuesque pines rise behind Our Lady, representing the 12 Apostles.
The History of Our Patron
The significance of Our Lady, Help of Christians hearkens back to 1571 and the Battle of Lepanto. Pope St. Pius V managed to string together the few remaining Christian armies to defend the Church that was about to receive its final blow from an invading armada of Turks. Invoking Our Lady, Help of Christians, Pius V called upon all of Europe to pray the rosary. Miraculously, the outnumbered army of Christians won the battle, and Pius V then declared Mary to be named, Our Lady of Victory.
Later, in 1862, St. John Bosco dreamed about the battles the Church would face in the latter days. In his dream, the Pope of those days anchors the ‘ship’ of the Church between two pillars, one with a statue of Mary (Auxilium Christianorum or ‘Help of Christians’) and the other with a large Eucharistic Host. St. John Bosco wrote: “The principal objective is to promote veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary, Help of Christians. This title seems to please the august Queen of Heaven very much.”
Today, the invading armies are the modernist and secular forces that have paved the way for what Blessed Pope John Paul II referred to as “the culture of death.“ “We believe these demonic forces will crumble all around us,” Fr. Heilman said, “as we fall to our knees in adoration of our Eucharistic Lord and invoke the powerful intercession of our Lady who was allotted with crushing the head of Satan.”
Every Life is a Miracle
Finally, “Miracle of Life” is a phrase with profound meaning. It recognizes life as a miracle and, therefore, as sacred. But it also confirms our belief in miracles, that God is provident, that He has a divine plan. “We truly believe this sacred place will see many miracles,” says Fr. Heilman, “as we unite our prayers with our Lady’s and all of these unborn baby prayer warriors.”