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May Crowning is a special Catholic ritual and Marian devotion held during the month of May. This yearly tradition honors Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. A wreath of flowers is placed on the head of a statue of Mary to crown her and honor her. The month of May has long been associated with the beginning of life and rebirth as the season of Spring comes into full bloom. Thus, the May Crowning of Mary is symbolic of the start of the new spiritual season.

The special tradition of honoring Mary in May was first observed during the 13th Century by Alfonso X of Castille in his book of poems, Cantigas de Santa Maria. The current conventional form of ‘May Crowning’ first began in Italy in the seventeenth century as Father Latomia of the Roman College of the Society of Jesus devoted the month of May to Mary. This soon spread to other Jesuit colleges and then to other Catholic parishes and other countries. Thus, this ritual developed into a Catholic tradition that is celebrated every May.

The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago celebrate the May Crowning devotion every year. This year, the Sisters crowned various statues of Mary in Our Lady of Victory Convent and in Sacred Heart Chapel. Below are photos from this year’s May Crowning at OLV.