Something happened, so this is a re-post of my re-post.
This is a repost from 2008. This has been one of my favorite memories for a feast day. The sachets we created are still so fragrant! Our lavender plants and new sewing machine are beckoning me to do this again, now with both boys. Perhaps this time I’ll take better pictures of a tutorial for our actual sachets.
The Assumption of the Virgin, El Greco, 1577
Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. This is a dogma of our faith that Mary was asssumed into heaven, body and soul.
Ds and I are having a wonderful time discussing this feast together. I’ve been pointing out how pure Mary was. It helps to think of sin as putrid, rotting, garbage to the soul. Mary was so clean and white, fragrant like a flower, emitting wonderful scents like perfume. Her body was so pure it shouldn’t stay on earth, so Jesus took her to heaven. My son is a thinker and has lots of questions, so we’ve had quite an interesting conversation.
I also shared the story about Mary falling asleep, the Dormition. The Apostles thought she was dead, so they placed her in the tomb. St. Thomas was late, and so when the other Apostles took him to see the body, they found no body, just a tomb filled with fragrant flowers. Jesus had taken Mary up to heaven, body and soul.
Herbs and Flowers for the Assumption
And with that story, we made the connection of the Blessing of Fruits and Herbs (assumption-blessing-of-fruits-and-herbs.pdf). Florence Berger in her Cooking for Christ has always inspired me, especially for Marian Feasts. I always enjoy reading her description of their gathering herbs for the Assumption. And her recipe for Moravian Spice Cookies on the Immaculate Conception is a perfect tie-in. She cites the passage in the Book of Sirach (formerly Ecclesiasticus), 24:20-21 that describes Mary:
I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon and aromatical balm; I yielded a sweet odor like the best myrrh; and I perfumed my dwelling as store, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odor is as the purest balm.
Our focus this year is on herbs and fruits and flowers for this feast. I posted some food ideas at Catholic Cuisine. Our big emphasis is lavender, and we did a small craft incorporating the lavender.
My main idea was to especially use lavender to incorporate all the senses. The craft would allow him to engage his senses, and he could pick the herbs, remove the flowers and stuff the sachets. I thought I might give him a small area to hand stitch if he wanted to try, and then the finished product could be a gift for his grandmother, who celebrates her 80th birthday this weekend.
I used scrap material, some vintage silk and linen. (My son loves the feel of silk, so I thought it would be another reason to entice him for this project.) I cut out rectangles that were on average about 7 1/2 by 4 1/2, turned under 1/2 inch on the long side. I folded the sachet up like a pillowcase, except I left about 1 1/2 inches overhang on one side. That would create a flap. I stitched the sides together (topstitch on the outside), then folded under and stitched the top edge flap. (Another prettier option was to stitch the sides with the inside out and turn out, but I chose to do it this way.)
We filled up the sachets, closed the flap, and then chose a pretty color embroidery floss to top stitch the “envelope” together. I used all 6 strands, a tapestry needle and used knots and left the thread hang as decoration. I tried to make it simple for my son to try the stitching, but the design is a little rough, and it was hard for him to pull through (with a big needle) the thickness of fabric, but a smaller needle is harder for him to handle. So not sure what to do there. But if you have an older child, there wouldn’t be much problem.
The picture isn’t a good one, my apologies. The fragrance while working on this project was so wonderful — a tangible reminder of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
May you have a blessed feast day. Our Lady assumed into Heaven, pray for us!