Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time

A Garden of Visible Prayer:
Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time

By Margaret Rose Realy

Margaret  Rose Realy has released  a new book! This is what I said about her lovely book:

Long time gardener and author, Margaret Rose Realy believes that solace and the gentle voice of God can be heard in a garden. Take a walk with her within the pages of her beautifully crafted unique book, A Garden of Visible Prayer as she descriptively guides you every step of the way to create your own personal retreat space, incorporating a variety of elements, which will lead you to prayer. Even with meager means or a small space, by following the steps in this book, your end result will be a distinctive and beautiful setting in which you can bask in God’s creation and where you may very well hear His voice telling you to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic speaker and author of numerous books and EWTN TV host. 

Margaret Rose Realy

Why did you write this book?
About five years ago I saw a need for gardens at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, MI. Specifically, prayer gardens where people could sit and draw closer to God who often speaks to us through nature. Retreatants would ask how I created these spaces and could I teach them to do the same in their own yards. Through this book I describe the step-by-step process of how to build personalized gardens that make prayer visible. In fact, that’s where the title comes from: “A Garden of Visible Prayer.” My hope is that the beginner or experienced gardener will use this book to create a personalized outdoor prayer space at home.

How does gardening integrate with our spiritual lives?
When working in a garden you cannot help but recognize the presence of God. To not feel God would be like standing next to a fire without feeling its heat. I read somewhere that to touch the earth is to touch the skin of God. One cannot but hope in the garden; we plant seeds and hope they sprout, we water and prune and hope for proper growth, we learn that winter always comes and we hope for rebirth. Here there are many similarities between gardens and gardeners, God and his children. Gardens are places of growth, not only for plants but for our souls as well.

How is this book an expression of your own faith?
There’s a quote I read in Magnificat
; “Give me Lord what will rebound to your own profit,” which reflects my own faith in creating prayer gardens. What I do is done to promote His will, and to help other people quiet themselves enough so they too can find a way to communicate with God in His creation. There are so many ways to pray and each of us has our own. The question is how do we find it? I want to help answer this question, and that’s part of why I wrote this book.

What are one or two ideas from the book I can use in my own garden?
The book doesn’t start by telling you how to build a garden. Instead it tells you how to focus on your own intentions and faith. I break the process up into three parts, “discern, design, and develop.” First you have to discern what type of garden is important to you by looking at your own spirituality and how you would translate your spirituality into an outdoor prayer space. For example, for some people rocks or boulders are great element to include in their garden because they are seen as solid or stable, and this is comforting to them. But because of those same qualities others could see them as cold and hard, not necessarily a loving reflection of God. Next, you design what the garden will look like while incorporating these spiritual elements. It’s helpful to flip through magazines or web images for ideas of how to arrange the things you want to include. Finally, the last step is developing, or constructing your outdoor prayer space.

ISBN: 978-0-9790747-7-6

FAITH Catholic Publishing
1500 E. Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48906

Margaret Rose Realy has a master’s degree in Communications from Michigan State University and is the author of A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time (FAITH Publishing, 2011) and Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent (Patheos Press, 2013), both available at AmazonShe is an Advanced Master Gardener with thirty-five years of experience as a greenhouse grower, garden consultant, and workshop and retreat leader. Margaret is a columnist, freelance writer and monthly contributor at and blogs about gardening and spirituality at Morning Rose Prayer Gardens on

God bless!

No comments: