Delve into the captivating world of the Virgin Mary with "Crown of the Virgin." TAN presents the first English edition of this remarkable work by St. Ildephonsus of Toledo. Experience the splendor, sanctity, and beauty of the Blessed Mother as she is adorned with a crown embellished with jewels, stars, and flowers, each representing her immaculate nature.

May Crowning

Published by TAN for the first time in English, Crown of the Virgin is a gorgeous reflection on the splendor, sanctity, and beauty of the Virgin Mary. St. Ildephonsus of Toledo lovingly weaves prayer, poetry, and imagery as he fashions a crown for the Blessed Mother, decorated with jewels, stars, and flowers, each reflecting a facet of her immaculacy. 

“There shall be a crown of gold upon her head, as a visible sign of her sanctity.”
Ecclesiasticus 45:14 

Sacred Scripture teaches us, all creation urges us, mystical symbols warn us, and every page of holy theology instructs us that we should never cease to bless, to praise, and to proclaim the imperial majesty of the most glorious Virgin Mary. For she is decorated with the glory of every imaginable virtue, adorned with finest pearls of all heavenly gifts, and rendered splendid by the radiance of divine wisdom and knowledge. 

We are warmly called to her praise by wonderful miracles, by oracles descending from heaven itself, through hidden mysteries, through the teaching of the prophets, through mystical signs, through the words of the Holy Gospel, and through the clarion call of the Lord’s holy apostles. The most exalted heavens praise her, together with the sun and the moon, the stars of the firmament, the whole orb of the earth, the choirs and legions of holy angels, and all the host of celestial spirits. For this reason, holy people and saints of every nation under heaven, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have always endeavored to extol her with wondrous praise, with golden eloquence, and with mellifluous and noble speech. 

I myself, who have by no means been so copiously or egregiously endowed with any such talents, will, nevertheless, elucidate and show forth her praise as far as my own small abilities permit. I, who am indeed a mere stammering rustic, do this only by virtue of the grace mercifully given me. Indeed, were I not to do so, I could rightly be judged to have failed in my duty of gratitude for the fruitful blessings Mother Mary has shown me.

In order that—in accordance with the verse of Scripture quoted above—our Lady’s most revered head may shine forth with fitting splendor, I shall fashion for her a golden crown, adorned with twelve precious gems, made radiant with six stars of celestial light, and perfumed with six of the most beautiful flowers so that it may indeed be filled with all imaginable sweetness! Upon her crown shall be:

  • in the first place, a precious topaz
  • in the second place, the morning-star, Sirius
  • in the third place, a carnelian stone
  • in the fourth place, a lily
  • in the fifth place, a chalcedony
  • in the sixth place, the star Arcturus
  • in the seventh place, a sapphire
  • in the eighth place, a crocus flower
  • in the ninth place, an agate stone
  • in the tenth place, the Star of the Sea
  • in the eleventh place, a jasper
  • in the twelfth place, a rose
  • in the thirteenth place, a ruby
  • in the fourteenth place, the Sun
  • in the fifteenth place, an emerald
  • in the sixteenth place, a violet
  • in the seventeenth place, an amethyst
  • in the eighteenth place, the Moon
  • in the nineteenth place, a peridot gemstone
  • in the twentieth place, a sunflower
  • in the twenty-first place, a stone of precious gold-green jade
  • in the twenty-second place, the star Orion
  • in the twenty-third place, a beryl
  • in the twenty-fourth place, a daisy flower

May such an array of precious jewels, of glowing stars, of beautiful flowers, render the crown which I shall fashion more noble, more beautiful, and more pleasing to our gracious Lady! 

Therefore, I beg you, O Virgin most pure and merciful, most noble and radiant Queen, to accept benignly this humble token of my service. By your grace, may you receive me into your protection and guard me from all the perils which surround me. Let my voice be joined—I earnestly entreat you—with the glorious choirs of heavenly angels who sing your praises! And may you generously show, O great Virgin Queen, your peaceful and serene countenance to all your sons and daughters of grace who glorify you and who beg for your unfailing help. 

By your intercession, may we merit mercy for our sins. And by your guidance and example, may we come at last to the glory of paradise! Amen.

This article is taken from a chapter in Crown of the Virgin by St. Ildephonsus of Toledo which is available from TAN Books



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