First, we always have the ceremony in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother. Roses are so special, they are the most prized of flowers and I think that is why they have always been connected to the Blessed Mother. My friend, Mary, has an exquisite statue that she always lends to the cause. If you do not have a statue, perhaps you could make a poster with a Virgin Mary picture on it to use as a backdrop or have the ceremony in or around your parish wherever a statue is available. It is not essential, but it does add a level of sacredness to the simple ceremony.
In a vase, in front of the statue, place a rose for each girl with a simple ribbon tied around it. You can use fresh or silk roses, of any color, however, I have always preferred red roses. The vase can be there throughout the entire program as decoration and a special gift for Mary. Try to make sure that the roses are either wrapped in plastic or have most of the thorns removed to help prevent accidental injuries.
Have each mother and daughter pair up and one pair at a time approach the vase. Each mother takes one rose out and then presents it to her daughter. Each pair then gets a few moments to exchange some sort of sign of affection--a hug, a kiss, a snuggle--and a few special words. It is a special time to tell your daughter how much you love her, how much it has meant to be together at the program, or how proud you are of the young lady she is becoming. Make sure that the other couples are waiting back with enough space so that each mother and daughter feel like they have a bit of privacy to share without worrying about who is listening.
The last element that is so important is music. We have used many songs for this ceremony. Some samples are Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Carey Landry, Find Your Wings by Mark Harris, In My Daughter's Eyes by Martina McBride, and Ave Maria by Schubert. Some times we have had musicians to sing and play the song, other times it has been a recording. This year we used a song that one of the girls had heard on EWTN, it is a pro-life ballad by Joanne Oberreuter entitled For Who I Am. I have the lyrics below.
The most important part of the rose ceremony is to enjoy the moment and not rush it. If you are short on time, try to hurry along any other element, but this. This deserves your time and attention because how often do we get to stop and "smell the roses" with our daughter. This is the crowning jewel of the entire day because the main goal of these retreats. is to build solid relationships between mothers and daughter.
Cowgirl and I after the last Rose Ceremony. Since we had a small group of girls this time, we had the retreat in a home, which was lovely. Thank you, Mary, again!!
For Who I Am
by Joanne Oberreuter
Truly you have formed my inmost being.
You knit me in my mother's womb.
I give thanks that you've made me so wonderfully.
Wonderful are all your works, O LORD.
My soul, also, you knew full well,
Nor was my frame unknown to you,
When I was made in secret,
Fashioned before anyone could see.
O Lord you have probed me and you know me.
You know hen I sit and stand.
My journeys and my rest are known to you.
My thoughts, from afar, you understand.
Even before a word i son my tongue,
Behold you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in.
Upon me, Lord, you rest your hand.
I give thanks to the Lord for who I am
Because I am beautifully made!