Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tabletop Shrine for Mary

During this month dedicated to Our Lady, consider making a small shrine or altar on a tabletop to honor Mary.  We made ours on a side table in the living room.

You can easily make a tabletop shrine with items you have on hand.  Here is what you need:
  • a small statue of Mary
  • plastic, crocheted, sewn, or painted flowers
  • live flowers, herb cuttings, or a small potted plant
  • a small vase
  • a votive or tea light candle holder
  • a way to display the artificial flowers, such as a plate or bowl to place them on, a picture of flowers in a frame or a board to glue them on, a branch to hang them from, etc.
For the flowers, traditional symbols and adornments for Mary, we cut pink blossoms from a large ornamental plastic branch.  If you have small branches, you could place them in a small vase without cutting the flowers off.  We also have a set of crocheted roses that we use to pray the rosary, and my daughters wanted to place some of those on the table also. 

I suggested they place the statue with some of the flowers on an ornamental plate we keep in our display cabinet, but you could spread yours on the table, place them in a bowl (floating in water, perhaps), or hang them from a branch.  The hanging idea came to me when I saw Jennifer’s post about a Flowering Mary Tree on Crafolic.  Let your children get creative with how they organize and place the elements of your shrine.

Mary is often associated with living plants and a bountiful harvest, so we used herbs cut from our garden, a combination of oregano, rosemary, and parsley.  My children decided what they wanted to cut, and how much.

You can see that we had plenty of herbs left over, since we only needed a few sprigs for our small blue vase (Mary’s traditional color).  I have placed the others in larger vases to have handy in the kitchen.  You can read about the health benefits of herb bouquets at this post.

We completed our shrine with a small religious tea light holder I bought at a dollar store a couple of months ago.  See how easy it is to organize a display for Mary out of things you already have?

The table where we placed our shrine is in the center of our house, next to a path we walk many times a day from the bedrooms to the living and kitchen area.  I like the spirituality it adds to this space, and the constant reminders to pray to Our Lady that we receive when we pass by.  Recently, that same table has been a dumping ground for toys, half colored pages, hair bands and bows, etc.  I am glad we have made better use of the space, and I like the new elegance of our shrine, so I think we may keep it, or a version of it, as long as possible.

In fact, my children have already rearranged the flowers and other items a couple of times, so we will probably change things up now and again.  Every time I’m tempted to place something else on that table or I find something there that doesn’t belong, I remember to keep that space dedicated to Mary.  This way, we can keep Mary in our thoughts, our hearts, and our prayers in the months to come.  See our shrine for the month of June (Sacred and Immaculate Heart of Mary) here.

If you don’t have a small table to dedicate to a shrine, you can make one for a smaller space by using a round fish bowl.  Scatter some pebbles, shells, or glass beads on the bottom, and place your statue, cut herbs, and artificial flowers inside.  Your herbs will dry up, but you can leave them as they are or refresh with new ones.  This would be perfect for a desktop or windowsill at home or at the office.  Or, to keep statues, flowers, and plants away from tiny hands that may want to try eating them! 

The fishbowl shrine was inspired by two ideas.  Last year, Lacy posted on Catholic Icing about Mary Terrariums.  Go see her interesting idea, especially if you are inclined to plant something this spring.  Also, last fall I saw something when visiting one of my aunts.

I really like the display my aunt made with a small angel statue in a fishbowl with shells.  Ceramic flowers like hers would make a nice addition to a tabletop shrine too.  When I saw her display, I knew that I wanted to do something similar.  You can be sure I’ll post about it when we do.

In case you haven’t seen them, you can read about my other Mary projects at these links.

I’m linking this post with Equipping Catholic Families.  Monica hosts a Saints Cele-linky organized by month.

I have also added this post to the Catholic Bloggers Round Up at the new Catholic Bloggers Network.  They are currently hosting a Big Clicker Contest; the linked posts with the most clicks will win a button to hang on their blog.  Go see what people have linked up for May.

Jennifer at Crafolic is hosting a Month of Mary Craft and Décor Link up, so I have linked there also.  She has several wonderful ideas for celebrating Mary and the link up is sure to have many more.

Holly at A Life-Size Catholic Blog hosts a monthly Pay It Forward Link Up, so I am connecting there in May also.  Her link up is a great forum for sharing the ideas you have found on other blogs, as I have shared my inspiration for the tabletop shrine with you.  Go see what others are sharing this month.


  1. What a beautiful Mary Alter! So simple and yet just beautiful!!! Thanks for adding it to my Link-up! Hope you and the family are doing well. God Bless!

  2. Thanks, Jennifer. We are also looking forward to trying some of your Mary crafts this month.

  3. Elisa~ This is a great idea! Not only is it beautiful but it's a great reminder every time to see it the we should be offering up our prayer.

    Thanks for linking up with "Pay It Forward", and encouraging others to stop by to do the same!



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