Passion Flower 1

Dawne Dunton

Myrtle Beach, United States

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THE LEGEND OF THE PASSION FLOWER

Taken in the woods behind my apartment complex in Myrtle Beach, SC, USA. Nikon D3200

The story relates that in 1609 Jacomo Bosio, a monastic scholar, was working on his extensive treatise on the Cross of Calvary, when an Augustan friar, Emmanuel de Villegas, a Mexican by birth, arrived in Rome.
He showed Jacomo Bosio drawings of a wonderful flower, ‘stupendously marvellous’, but Bosio was unsure whether or not to include these drawings in his book to the glory of Christ, fearing that they were greatly exaggerated. However, after receiving more drawings and descriptions from priests in New Spain and assurances from Mexican Jesuits passing through Rome that these astonishing reports of this lovely flower were indeed true, and when finally he saw drawings, essays and poems published by the Dominicans at Bologna he was satisfied that this marvellous flower did exist.
He now considered it his duty to present this ‘Flos Passionis’ flower story to the world as the most wondrous example of the ‘Croce triofante’ discovered in the forest. He considered the flower to represent not directly the cross of our Lord but more the past mysteries of the Passion.
In Peru, New Spain and the West Indies the Spanish descendants still call it the ‘Flower of the Five Wounds’. Bosio observed that the bell shaped flower took a long time to form, then after staying open for just one day, it closed back into the same bell shape as it slowly faded away. He wrote, ‘It may well be that in HIS infinite wisdom it pleases HIM to create it thus, shut up and protected, as though to indicate that the wonderful mysteries of the cross and of HIS passion were to remain hidden from the heathen people of these countries until the time preordained by HIS highest Majesty’ Bosio’s passion flower shows the crown of thorns (corona filaments) twisted and plaited, the three nails (stigma) and the column of the flagellation just as they appear on ecclesiastical banners. He writes that the insides of the petals are tawny in Peru, but in New Spain they are white tinged with rose-pink, the crown of thorns having a blood red fringe, suggesting the ‘Scourge with which our blessed LORD was tormented’. He describes ‘the column [androgynophore] rising in the centre of the flower surrounded by the thorn of crowns, the three nails at the top of the column. In between, near the base of the column is a yellow colour about the size of a reale, in which there are five spots or stains [stamens] of the hue of blood evidently setting forth five wounds received by our LORD on the cross’.
The colour of the column, crown [ovary] and the nails is clear green and the crown is surrounded by a kind of veil of very fine violet coloured hair. There are seventy two filaments (crona filaments) which, according to tradition, is the number of thorns in the crown of thorns set upon Christ’s head. ‘The abundant and beautiful leaves are shaped like the head of a lance or pike like the spear that pierced the side of our Saviour, while the underside of the leaf is marked with dark round spots signifying thirty pieces of silver’, that Judas was paid to betray Christ.

Artwork Comments

  • Cindy Schnackel
  • Dawne Dunton
  • kalaryder
  • Dawne Dunton
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