Last updated: 09/12/2018

The St. Mary's Menston school flower is a White Rose. There has been a White Rose on our school crest (in the top left) ever since our school was founded in 1964.

“How like Mother Mary to bring more beauty into our world in this way!”

Symbolism of the White Rose

1. Roses represent the Virgin Mary

Roses were associated with Mary from early times. The thirteenth century Saint Dominic is credited with spreading the familiar devotion called the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a series of prayers to Our Lady, symbolised by garlands of roses worn in Heaven. The Rosary, which means "crown of roses," involves offering a group of prayers to Mary like a spiritual bouquet. People hold or wear a beaded necklace (which itself is called a rosary) and use the beads as physical tools to focus their minds on twenty different spiritual mysteries from the time Jesus Christ spent on Earth.

Three colours are especially consecrated to Mary: white roses as symbols of her joys, red roses as emblems of her sufferings, and yellow (golden) roses as heralds of her glories.

Roses have shown up in some of the miraculous Marian apparitions that people worldwide have reported. When Mary appeared at Lourdes in 1858, she had yellow roses on her feet. Saint Bernadette Soubirous said, "I looked up at the grotto.  I saw a lady dressed in white.  She was wearing a white dress with a blue sash and had a yellow rose on each foot, the same colour as the chain of her rosary."  

2. White Roses represent Yorkshire

Almost all Yorkshire symbolism contains the White Rose of York, which originated as the symbol of the House of York. In the civil wars of the fifteenth century, the White Rose was the symbol of Yorkist forces opposed to the rival House of Lancaster. During the War of the Roses, it was said that the white rose signifies death to those who betray their word

3. White Roses represent loyalty and fidelity

In medieval times, talking beneath a white rose was understood to indicate the confidential content and nature of the conversation. In the 16th century, the Pope declared that a rose be carved in confession booths to symbolize confidentiality, secrecy and privacy.

Roses are also a symbol of St. Thérèse, the “Little Flower.”

During World War II, a political group called 'The White Rose' was set up by a group of students in Munich. Germany. The group upheld the ideals of political freedom. The name 'The White Rose' symbolises secrecy, since it could not have possibly been formed in the open during the Nazi Regime and also loyalty because the students remained true to what they stood for to their death. Most of the members of this group were killed upon being discovered.

“Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone”
— Sophie Scholl, member of 'The White Rose' who was executed by guillotine in 1943

4. White holds great significance to Christians

The colour white in Christianity symbolises light, innocence, purity, glory and joy – traits which embody the virtues of Our Lady.

Photo: A White Rose at our 50th Anniversary Garden Party, October 2014

Further Links

Roses from Heaven [HEALYOURLIFE.COM]


The Yellow Roses of Lourdes [HOLYMARY.INFO]

Rose Wikipedia article