Of all the garden saints, Dorothy makes the most explicit link between gardens and paradise (the root of the word paradise means “a walled garden”). St. Dorothy (d. ca. 304) was, according to legend, martyred in Cappadocia, in modern-day Turkey, under the Diocletian persecution. Her story is this: after her arrest for being a Christian, the Roman magistrate said he would spare her if she worshiped the Roman gods; Dorothy refused; the magistrate gave her a second chance: if she would marry a pagan, she would be freed. Dorothy defiantly replied that her only bridegroom would be Jesus. As she was being led to her execution, a lawyer named Theophilus taunted her from the crowd: “Bride of Christ,” he yelled, “send me some fruit and flowers from your bridegroom’s garden.” As Dorothy knelt before her executioner, a young boy miraculously appeared with a basket of three roses and three apples. Dorothy took the fruit and flowers, wrapped them in her cloak, and told the boy to take them to Theophilus. When the lawyer saw the fruit and flowers, he converted and proclaimed that he wished to join Dorothy in her bridegroom’s garden-paradise.
This depiction of Dorothy, with apples and roses, was hand carved by Hank Schlau in clay and then cast by him in a resilient architectural material that can go indoors or outdoors. Hand painted by his wife Karen Schlau.
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