"She was fair and pure as a lily that had bloomed in Paradise"
Seated woman gazing at calla lily (1907)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSeated woman gazing at calla lily (1907) - Credit: Boston Public Library

The lily is a traditional symbol of purity and virginity. In the Bible, it figures as an embodiment of the Promised Land (“I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,” Hosea 14:5). It is also an emblem of the perfection of God’s creation and his care in providing for all his creatures (“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these,” Luke 12:27). For Catholics, the flower embodies the divine qualities of the Virgin Mary: the stem is her unbending faith in God, the petals her virginity, the scent her divine nature and the leaves her humility.

Public DomainLilies - Credit: Hokusai