Two French horticulturalists have named a new type of white rose “Pope Franciscus” in honour of the Holy Father.
Croix Dominique and Jacques Ranchon from Bourg-Argenal in the Loire region sought permission from the papal nuncio in France, Mgr Luigi Ventura, to name the new breed of flower after Pope Francis in March last year.
When permission was granted last November from the Pope himself, the gardeners donated 50 Pope Franciscus rose bushes to be planted in the Vatican Gardens behind St. Peter’s Basilica, and in the gardens at Castel Gandolfo.
White roses are of special importance to Pope Francis, a sign of his devotion to the Little Flower Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
In the book El Jesuita, then-Cardinal Bergoglio said whenever he has a problem, he asks Saint Thérèse “not to solve it, but to take it into her hands and to help me accept it and I almost always receive a white rose as a sign.”
Saint Thérèse promised that, after her death, she would “let fall a shower of roses” as a sign of her intercession.