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Father Ignatius' garden

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Photo by Elaine C. Shigley

Chicago gardeners, on this snowy day, sit back, relax and enjoy this true story of Father Ignatius’ garden. Father Ignatius retired from his Midwest parish in a farming community and lived on his small pension and money he earned from assisting local parishes. He enjoyed his work at the local churches, cultivating his garden and designing and crafting needlepoint wall hangings, which hung on the walls inside his tiny house.

Father Ignatius created his garden on his entire lot. His house and the rest of his property were his garden paradise, his bit of heaven on earth. On the land surrounding his house, he grew flowers, a lawn, shrubs and trees. He turned the inside of his house into a breathtaking, indoor garden.

On the inside of his house, he constructed garden paths and arbors. Miniature trees, small shrubs and stunning flowers lined these winding paths. He built indoor ponds with trickling fountains. Visitors would enjoy the patio and believe they were outside.

Father Ignatius built his garden paradise over many years. It took a long time because he wasn’t wealthy. A local nursery never charged him for the cuttings he offered to buy. They never charged him because they knew the tiny cuttings wouldn’t damage their plants. He collected seeds from his garden and experimented with his plants.

Friends and community leaders enjoyed visiting Father Ignatius because he was a kind and excellent host. He led discussions and prayer groups. His community was proud of his graciousness and gardening skills.

Father Ignatius left his garden paradise for an even better one about seven years ago. Everyone in his community cared about him and admired his remarkable talents. He is truly missed and was much appreciated.

Live long and well—garden.

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