September 22, 2000
At a ceremony Thursday in Los Angeles, Cardinal Archbishop Roger Mahony blessed a new rose named for Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is produced outside Bakersfield for the world's largest rose grower by 1,400 members of the Cesar Chavez-founded United Farm Workers.
Proceeds from sales by Jackson & Perkins of the sweet-smelling, silvery pink floribunda rose named for the patron saint of Mexico will fund scholarships and other assistance in Latino communities across the United States.
Also participating in the event was UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and 50 Jackson & Perkins roses workers. The roses are skillfully tended by farm workers under union contract and the company proudly displays the UFW's black eagle label on all of its roses.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name given to Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant, in Mexico in 1531. As proof of Her appearance to Juan Diego, she told him to gather some flowers at the top of Tepeyac hill. There, he found an abundance of roses growing in the frozen ground. The apparitions produced one of history's most famous artifacts, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe venerated through-out the Americas.
"To countless millions of people, Our Lady of Guada-lupe has brought a message of faith, hope and love for nearly 470 years," says Bill Williams, president and CEO of Jackson & Perkins. "It is only fitting that we honor Her with a rose of this beauty." "The workers have been excited since they found out this rose is dedicated to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe," adds the UFW's Rodriguez. "They consider it a special honor to nurture this rose."
The Our Lady of Guadalupe rose will retail for $15.95 and is available by calling 1-800-292-4769 or on the Web at <www.jackson&perkins.com >. Founded in 1972, Jackson & Perkins is America's first mail-order nursery and a catalog marketer of gardening lifestyle products.