The History of the Silver Rose

Our Lady of Guadalupe had done so much for her people in Mexico that, in 1960, the Columbian Squires, the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus, wanted to give something back to her.

The group, headed by Brother Miguel Martinez Estrada, Grand Knight Andreas Saucedo and Fray Margil De Jesus of Knights of Columbus Nuestra Senora de Monterrey Council 2312 in Monterrey, Mexico, came up with the idea of running a rose to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico. The Squires were so enthused that they wanted to invite other Squires from two other countries on the North American Continent to participate. They called on Squires from Laredo, Texas, and London, Ontario. The Canadian Squires asked to start the relay running of the Rose from there through the United States and finishing up in Mexico.

Bishop John C. Cody of London blessed the first rose. It was then flown to New York where it was received by Grand Knight Joseph Thomasen, who in turn took it to Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Mr. Hart then took the Rose to Dallas, Texas, and delivered it to district officers of the state of Texas. Texas State Deputy Jack Collerin received the Rose and took it to Laredo, Texas, where it was given to the Squires from Monterrey, Mexico, at the International Bridge in Laredo. They ran the Rose from the International Bridge to Monterrey through Sabinas Hidalgo N.L. Mexico to Cienega de Flores and on to the Basilica in Monterrey, Mexico on December 12, 1960.

The first rose was a natural rose, and after a year it had decomposed. The Squires were so full of inspiration they decided to make yet another relay run in 1961, but due to the condition of the Rose it could not be used again. After contacting Grand Knight Arthur Mount at Council 1134, Reverend Edward Gatfield (FatherTed) and Bishop John C. Cody decided to make a bronze rose and sent it to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico.

When Fray Antonio de Jesus Sacedon and the Squires of Circle 660 in Monterrey heard of the bronze rose, they decided to call upon Brother Miguel Martinez Montoya (owner of Joyeria Rosine) in Monterrey to make them a similar rose. The idea was to make a silver rose because silver is one of Mexico’s precious metals.

The jeweler saw a beautiful bed of roses in a garden owned by Mrs. Shirla Ostwowk. He asked if he could have a rose as a model for the making of the “Silver Rose.” Mr. Montoya explained what had happened to the original rose in 1960 and what Canada was doing for Our Lady in Monterrey. Once she heard about the making of the “Silver Rose” she gladly gave him a rose and the stem to which it was attached.

The rose bush from which the rose was removed was called “Rose of Peace.” The first “Silver Rose” was blessed by Bishop Alfonso Espino Silva. It was sent to New Haven to William L. Piedmont, Director of Fraternal Services at the Supreme Council Office. The Bronze Rose was blessed by Bishop Cody. It was received by Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Archbishop Francis J. Spellman of New York so admired both roses he kept them for a special Mass before they were flown to Texas.

Texas State Deputy Jack Collerin, State Secretary Ed Gunter and Grand Knight Scott Grant of Fort Worth sent the roses on to Laredo. Laredo Council 2304 received the roses and turned them over to brother Knights from at the midpoint of the International Bridge. Brothers’ Louis G. Alanis received the “Silver Rose” and Brother Enrique Garcia received the Bronze Rose. Again the roses were taken to Sabinas Hidago and Cienega de Flores and on to Monterrey. This tradition symbolizes unity and especially the international brotherhood that has been jointly nurtured three countries.

After 1961, the program was conducted by the Knights of Texas and Mexico and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Province of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus until the mid 1990s, when it was adopted as a Supreme Council program which grew to encompass three Silver Rose Routes

Today six roses run along different North American routes from Canada to Mexico through 47 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces before meeting in Laredo, Texas. In 2015, one rose will begin in Alberta and heads west to British Columbia before heading south along the Pacific coast and turning east on a winding path through the southwest and mountain states before reaching Texas. A second rose starts in Saskatchewan and heads south entering the United States in Montana and travelling through the northern US Rockies and the Great Plains on its way toward Texas. A third rose starts its run in Manitoba, moving south through the central United States and along the Mississippi before turning to Texas. A fourth Rose begins its journey in Ontario moving through the Midwest and some of the Mid-Atlantic States before ending in Washington, D.C. A fifth Rose begins in Virginia and journeys throughout the south on its way to Texas. A sixth Rose starts in Maine and travels throughout the northeast, completing its journey in Connecticut.