The roses of Rose Court

Photograph of Rose Court by Alvin Johnson

In the springtime, a few weeks after the cherry trees blossom and the air turns fragrant with rosemary, the roses of Rose Court begin to bloom.

There are roses of many colors and kinds, some brought from the altar of nearby St. Dominic’s Church. They’ve been given a chance to live on in the garden hidden behind the apartments and convents at Pine and Pierce. It is an oasis of flowers and trees and birds and bees nurtured by Sister Cathryn deBack, the manager of Rose Court.

“Somehow, magically, some of them make it in the out-of-doors,” she says. “I personally wanted something lower maintenance. But someone said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have roses?’ It has been a great challenge to me.”

In the center of the garden stands a chapel, open to the residents and the nuns as a contemplative space. Growing all around it are plants offered up by the sisters and the residents — and for a few weeks in the late spring, the sweet smell of roses.