The meaning of the celebration
+ On this day, the Church meditates on the great mystery that, from the moment of her conception, the Virgin Mary was preserved from every stain of original sin.
+ Based on the teachings of great saints and theologians through the centuries, especially Blessed John Duns Scotus, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854.
+ It is under her title of “Immaculate Conception” that Mary is honored as the patron of the United States of America.
Today marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Noel Chabanel, one of the Jesuit priests honored collectively as the “North American Martyrs.” Noel arrived in New France (Canada) in 1643 and dedicated his life to serving as a missionary among the Huron Indians. He survived an attack on Huron Christians by Iroquois warriors in 1649, but was ambushed and murdered on a trail near Saint Jean, Ontario, on December 8, as he was trying to lead a group of survivors to safety. The North American Martyrs were canonized in 1930 and are honored on October 19.
“Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.”—Saint Anselm of Canterbury
who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
grant, we pray, that as you preserved her from every stain
by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw,
so, through her intercession,
we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.