The artist Francisco de Zurbarán depicts Saints Joachim and Anne envisioning Mary conceived without sin
The constant faith (tradition: paradosis) of the Church attests to the belief in the special preparation of the holiness of the person of Mary to bear in her body the most holy person of the Son of God.
MARY CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN
In 1854, Pope Pius IX, infallibly defined, ex cathedra:
"The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception,
by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God,
and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ,
the Savior of the human race,
was preserved free from all stain of original sin."
* Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary *
At Lourdes, France, 1858, the Virgin Mary came to Bernadette Soubirous to confirm the infallible utterance of God's Vicar on earth
It's important to clearly understand what the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not.
Some Christians think the term refers to Christ's conception in Mary's womb without the intervention of a human father;
Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary herself
The Immaculate Conception means that Mary,
whose conception was brought about the normal way,
was conceived in the womb of her mother without the stain of Original Sin.
The artist Jean The Elder Bellegambe depicts the Virgin Mary as
The essence of Original Sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature.
Mary was preserved from these defects by God's grace;
The angel Gabriel greeted Mary
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you"
- Luke 1:28
The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene.
This word actually represents the proper name of the person being addressed by the angel, and it must on that account express a characteristic quality of Mary.
Prayer to The Immaculate Conception
Oh ever immaculate Virgin,
Mother of Mercy,
Health of the Sick,
Refuge of Sinners,
Comfortess of the Afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings.
Look upon me with mercy.
When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession.
My loving Mother, obtain my request.
I will try to imitate your virtues
so that I may one day share your
company and bless you in eternity.