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Hail Mary, Full of Grace ...

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, our belief that Mary was granted the singular grace of being free from original sin from the first moment of her existence.

In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favored”). This recognized that Mary was receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. The Spirit led the Church to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life.

"It is very hard to portray an absence, but the Immaculate Conception is about precisely this: the absence of what we call original sin. Our Blessed Lady was conceived in the normal human fashion, but from the outset she was completely filled with the goodness and love of God. We all have to struggle with what we desire to be—wholly surrendered to God—and what we actually are: self seeking and conceited. Our wills will not obey us. Mary's will was completely at her disposal; there was no struggle, only instant and spontaneous goodness."

—from Sister Wendy on the Art of Mary



 Images of Our Holy Mother

To celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we are pleased to offer Sister Wendy on the Art of Mary and Sister Wendy on the Art of Christmas for just $4.95 each (a savings of $10)! These beautiful books offer prayerful reflections from Carmelite nun and art expert Sister Wendy Beckett, who has spent decades studying the art and iconography honoring Our Lady.

Click here to go to our online bookstore and add these titles to your cart. This sale won't last, so hurry! And don't forget to pick up extra copies as Christmas presents, because when your shopping cart total is $25 or more, you receive free shipping!

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Pope Francis has a special reverence for Our Lady, whom he honored with a special prayer expressing his wonder at her unique grace.

To download the pope's "Prayer to the Immaculate," click here.


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