Immaculata News

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated every year on December 8 to remind us of the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) have a special connection to this Feast Day and celebrate it in gratitude for the wholesome, purity of Mary’s heart. The Sisters strive to grow in imitation of Mary’s whole-hearted love of God and then to help others flourish through their mission of evangelizing, catechizing, and teaching. On this patronal feast of Mary, the Sisters will renew the vows they made on their day of profession at a special Mass in Villa Maria’s chapel at 11 a.m. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Sisters at Mass.

Father Gillet, CSsR, founder of the IHM sisters along with Mother Theresa Maxis, had a deep devotion to Mary. Father Gillet wrote: “to follow Mary is to follow Jesus; to imitate her virtues is to copy Jesus.” Immaculata University, founded by the IHM Sisters, honors this devotion by closing the campus during the Feast Day. Along with a renewal of vows, the Sisters will celebrate the Immaculate Conception with a special feast day dinner.

Biology professor, Sister Rose Mulligan, IHM, noted, “The name of our university, Immaculata, points to this title, the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother. Our university motto, Scientia floret Virtute, “Knowledge flourishes in Virtue,” reminds us of how we can flourish when we choose to live close to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.”

Sister Antoine Lawlor, IHM, DMin, vice president for Mission and Ministry at Immaculata, asks the question: “Why is Mary called the “Immaculate Conception?” She explained that when praying the Hail Mary, we call Mary “full of grace” as did the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. This is the meaning of the Immaculate Conception. Mary is full of grace. She was chosen by God to become Christ’s Mother.

It wasn’t until December 8, 1854, that the Church declared “Mary is all-pure, without stain, immaculate from the first moment of her conception.” On that day, Pope Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a dogma of the faith. Today, December 8 is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic faith. Holy Days are comparable to a Sunday, where every Catholic is required to attend Mass.

“May all of us at Immaculata look to Mary as a mother who will lead us to Jesus,” said Sister Antoine. “She will always direct us to her Son. May we esteem the virtues we find in Mary and appreciate her patronage of Immaculata University.”


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