December 8

marian calendar     december

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Roman Catholic Church

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in the document Ineffabilis Deus: "... the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin ..." Belief in this doctrine had evolved gradually in Catholicism. St. Augustine (d. 430) was one of the first to stress the concept of original sin, defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church like this: "Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called 'original sin.' ... By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins ..." As faith in Mary's power and goodness increased in the middle ages, it became increasingly difficult to imagine that God would have sent his Son into the womb of a woman deprived of holiness. Since before Christ there was no Christian baptism to remove the stain of original sin, the belief evolved that God, having chosen Mary for her role before she was even conceived, exempted her from that deprivation from the beginning, a unique blessing among all humanity. This is the blessing the Catholic Church celebrates at the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, nine months before the older Feast of the Nativity of Mary on September 8. The earliest documentation of the feast comes from an English calendar of around 1030. By the 1400s, it was celebrated throughout the Church. Meeting in Baltimore in 1846, before the Pope defined the dogma, Catholic bishops chose "the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America," so December 8 is the country's patronal feast. It is not celebrated by other Christian churches. (Information from and other sources.)   
Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Inmaculada del Escorial, 1678. Prado Museum, Madrid (image from Hermanos Maristas,

Also commemorated this date:

Inmaculada Madre del Divino Corazón Eucarístico de Jesús, Salta, Argentina (Immaculate Mother of the Divine Eucharistic Heart of Jesus)
Virgen Desatanudos, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Virgin Who Unties Knots)
Mamita, Cotoca, Andrés Ibáñez, Bolivia 
Nossa Senhora das Graças, Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil
Virgen de la Piedra, Hualqui, Concepción, Biobio, Chile
Virgen de Lourdes del Cerro Ñielol, Temuco, Cautín, Araucanía, Chile. Pilgrimage to grotto.
Marilandia, Chipaque, Cundinamarca, Colombia. Pilgrimage to apparition site.
Panna Maria, Jaromer, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic (Virgin Mary). Column dedicated, 1727.
Notre Dame, Paris, France 
Notre-Dame de Lourdes, La Barre-de-Monts, Vendée, Pays de la Loire, France
Notre-Dame de la Prière, l'Ile Bouchard, Indre-et-Loire, Centre, France (Our Lady of Prayer)
Notre-Dame de Montréal, Yonne, Burgundy, France
Notre-Dame de Triors, Châtillon-Saint-Jean, Drôme, Rhône-Alpes, France. Feast day of Benedictine abbey.
Notre Dame de la Résurrection, Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. First mass celebrated at Carmelite convent, 1953.
Gua Maria Lourdes Sendangsono, Banjaroya, Kalibawang, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Grotto inaugurated, 1929.
Madonna degli Angeli, Turin, Torino, Piedmont, Italy. Statue crowned, 1934.
Santa Maria del Popolo, Carpineto Romano, Roma, Latium, Italy. Festa vowed during plague of 1657, which ended at once.
Salus Populi Romani, Rome, Italy (Health of the Roman People). Ancient icon in church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Maria Santissima di Valleluogo, Ariano Irpino, Avellino, Campania, Italy
Maria Santissima del Granato, Capaccio Antica, Salerno, Campania, Italy (St. Mary of the Pomegranate). Statue crowned, 2000.
Santa Maria a Mare, Marina Palmense, Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy (St. Mary by the Sea)
Virgen de Salud, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico (Our Lady of Health)
Virgen de Juquila, Santa Catalina Juquila, Oaxaca, Mexico
Nuestra Señora de Izamal, Izamal, Yucatán, Mexico
Notre-Dame de Lourdes, Easo, Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia. Annual procession.
Virgen de los Milagros, Caacupé, Cordillera, Paraguay
Virgen de la Regla, Lapu-Lapu, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines (Our Lady of the Rule)
Virgen del Castillo, Yecla, Murcia, Spain 
Notre-Dame du Valentin, Lausanne, Switzerland

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly