By Caroline Dawson, ’23
Immaculate Conception. One of many names Mary upholds. Immaculate meaning perfect, conception meaning conceived in the womb. There is often a misunderstanding as to why Mary is called the Immaculate Conception; thinking it is about Mary conceiving Jesus; but the real reason she received this name is because she was perfectly conceived in St. Anne’s womb without the effects of the sins from those who came before her known to us as Original Sin. Mary is the most perfect being who serves to us as a model of how we should live our day-to-day lives. She was humble, gave her love to all of those around her, trusted the Lord without ever needing proof, and took us all in as her spiritual children. We should imitate her unconditional trust in God and the giving heart she had. At Dominican, we are blessed to have her name as part of our school’s name making us St. Mary’s Dominican. I believe our school encompasses all that Mary is and builds women to be able to go out into the real world and grant goodness all around just as Mary did.
A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with my grandfather who is one of those very headstrong old men who can blurt out the most random facts that you probably could’ve lived without knowing. He is Catholic, but he told me that saints and Mary do not fully make sense to him and the way he was raised in Catholicism because he believes it is us worshipping them and that we should only worship the one true God. I then presented my point saying we are not worshipping them, but instead we are asking for their intercession and for them to pray for us. Since we are imperfect, we can all use prayers from people who are in Heaven to help us while we are here on Earth. Praying for others is one of the most powerful forms of prayer and
asking Mary, a perfectly conceived human being, to intercede and pray for us can open our hearts more to receive Goodness and allow us to hear God’s plan for us.
Another eye-opening encounter I recently had with Mary was in a book I had to read for English class. We had to pick a non-fiction book to read and write a paper on. At first, I picked a book about someone’s personal experience in a concentration camp but when it came in the mail, I realized it was over 600 pages so there was no way I’d be able to read that in three weeks. With little time to pick a new book I started researching nonfiction books and came across the book titled, Love Does. In this book, the author talks about different life encounters and how he sees God working through them. One chapter that really stuck out to me was on the topic of stalking. He made the point of saying that you can study as much as you want about Jesus, Mary, or any of the saints but do you really know them? Do you really have a true relationship with them? You can go on Instagram and stalk Taylor Swift or Harry Styles or any celebrity for that matter, but that doesn’t mean you actually know and have a relationship with them. You just know facts about them. Yes, it is important to know the life Mary lived but it is how we use her life and what she did to model how we too should live. We should ask her for intercession and build a relationship with her, not just memorize the facts of the beautiful life she lived.
So how do you let Mary serve as a model in your life? Do you just say the Hail Mary before bed because that’s what you grew up doing or do you pray to her for intercession, asking her to come into your life and guide you? I challenge you to build a relationship with her and ask for that guidance in your life. God granted us this perfect model of holiness, and we should use her life as a way we try to live.