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What's in a Name?

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When pressed by St. Bernadette to reveal her name at Lourdes, Mary called herself the Immaculate Conception. The name lies at the heart of the Lourdes apparitions.

What's in a name? A lot. Parents, think of the care you put into naming your children. Look in the Bible at the examples of God indicating names for babies — Jesus and John the Baptist, for example. Think of the Native American tradition of naming the newborn after desired traits, such as the Crow words Ootchiashia ("Long Nights," for the stamina needed to be a strong hunter and good provider) or Dakaake Annaakkuua ("When Birds Return," for a loving disposition comparable to the return of life in spring).

So when Mary calls herself "the Immaculate Conception," she says a great deal.

What does the name mean for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception?

Let's find out with a sampling of comments:

• "The Immaculate Conception signifies my place of refuge and the way that leads to God. So confident am I in her help that, after I was ordained, I celebrated a Novena of Masses entrusting my priesthood to her."
— Fr. Mark Baron, MIC

• "The Immaculate Conception is for me a never-failing Mother of Mercy. What is more, Mary is my life because all I want to do is live for Jesus and work for Jesus. This is what the Immaculate One is, from the first instant of her existence."
— Fr. Michael Callea, MIC

• "Mary Immaculate, for me, is a visible reminder of God's great love for humanity and of His merciful plan of salvation. She is an extraordinary teacher and a wonderful guide."
— Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC

• "The heart of the Immaculate Conception is love and life. God's love and compassion for His mother and for us is what allowed Mary to be free from the stain of all sin."
— Br. Kenneth Dos Santos, MIC

• "Mary as the Immaculate Conception is my spiritual Mother because she was given to me in the person of St. John when Jesus said to His mother from the cross, 'Woman, behold your son.' He said to the disciple, 'Son, there is your mother.' (Jn 19:26-27). As a member of the Marians under the title of the Immaculate Conception, I have a special privilege to be Mary's son, and I feel obliged to imitate her."
— Br. Albin Milewski, MIC

• "I often reflect on the beatitude, 'Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.' Mary Immaculate embodies this perfectly, and that is what I am striving for as a Marian."
— Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC

In the end, the Immaculate Conception reminds us of the perfection we can inherit as sons and daughters of God.

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