Novena to the Immaculate Conception


Tota pulchra es Maria,
et macula originalis non es in te.
Tu gloria Ierusalem,
tu laetitia Israel,
tu honorificentia populi nostri,
tu advocata peccatorum.O Maria! O Maria!
Virgo prudentissima,
Mater clementissima,
ora pro nobis,
intercede pro nobis,
ad Dominum Iesum Christum.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the stain of original sin is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem,
you are the joy of Israel,
you give honour to our people.
You are an advocate of sinners.O Mary,
Virgin most intelligent,
Mother most merciful.
Pray for us, Plead for us,
To the Lord Jesus Christ.

With the Apostolic Letter, ‘Ineffabilis Deus’ (1854), Pope Pius IX formally instituted the celebration of the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. This singular grace granted to Mary means that she was ‘conceived without original sin’. All the sons of Eve have been ‘contaminated’ with original sin apart from Mary, who was preserved from it by Divine Grace.

For centuries prior to the proclamation of the Dogma, the Immaculate Virgin Mary was loved and honoured by the faithful. The dogma did not confirm something ‘new’ about the Virgin Mary but merely confirmed the long-held tradition of the Church. From the very origins of Christianity, the faithful have honoured the Mother of Jesus. Referring to her Immaculate Conception, the Eastern Fathers of the Church described Mary as the ‘a seed not poisoned, or a ‘pure lily’.

On the 8th December, the Church celebrates its most solemn Advent feast: The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. On each of the nine days preceding the feast, we will contemplate this singular grace granted to Mary to bring about God’s plan of salvation. Our meditation is guided by the beautiful fourth century hymn, Tota Pulchra, that forms the antiphons at Vespers on the feast. The hymn sings of the singular graces granted to Mary by the Lord and the ancient titles through which she is honoured. The prayers of the novena were composed especially for the feast by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

Day 1 Tota Pulchra es Maria
Day 2 Et macula originalis non est in te.
Day 3 Tu Gloria Ierusalem.
Day 4 Tu laetitia Israel.
Day 5 Tu onorificentia populi nostri.
Day 6 Tu advocata peccatorum
Day 7 O Maria
Day 8 Virgo prudentissima, Mater clementissima
Day 9 Ora pro nobis, intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Iesu Christum

The sanctity of the Mother of God is a model for all Christians. Let us place ourselves in the ‘school of Mary’ and strive to practice her silent, patent love of God and conformance to His Divine Will.