Tota pulchra es, O Maria, Tota pulchra es, et macula non est in Te!

On December 7, 2010, the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we gathered in Washington, DC for a Mass presided by His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is not only the patroness of our country, but also of our Province which includes our missions in the United States, Canada, Guyana, and Suriname.

This great solemnity honors the beginning of our salvation, the moment in which Mary was conceived free of all original sin, preserved from sin by the singular merits of the Passion and Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All her greatness and beauty stem from this initial gift and from her free and complete docility to the will of God, particularly at the moment of the Annunciation.

Drawing from the readings of the day, His Eminence offered a homily from the perspective that Mary had and that we must all have in the face of the Divine Will: “I want to want what You want.” Speaking with a great paternal warmth, the Cardinal applied these words to the novice sisters and novice brothers about to receive the religious habit, to the sisters about to profess their first vows, to all of the religious and priests present, and finally to the parents and families of those newest members of our Religious Family, who were “taking their first steps in religious life.” To imitate Our Lady is indeed the way to become saints, since she always wanted what God wanted–and that is the essence of holiness.

Following the homily came the first profession of religious vows for some sisters and the crowning of the newly professed as “Spouses of Christ;” the sisters’ reception of new religious names as well as the blue and grey habit with the white novice veil; and for the novice brothers the imposition of the black cassock, the religious garb of the IVE.

After the Mass, we celebrated together with great joy in a reception with the families who had traveled from across the United States and even from as far away as Australia. We give thanks to our Blessed Mother under the title of the Immaculate Conception for all the graces she has obtained for our Province and we ask her intercession for many more holy missionary vocations for the Church.