Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that the Virgin Mary has been free of original sin from the moment of her conception. It proved controversial in the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century and was adopted as Church dogma when Pope Pius IX promulgated Ineffabilis Deus in 1854; this had the overwhelming support of the Church’s hierarchy, although a few, including the Archbishop of Paris, said that the Immaculate Conception is not stated in the New Testament and cannot be deduced from it. Protestants rejected Ineffabilis Deus as an exercise in papal power and the doctrine itself as without foundation in Scripture, and Eastern Orthodoxy, although it reveres Mary in its liturgy, called on the Roman church to return to the faith of the early centuries. The iconography of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception shows her standing, with arms outstretched or hands clasped in prayer, and her feast day is 8 December. (more)

Here portrayed as She appears at Lourdes.

Original prints available here.