The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was given to us by Pope Pius IX and proclaimed in the document, Ineffabilis Deus (1854), solemnly defining a clear and consistent teaching of the Church since 33 AD.
If you ask the question: What can you tell me about Mary as Patroness of America? Boston’s Archbishop (later Cardinal) Richard Cushing wrote an answer.
Famously, the 23 US bishops in 1846 (note: nearly a decade before the dogma’s definition) wrote to the Pope asking for Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception to be bestowed on the country’s young Church. The bishops wrote:
We take this occasion, brethren, to communicate to you the determination, unanimously adopted by us, to place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States, under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church.
By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry, and that you will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues, of which her life presents the most perfect example.
Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of the United States
Sixth Provincial Council, Baltimore, 5 May 1846
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. On this day, November 27th, in 1830, the Immaculate Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure in the chapel of the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris.
At one point during the apparition Catherine saw Our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces.” The Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, popularly known as the Miraculous Medal, was approved by Pope Leo XIII on July 23, 1894.
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The rosary is a practical study of sacred Scripture in the we remain faithful to the call to be close to Christ through constant a memory of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord. Theologically, we call this the Paschal Mystery.
The rosary, popularly seen as a Marian prayer (i.e., connected to the Blessed Virgin Mary), but really it is a Christological prayer.
The supreme victory promised by God through the intercession of Mary is none other than being generated by love and the grace of conversion. Praying the rosary keeps us in touch with Christ, the Savior, the Good Shepherd.
Read more in the John Paul II teaching found in his apostolic letter, Rosary of the Virgin Mary, and a more of the feast today given by CNA.