Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Sister Mary McClure, SNDdeN

Dec 4, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

Luke 1: 26-38

For Sisters of Notre Dame , feasts of Our Lady have a special significance.
“Julie named her Congregation Sisters of Notre Dame as an expression of her love for Mary, woman of faith.”
Mary was one of the poor of Yahweh – those who waited for the coming of the Lord of Salvation,
We cannot imagine how this young woman accepted the message from the Angel. She was startled: ‘How can this be?’
“I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
The Church through the centuries struggled at times with how to recognize and celebrate the significance of Mary’s role.
It took many centuries before there was agreement on this Dogma.
Jesus was born without sin, Mary had to be conceived without sin.
St Augustine’s writings were very influential –
He thought that original sin was passed by women to the next generation – like a sort of genetic fault/deviance.
Mary’s Immaculate Conception freed her from sin.
And this was essential-in order for Jesus to be born without sin:
‘A person like us in all things but sin.’
Mary is presented as the Most Perfect, Most Pure Immaculate
For many women of our time … this image of Mary … can seems a barrier.
How can we mirror this woman, Mary?
We have to remember that Church Doctrines and Dogmas are the result of clerical male reflections, and rarely, if ever, used the experience and theological reflections of women.
The image of Mary as a young woman, startled by the Messenger from God (the Angel) is taken aback, confused.
The portrayal of this Mary, the uncomprehending, who like many mothers will worry about her Son. And when he is arrested and taken for questioning in the middle of the night, convicted and sentenced to death – these images may speak to many women in our times.
Mary, as our sister, a woman with questions and even doubts. Yes graced, this Mary can speak more eloquently to women in our days who suffer oppression and poverty.
May this Mary be with us in our journeys and times of fear.



Luke 1: 26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her. “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?” “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” the angel answered “and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.”
“I am the handmaid of the Lord,” said Mary “Let what you have said be done to me.” And the angel left her.
The Gospel of the Lord



Meet Sister Mary McClure, SNDdeN


Sister Mary McClure was born in Scotland and first met the Sisters of Notre when she was training to be a teacher in Glasgow. After teaching for some time, she joined the Notre Dame community. Mary has been in educational ministries in schools, colleges and university. She has taught across the spectrum – from infants to post-graduate students. She has degrees in theology and psychology. While a member of the Congregational Leadership Team, Mary had the privilege of seeing and experiencing the Notre Dame mission on five continents. At present Mary is engaged in the ministry of leadership for the British Province. Mary enjoys being an SND! Her interests are spending time with family and friends, reading, writing, walking and gardening.