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All About Mary

Our Lady of Grace, Title Origins

Q: What is the origin of the name of my parish: "Our Lady of Grace"?

A: The name of your particular parish may derive from various sources: a special devotion of the founding pastor, his own creation, so to speak, without reference to a specific title or sanctuary; the wish of immigrants to perpetuate the parish of their old country, etc. You may want to do some research along those lines.

In general, the expression Our Lady of Grace is of medieval origin, especially well known in France, connected frequently with the Marian sanctuary of Cambrai, France. [See below] However, the roots of this title are much older. They are of biblical origin where Mary is called kecharitomene: the fully-graced one, the all-graced one (Lk 1:28). The Eastern tradition calls Mary Panhagia (the all-holy one).

The first meaning of Our Lady of Grace refers to her own holiness. But very early on, Mary was invoked as the uniquely blessed one (see the Sub tuum praesidium, fourth century) and as the mother of mercy (see the acathist hymn, perhaps around 530). She is also the one who intercedes for us with God to obtain his grace.

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