The older, her bezique cards and counters, her Skye terrier, her suppositious wealth, her lapses of responsiveness and incipient catarrhal deafness: the younger, her lamp of colza oil before the statue of the Immaculate Conception, her green and maroon brushes for Charles Stewart Parnell and for Michael Davitt, her tissue papers.
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Roman Catholics celebrate The Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th each year.
When Pius IX proclaimed the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception a century ago, the Age of Enlightenment had proclaimed sin to be a word with which to frighten children, scientific progress was god, and man was widely regarded as merely a higher animal. The Marian dogma challenged this non credo of the age—an assertion that man is sinful but touched by God, that the greatest mysteries are beyond science, that the supernatural and the spiritual are real.
Time, 1953 -- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,806801-2,00.html(retrieved 11/06/09)