Feast Day: December 8
Patron Saint of: United States
From the first moment of her existence, Mary was perfectly preserved by God from the stain or "macula" of Original Sin and filled with sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary "was free from any personal or hereditary sin". Mary's Immaculate Conception should not be confused with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit at the time of the Annunciation. Catholic doctrine teaches that Mary, herself, was conceived by Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.
Incarnate Word Academy
The 1950s and 1960s were growth-filled years. A parish school, orphanage, catechetical works, and mission work with the poor were just some of the apostolic endeavors undertaken by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. As housing developments flourished in the Parma area, the surrounding parishes were founded. Academy enrollment increased and another school addition became necessary. The present convent and academy were completed in May 1952; an addition was built in 1967. Not all growth was physical. Particularly important was the liturgical education provided by Monsignor Joseph T. Moriarty, Chaplain to the Incarnate Word Sisters since 1954.
In the early 1970s, the "Little Red Barn," which dated from 1927, was replaced with a multi-purpose building called St. Joseph Hall. This facility allowed physical education, music programs, a cafeteria, and meeting rooms to help the school and community. A two-story addition to the academy was completed in 1985, providing more classrooms, a science lab, a computer lab and faculty room, plus an enlarged library, office and clinic. The convent addition provided a new kitchen and dining room, larger laundry facilities, a craft area, a multi-car garage, and additional living space. As some Sisters retired, they were replaced by lay teachers. Today, 73% of the faculty of Incarnate Word Academy is lay; they work with the Sisters to uphold the Academy's standards. Students from more than 50 parishes and 18 school districts attend Incarnate Word Academy. The renewal of religious life in the 1970's and 1980's was evidenced by communication and collaboration with Incarnate Word Congregations in Texas and Mexico. Diocesan congregations also worked with programs and services to enhance the ministries of the Church. The small group of Sisters of the Incarnate Word were blessed to be part of this larger endeavor. The bonding of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word worldwide in the 1980's called forth lay people's interest in living the charism of Incarnation. The Association of the Incarnate Word was realized with ten members making formal commitment in December 1985. The history of the Order of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament from its foundation to its lived reality in the Cleveland Diocese reveals a thread of graced moments from Lyons, Brownsville, and Gomez Palacio, to Cleveland.