(Click on image for larger, detailed version)
September 8 is the day when the Church commemorates the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Do we know the date of Mary's birth? Not from any records or birth certificates! But if you count back exactly nine months, you'll find yourself at another important date on the church calendar: the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. (This is a good way of remembering that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is not about the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb but rather about the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, Anna.)
In the history of the church calendar, the feast of Mary's birthday was observed long before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined in 1854. The September 8 commemoration led to choosing December 8 as the date for celebrating the Immaculate Conception.
I recently came across the beautiful image of Mary you see above. It comes from Stopping 2 Ask 4 Directions via The Deacon's Bench. Here's some background on the painting:
The image above, by Araceli Dans, is the first depiction of the Virgin Mary by an award winning artist in what would be considered Filipino attire. Baro at saya is what the blouse and skirt are called. Tapis is the term for the sash over the Blessed Mother's shoulder. The lacework, calado.
The genesis of the painting was when Dans visited the Luminous Cross of Grace shrine in Agdangan, Quezon with her niece last September. In Araceli Dans' native language the piece is titled Ina ng Linage at Pagmamahal. Dans has said that she feels her life's work has been a preparation for the creation of this work.
As for the Filipino attire, “I wanted an image of the Blessed Mother that the suffering Filipinos can connect and identify with,” Dans said.