On the Immaculate Conception
by St. Francis Anthony of Lucera
Saint Francis Anthony of Lucera (b. 1681; d.1742 A. D.), is one of the most famous
Franciscan preachers in the history of the Order. Like his spiritual father, St. Francis
of Assisi, St. Francis Anthony of Lucera had the most ardent devotion to the Mother of
From the Mariale of St. Francis Anthony of Lucera
How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O Daughter of the Prince! (Cant. 7,2)
O soul, ponder how, transparent and pure as She was from the very moment of Her
Immaculate Conception, Mary came forth from the Most High God as the first-born Daughter
of all creation, formed by His creative word.
Her appearance on earth was like the first immaculate ray of light ... the sun, the
moon, the stars, all of nature, the whole visible and invisible world bowed at Her feet as
She walked the earth: How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O Daughter of the Prince!
Oh! so beautiful are the steps of Mary as She walks through life! ... And You, O soul,
who meditate on them now, what steps have you taken with your feet since reaching the use
of reason? Were they meritorious or not? ... And from that time, over the course of so
many years, what have you accomplished for the good of your soul? ... for your growth in
holiness? And where are you going now? ... Are your steps taking you toward God or away
O Immaculate Virgin, loveliest Daughter of the Most High Prince, perfect Thou my goings
in Thy paths (Ps. 16,5). Direct and keep, we beg You, our steps strictly upon Your paths
as we strive to follow in Your sacred footprints!
Ponder, O soul, how Mary is said to progress through life on beautifully sandaled feet.
In connection with the Saints, sandaled feet signify their interior affections, perfected
and strengthened by the virtues.... Mary from the first moment of Her existence was always
most pure and perfect. Her thoughts, Her affections, Her desires, and Her plans were
always strengthened and embellished by admirable virtues. Like fragrant flowers, they
filled all Her surroundings with sweet fragrance, without any foul odor or dark cloud ever
to tarnish or diminish their beauty.
And you, O soul who meditate on Her affections, you wander through the impure desert of
this earthly pilgrimage with nary a thought as to how you might strengthen yourself with
all the necessary virtues.
Courage! Today, lift up your spirit! Away with the impurities surrounding you. Fortify
yourself with the shield of holy virtues so that you can walk as Mary did, and attain the
blessings awaiting you in Paradise. O Mary, most pure among all creatures, direct our
feet, strengthen our affections as we strive to imitate Your holy virtues!
O soul, ponder how Mary who, after Her Son, is the first-born Daughter of the Most High
God, is called par excellence Daughter of the Prince, that is, the most beloved, dearest,
worthiest of Her Prince Father, God. And this filiation which Mary had by Her Immaculate
Conception She always kept inviolate...never did She weaken it by disobedience. Rather,
She continued wondrously to enhance it through the complete observance of the Law and
absolute conformity to the will of Her heavenly Father.
O Mary, most beautiful, You were always a Daughter and never a slave, always a Daughter
of grace and never a slave of sin!
And you, O soul who meditate on Her filiation, how have you treasured the filiation God
gave you through grace at your holy Baptism? ... Whose son or daughter have you been for
so long a time?...And whose child are you now? ... In charity recover anew that divine
sonship. Never lose it again.... Propose now, firmly, nevermore to be a child of Eve, a
slave of sin, but a child of Mary, first-born Daughter among all creatures, and Mother of
This short excerpt gives only a brief introduction to the mind and devotion of this
famous Franciscan Priest. It forms part of the Little Marian Library of the Blessed Virgin
Mary the Home Page of the Immaculate. This site is maintained by Immaculate Mediatrix,
Inc., under the direction of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are a Roman Catholic Religious Institute of
solemn vows headquartered at Benevento, Italy. Their Home Page is maintained from the
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