The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church which states that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin. This means that, from the moment of her conception, Mary was free from the stain of original sin and was therefore pure and sinless. The doctrine was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and is a central tenet of the Catholic faith. It is celebrated as a holy day of obligation on December 8th.
In art, the Immaculate Conception is often depicted as a beautiful young woman surrounded by rays of light, sometimes with stars or other symbols associated with the Virgin Mary.