By Alyssa Bormes along with Kelly Wahlquist & Allison Gingras



Every now and then, it is good to make cookies. And it’s even better when it includes coffee, a sleepover, and four gals together. The best part is the laughter, the tears, and lemon cookies, and let’s not kid ourselves, my coffee is exceptional – it’s done precisely in the way my mother taught me.

During our baking escapade, the conversation turned to our mothers and their baking prowess. The 1963 Betty Crocker’s Cookie Cookbook – that still has the price tag of $1.95 – was a mainstay in all of our moms’ kitchens and remained a mainstay in all of ours. Just in case you are interested, we made the Cream Wafers on page 40. Be sure to double the frosting.

Among the many subjects that we tackled, two themes continued to arise. What were they? Friendship and motherhood. And, of course, we mentioned dates that were associated with everything. Dates like …1988 …2004 …1963 …1854 …2013 …2015 …1870 …1969 …2019, oh, and a whole bunch more. You see, we are old enough to speak in terms of dates now – just like our grandparents used to.

The dates referred to being born, birthing babies, and when family recipes began to pass down the line, funny stuff like the day of meeting each other while wearing slippers to a coffee shop, but we kept heading back to a few dates – 1854, 2004, and 2019. What do they all have to do with each other? Once again, relationship and motherhood. 1854 – Ah – this was the year Pope Pius IX proclaimed of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which taught that Mary, who would give birth to God, was herself conceived without sin.

She was a pure vessel to carry the Almighty. Pope Pius IX was calling the world to a deeper understanding, a more profound devotion, and a deeper relationship with Mary. But how did 1854 come up in the conversation among friends? Via 2004 – this was the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, and
the year that I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary. Here we are in my kitchen, with cookies everywhere, flour on the floor, laughter in the air, and it dawned on us that we are on the eve of the Immaculate Conception. Our laughter turned to stories of Mary, and consecrations, and devotions, and we realized that our relationships intertwined with stories of Mary.

For me, one of my favorite Marian memories is praying the Rosary with my Baptist friend praying along. Another friend shared her memory of having a baby on the Immaculate Conception and coming to realize the relationship between mother and child. Then, one of the friends mentioned the Eucharist. After receiving, she immediately prays the Memorare, in which she asks Mary to help her to prepare to receive Jesus into her heart, just as Mary was prepared to welcome Him some 2000 years ago.

We all smiled as we realized that our moms each taught us to make cookies, which took us right back to Mary. She is the ultimate mother, gently and lovingly teaching us how to embrace what is truly sweet to the soul, which is being prepared continuously to carry her Son within us.
Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing!


About the author:

Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show,“Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at