Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tota pulchra es, Maria!

The high altar of the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception also known as the Manila Cathedral.

My boss who was a principal sponsor in a wedding held at the Manila Basilica-Cathedral, asked me what the letters in the ciborium that covers the statue of our Lady in the Basilica. He knows I know Latin and he asked me for a quick translation which his relatives in attendance, who are Born-against Christians (very rabidly anti-Catholic) were asking the meaning of. According to him, they called the Latin inscription some sort "of medieval magic thing." Duh!

Well, here is the beautiful prayer and its meaning.

Tota pulchra es, Maria
et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.


You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
Your clothing is white as snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people.
You are all beautiful, Mary.


  1. "pulchra" means beautiful in Latin. Several species have that word in their nomen. Like Acropora pulchra or the "beautiful branching coral"

    Ignorance of Latin will lead the Born Agains to consider Latin binomials as "magic Stuff". This is nothing but ignorance.

    "Tota es Pulchra Maria" may be freely translated as "Mary, you are in everything, beautiful" This excellently describes the Theotokos.

  2. Indeed blackshama. Good observation! What a mixing of words can bring. Thanks.