Blessed John Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception

“Christ preserved beforehand the Blessed Virgin from all stain of original sin; otherwise, He would not have been the perfect Redeemer.”

The beautiful statue of Blessed John Duns Scotus is located in the plaza area outside the Blessed John Duns Scotus Friary. The statue, by Alexander Kostner, Ars Sacra in Italy, was dedicated and blessed by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke on December 12, 2012.


Explaining the connection between Blessed Scotus and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Father Peter Fehlner recalls for us that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Saint Juan Diego on December 9, 1531, which was at that time the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Therefore, promoting devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe was and still is a way to come to know and to love her Son, present in her Immaculate Womb.

The Franciscans who did so much to promote devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the 16th century were all trained in the philosophy and theology of Duns Scotus. This training was important then for the recognition of who Our Lady of Guadalupe was and why she came to ‘mediate’ as Mother. So, too, it is important today, especially in North America, to recognize the importance of this Shrine and to make it a goal of pilgrimage.


A gifted Franciscan theologian, Blessed John Duns Scotus is known as the Subtle and Marian Doctor. Throughout his writings, Blessed Scotus teaches us the primacy of love in theology. Everything is ordered to love, and in love everything is perfected. The most perfect revelation of this divine love is the absolute primacy of Jesus and Mary.

Burning with love for the truth, Scotus also debated the heresies of the dangerous sects that were disrupting the faith of so many souls at the time.

His life was marked with travels from Scotland to France to England and back to France again, and finally to Germany where he died on November 8, 1308, at the age of 42. His tomb in Cologne reads: “Scotland bore me; England received me; France taught me; Cologne holds me.”

It was in 1854 that Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception a Dogma of the Catholic Faith.


His travels were marked by intense prayer and contemplation. Blessed Scotus taught the Faith to the students and people he met along the way. For each of us, he inspires our pilgrimages to be similar experiences of faith, spent in intense prayer, reflecting on God’s love and the Scriptures, and encountering the Incarnate Lord in place and time.

“How you journey determines how you arrive.”


Pope Saint John Paul II beatified John Duns Scotus on March 20, 1993.

 “A powerful tower rising to Heaven as a testimony of faith”  (Pope Saint John Paul II – Beatification of John Duns Scotus)


O Most High, Almighty and gracious Lord,
Who exalts the humble and confounds the proud of heart,
grant us the great joy of seeing Blessed John Duns Scotus canonized.

He honored Your Son with the most sublime praises; he was the first to defend successfully the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary; he lived in heroic obedience to the Holy Father, to the Church, and to the Seraphic Order.

O Most Holy Father, God of infinite love, hear, we beseech You, our humble prayer, through the merits of Your only-Begotten Son and of His Mother, Coredemptrix and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Glory be to the Father….

“God wills to love.
God wills to be loved.
God wills to have co-lovers of Himself.”
John Duns Scotus in Opus Parisiense

On December 12, 2012, at the conclusion of his talk, Cardinal Burke encouraged everyone to learn more about Blessed John Duns Scotus and to entrust a special intention to his intercession.

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