If Mary was sinless, why did she need a Savior?

My wife and I facilitate the RCIA class at our parish and we received a fairly challenging question from one of our candidates:

“One of the only two issues that I really still struggle with about Catholicism is Mary’s Immaculate Conception. I understand the general idea, but the fact that she did not sin throughout her entire life I cannot get entirely. Why did she need a Savior if she was sinless? She was perfect, so to speak. Why does she need to be saved?”

One thought I have is that Mary, though sinless, is still not God and therefore, she could not save herself. Could you please give me a good response to his question?

Mary’s sinlessness was not due to any inherent perfection she had apart from God; her very sinlessness was purely a gift from God her Savior (cf. Luke 1:46-48). As a human being who descended from our first parents, Mary was due to inherit original sin. Had God done nothing at the point of conception, she would have inherited it. Because she was to be God’s own Mother and was to have a share in setting right the damage done to the human race by Adam and Eve, God used the graces Christ would win for humanity on the cross and saved her from all stain of sin from the moment of her conception. Her sinlessness does not diminish God’s saving power; if anything, his work to preserve Mary’s soul free from any and all sin demonstrates the limitlessness of his saving power.

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