I heard a great anecdote from Kimberly Hahn that helped explain the Immaculate Conception and why Mary (like all of us) needs a Savior.
Kimberly (still a Protestant, in high school) was at a youth group meeting with a friend (and PK- preacher’s kid). As was usual for this group, people were giving incredible testimonies about how Jesus had saved them from drinking, drugs, debauchery, etc.
Kimberly was starting to feel a little uncomfortable with the way the discussion was going, but really couldn’t say much because, hey, isn’t this what conversion was supposed to be? However, she felt rather inadequate because she didn’t have a cool whiz-bang conversion story.
Just then, her friend stood up. He started testifying about how Jesus had gotten him out of drugs, etc. etc. and even worse! He was getting quite a few appreciative “Amen, brother!” cheers. Kimberly was shocked. This guy had consistently been a really good Christian, and he hadn’t been involved in any of the sins he was describing.
And then he paused, making sure the audience was hooked. “And how did Jesus save me from this horrible life of sin? He gave me a great mom and dad who raised me right so that I wouldn’t fall into all of that mess.”
Years later, Kimberly remembered the incident during her journey into the Church when she was trying to understand the Immaculate Conception. Yes, Jesus saved Mary. The graces of the cross were applied to her at her conception, though. Adam and Eve were created without sin, but chose evil. The New Adam (Christ) and the New Eve (Mary) were both conceived without the stain of original sin, and they both chose God.