Feast day of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Most Holy Virgin Mary…
Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
Lily of purity, Rose of patience,
Paradise of delight, Mirror of chastity,
Model of innocence…intercede
for this poor banished pilgrim.
St. Peter of Alcantara; Feast day October 19
The miraculous medal was the result of visions which occurred to St. Catherine Laboure’. She was born in 1806 in Paris, France. After having a dream about St. Vincent de Paul, she joined the Daughters of Charity which was founded by him. She is known as a Marian visionary because of the apparitions which she reported of Mary appearing to her.
On July 18, the first apparition occurred. Catherine saw a lady seated in the sanctuary. She approached her and was instructed how she was to act during times of trial, pointing to the altar for consolation. Mary told her, “”Sorrows will come upon France; the throne will be overthrown.” A week later the French revolution began in Paris.
On Nov. 27, the lady showed St. Catherine the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, now known as the “Miraculous Medal” She gave Catherine the mission of having the medal made and to spread devotion to it.
Catherine reported the visions to her spiritual director, Father Aladal. Forty five years later, she spoke fully to her supervisors about the apparitions.
The miraculous medal which Mary showed to Catherine was oval showing Mary standing on a globe crushing the head of the serpent. (the devil). Around the image of Mary were the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Mary’s hands were showering a cascade of brilliant rays upon the world.
On the reverse side of the medal was a cross, the symbol of Christ’s redeeming Sacrifice on Mount Calvary for the salvation of the world. The cross was intertwined with the letter “M”.
The “M” stands for both Mary and for Mother and was to be surrounded by twelve stars. The two hearts are the Sacred Heart of Jesus encircled by a crown of thorns and the Immaculate of Mary, pierce by a sword. The Flames symbolize the burning love of Jesus and Mother Mary.
Mary told Catherine, “All who wear them will receive great graces.” After two years of investigation Father Aladal went to the archbishop with the request. The request was approved.
At Catherine’s death, on December 31, 1876, at the age of 70, few people knew of her visions. She preferred a silent life, spending her time caring for the aged and sick.
The first two-thousand medals were delivered on June 30, 1832. The spread of the Medal was almost like a miracle in itself. The first supply disappeared quickly. Pope Gregory XVI put one of them at the foot of the crucifix on his desk. By 1836 several million medals had been made. The stories of the cures and wonders of the medal helped to spread its use far and wide.
November is the Month of the Holy Souls