THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL

In the year 1830 there lived in ths convent a holy novice Sister Catherine Laboure-then twenty four years of age. She had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and hoped to see her before she died. Nor was she disappointed. At eleven thirty on the night of the 18th July, 1830, her guardian angel, in the form of a little child, appeared to her and summoned her to the Chapel where, a few minutes after midnight, she had the indescribable joy of meeting the Blessed Virgin. Catherine knelt at Her feet, joined her hands on Our Lady's knees, and there for two hours they talked together as mother and child. We do not know all that passed between them, except that the Blessed Virgin told Sister Catherine that GOD had a special mission to entrust to her.

THE SPECIAL MISSION

Four months later, on the 27th November the Blessed Virgin again appeared in the Chapel to Sister Catherine and made known to her the nature of the mission to be entrusted to her. The Blessed Virgin then appeared as you see Her on the medal.

Now examine it carefully, noting all the details, She stands erect with Her hands out stretched, and from those hands come forth rays of light symbolic of the blessings and favours which the Blessed Virgin wishes to bestow upon us. Her feet rest upon the world, whose mistress and Queen She is; while at the same time they crush the head of the fiery serpent, the devil in disguise, who wanders throughout the world, seeking whom he may devour. Around the edge of the medal is a little prayer:

O'Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee. prayer which the Blesed Virgin wishes us to recite often: a prayer which honours that unique privilege of Hers which we call Her Immaculate Conception. We, because we are Adam's descendants, have incurred the guilt of his first sin, though we are freed from it at Baptism. To this universal law there is one exception, namely, that of the Blessed Virgin who, because She was to be the Mother of GOD, was preserved in Her soul from ever incurring the guilt of this sin-She came into the world Immaculate.

The oval frame then turned round and Sister Catherine saw the reverse side. In the centre was the letter "M"- the first letter Mary's name surmounted by a cross. Beneath were two Hearts-the Heart of Her Divine Son encircled with thorns and Her own Heart, pierced with the sword of sorrow-while round the edge were the twelve stars, (recalling the vision of Saint John in the twelfth Chapter of the Apocalypse or the Book of Revelations). The Blessed Virgin told Sister Catherine to make known the design of this medal, adding that it was to be propagated and that people were to be asked to wear it around their necks. She promised to bless and protect with a special love those who did so. Faithfully Catherine undertook the mission entrusted to her. It was to prove no easy task. Delays and opposition followed, but of this the Blessed Virgin had warned her.

In the midst of it all, Catherine remained anonymous, for the Blessed Virgin had told her to relate all that She said to her to Father Aladel, a holy Vincentian Priest. She therefore told him and no one else, until forty six years later just before her death she felt obliged to tell her Sister Superior also, since all the wishes the Blessed Virgin had expressed to her had not been fulfilled. With the help of Father Aladel, who preserved her secret, the cause triumphed, and in 1832 the first medals were designed and distributed. Within four years there were no fewer than twelve million in circulation in all parts of the world, thus causing Pope Pius Xll, to say at the Canonization of St. Catherine Laboure on 27th July 1947:

"The whole world was submerged under a deluge of little medals which were the bearers of all the spiritual and corporal mercies of the Immaculate Virgin. The medal, of which Mary Herself had spoken to her confidant, was struck, and distributed in thousands, among every class and in every clime, where it has since then been the instrument of such numerous and extra-ordinary favours-both corporal and spiritual of so many cures, protections and especially conversions, that the voice of the people has spontaneously, without the least hesitation, called it the MIRACULOUS MEDAL."

We should wear this medal of Our Heavenly Mother and often turn to Her for help. It will preserve you from evil thoughts, from evil words, and from evil actions. Many have found in it their protection in this life and the pledge of their final meeting in Heaven. Follow in their footsteps and you will not be disappointed. It has helped others to get to Heaven; it will help you also.

Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure: "My child, GOD wishes to entrust you with a mission."


CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS