"Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament." - Padre Pio of Peitrelcina

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Catherine Labouré was a twenty-four year old novitiate in the order of the Sisters of Charity, when she was privileged to receive various visions of St. Vincent and of Jesus present in the Eucharist before experiencing two apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

In the first vision, Catherine was awakened about 11:30 p.m. on July 18, 1830 as she heard her name called three times. She opened the curtains of her cell and saw a "shining child," who she later took to be her Guardian Angel. He said: "Follow me to the chapel, where the Virgin Mary awaits you." Catherine hastily dressed herself and followed him to the chapel at the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris. The chapel was lit for the midnight-Mass, but she cannot see the Blessed Virgin. She then knelt and prayed. After half an hour her Guardian Angel said: "There is the Blessed Virgin Mary." Catherine heard a rustle like that of silk and to the left of St. Joseph she sees the Blessed Virgin Mary descend the altar steps and sit on the chair of the Priest. Within a moment she was on her knees in front of the Blessed Virgin, with her hands confidently folded on Mary's knees. This was the beginning of a two hour long conversation.

Our Lady spoke with her, telling her that she would have to undertake a difficult mission for her and foretold of bad times which were to come, but promised help and grace for those who prayed. She was also told of personal trials to bear and many difficulties to overcome, but that she would always have an inner certainty as to what she should do. Our Lady also spoke of the religious persecution which would break out in Paris later in the century, while also foretelling the coming events in the capital. Catherine was told to tell everything she saw and heard to her confessor and spiritual director, Fr. Aladel, a Viecentian priest, who was sceptical, but this scepticism soon disappeared when the revolution in Paris began just over a week later on July 27, 1830. 

Several months later in the same year, on November 27, about 5:30 p.m., Catherine again saw Our Lady in the chapel during community meditation. Suddenly Catherine heard, to her right, the same rustle as before; it was the Blessed Virgin Mary. She stopped to the left near the painting of St. Joseph. Our Lady was dressed in white, standing on a globe and holding a golden ball with rings on her fingers flashing with light. An inner voice told her that the ball represented the whole world and that the rays coming from Our Lady's fingers represented graces for individuals.

The golden ball then vanished as the apparition changed to represent Our Lady with her arms outstretched, inside an oval frame with golden lettering: "Ô Marie, conçue sans péché, priez pour nous qui avons recours à vous" (O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee). Then she was shown the reverse of the medal, consisting of a large "M" surmounted by a bar and cross, with two hearts, representing the hearts of Jesus and Mary, all encircled by twelve stars. Again, an interior voice spoke, telling her to have a medal struck on this model, promising that great graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence around the neck.

Fr. Aladel was again reluctant to act, but once the medal was struck and distributed, it rapidly earned the title of the "Miraculous Medal." The medal has since reproduced, now over a billion times and distributed around the world. 

Catherine was also told by Our Lady about the new Association to be founded, the Children of Mary, of the way May would become a special Marian month, and of how devotion to the Sacred Heart would greatly increase.

Church Approval

In 1836, the Archbishop de Quelen of Paris initiated an official canonical investigation into the visions. Catherine refused to appear, wishing her identity to be kept a secret. Fr. Aladel pleaded to be allowed to keep her name anonymous. The tribunal, basing its opinion on the stability of her confessor and Catherine's character, decided to favor the authenticity of the visions. The apparitions were approved as authentic by the Archbishop, confirming that the Miraculous Medal was supernaturally inspired and responsible for genuine miracles.

Catherine worked for 46 more years in hospices of her Order until her death in December 31, 1876. Her body lies incorrupt to this day at the site of the apparition, in the convent chapel at the Rue du Bac, where miracles were reported at her tomb.

On July 19, 1931, Catherine was declared venerable by Pope Pius XI (Decree of Heroic Virtues), who in May 28, 1933, beatified Catherine leading to her sainthood in July 27, 1947 as canonized by Pope Pius XII.

The Feast Day of St. Catherine Labouré is November 28 (it was formerly celebrated on December 31).

Description of the Virgin 

"The Virgin was standing. She was of medium height, and clothed in all white. Her dress was of the whiteness of dawn, made in the style called a la Vierge, that is, high neck and plain sleeves. A white veil covered her head and and fell on either side of her feet. Under the veil her hair, in coils, was bound with a fillet ornamented with lace, about three centimeters in height or of two fingers' breadth, without pleats, and resting lightly on the hair. Her face was sufficiently exposed, indeed exposed very well, and so beautiful that it seems to me impossible to express her ravishing beauty."

The Messages of Rue du Bac

FIRST APPARITION - July 18, 1830

"My child, the good God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will have much to suffer, but you will rise above these sufferings by reflecting that what you do is for the glory of God. You will know what the good God wants. You will be tormented until you have told him who is in charge with directing you. You will be contradicted, but do not fear, you will have grace. Tell with confidence all that passes within you. Tell it with simplicity. Have confidence. Do not be afraid. "

"There will be bad times to come. Misfortunes will come crashing down on France. The throne will be toppled. The whole world will be turned upside-down by misfortunes of all kinds [...] But come to the foot of this altar. There, graces will be poured out on all those, small, or great, who ask for them with confidence and fervour. Graces will be poured out especially on those who ask for them. Grave troubles are coming. There will be great danger, for this, the novitiate and other communities. At one moment when the danger is acute, everyone will believe all to be lost; you will recall my visit and [the novitiate] will have the protection of God. But it will not be the same for other communities."

"There will be victims [...] There will be victims among the clergy of Paris; Monsignor the Archbishop will die [...] My child, the Cross will be held in contempt. It will be thrown to the ground and trampled. Blood will flow. Our Saviour's side will be opened anew. The streets will run with blood. Monsignor the Archbishop will be stripped of his vestments . . . My child, the whole world will be plunged into gloom."

"My eyes will ever be upon you. I shall grant you graces. Special graces will be given to all who ask them, but people must pray."

"The ball which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular. These rays symbolise the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask."

SECOND APPARITION - November 27, 1830

"Have a Medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence."

"This globe which you see is the world, France in particular and for every person living in it. I am praying for it and for everyone in the world. The rays which shed on the globe from my hands are the graces which I bestow for all those who ask for them. But there are no rays that come from some of the gems (from my fingers) because those are the graces which God wishes to bestow on them but they forget to ask . . ."

The Miraculos Medal

The Prophecies Fulfilled

By 1870, forty years after the first apparition, all the prophecies given at the time were fulfilled:

"There will be bad times to come. Misfortunes will come crashing down on France. The throne will be toppled."

The "throne" of King Charles X was "overturned" in the end of the year 1830;

"My child, the Cross will be held in contempt. It will be thrown to the ground and trampled. Blood will flow. Our Saviour's side will be opened anew. The streets will run with blood."

Riots broke out all over Paris and Churches were desecrated.

"There will be victims among the clergy of Paris; Monsignor the Archbishop will die."

The Archbishop Msgr. Darboy (1871) and two subsequent of Paris were murdered during this period.

"Monsignor the Archbishop will be stripped of his vestments."

The Archbishop was beaten and stripped of his clothes.

There will be great danger, for this, the novitiate and other communities. At one moment when the danger is acute, everyone will believe all to be lost; you will recall my visit and [the novitiate] will have the protection of God. But it will not be the same for other communities.”

Some of the buildings housing religious communities were burned down; although threatened by angry crowds, the building housing the Sisters of Charity at the Rue du Bac went unharmed.

Site of the apparition at the convent chapel in Rue de Bac

Prayer to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Immaculate Virgin Mary, we honor you,
blessed from the moment of your conception
with the fullness of God's redeeming grace.
You grew in faith and in love for God
as you made the choice
each moment of your life
to allow God to be God in your life.
In calling us to the altar,
as you did St. Catherine Laboure,
you show us where to find redeeming grace.
Lead us, in your spirit of faith, hope and love
to the altar of Eucharistic Celebration
as we receive your Jesus
and say "yes" to all He asks of us.

Mary Immaculate, this beautiful chapel
was erected out of love for you
by the Fathers and Brothers
of the Congregation of the Mission,
the Daughters of Charity.

Dear Christ, You Who so fully completed Your mission, Who did so with such strength, and Who guided St. Catherine to do the same, send the Virgin Mary into our lives to guide as to our own missions. Send the Blessed Mother so that we may make use of every minute that we are on this earth. Send Your mother so that upon death we may be pleasing to You, dear Lord, and have the joy of knowing we accomplished what was assigned to us at birth.

Pray for us, St. Catherine, that we may have our eyes opened to the missions given us by our Creator, and that we may approach life in imitation of your quietness, servitude, and longsuffering. Please, Catherine, help us with a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary and specifically to the Miraculous Medal. Ask that God grant yet greater graces in our lives as a result of this devotion, and let us too `see' the resplendent lights, the radiant grace, that Jesus gives through the hands of His most holy and Blessed Mother.

Oh Mary, conceived without sin, wash away our sins and pray for our humility, for our purity, and for the fulfillment of our life work for God the Father! Let us accept what is sent our way and realize God's hidden designs in all challenges and sufferings!

Let us pray (response: pray for us):

Oh Mary, conceived without sin,

Oh Mary, streaming grace,

Oh Mary, who steps on the serpent,

Oh Mary, who stands on the world,

Oh Mary, who grants small and great gifts,

Oh Mary, who helped save France,

Oh Mary, of the Miraculous medal,


Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

O Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, we dedicate and consecrate ourselves to thee under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. May this medal be for each one of us a sure sign of thy affection for us and a constant reminder of our duties towards thee. Ever while wearing it, may we be blessed by thy loving protection and preserved in the grace of thy Son. O most powerful Virgin, Mother of Our Savior, keep us close to thee every moment of our lives. Obtain for us, thy children, the grace of a happy death; so that, in union with thee, we may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever. Amen.

The incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure in the convent
 chapel of Rue de Bac where miracles were reported in her tomb.


  1. It was really proven to me that She is our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. No matter how sinner you are she will give you signs of miracles in your life.

  2. She is really our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. She can show and feel her miracles even how sinner you are. So great feelings.

    I wish to share an observation I made years ago while reciting the rosary during a First Friday evening devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. For some reason I was prompted to count the number of letters in the Miraculous Medal Prayer. At first I used the digits on my hands and came up with two different answers. Something told me to use the Rosary beads instead. The result was that there are 54 letters--the same as the number of beads in the main body of the Rosary, fifty Hail Marys and four Our Fathers. A few years ago at Easter, I was thinking about the apparition and realized that the Blessed Virgin was most likely speaking to Saint Catherine in French. I looked up the inscription in French, and it also contains 54 letters. Since then, when I finish each decade, I recite the Miraculous Medal Prayer along with the others.
    54 letters in the Miraculous Medal Prayer in both languages. Exactly the number of beads in the main body of the Rosary--4 Our Fathers and 50 Hail Marys.

    I sent this to the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal and received this reply.
    Thank you Laddie. Quite an interesting observation, especially in light of another fact. The year 1954 was observed as a Marian Year in honor of Our Blessed Mother.


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