Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
When Catherine Labouré was only a novice in the Rue du Bac convent, she was praying in the chapel late at night in 1830. At once, she saw a figure that she believed was her guardian angel, who then escorted her to see Mary descend the chapel steps and sit in the chair reserved for the spiritual director. Catherine reported this vision to her spiritual director, who was skeptical at first, but then Virgin Mary appeared a second time, standing on a globe and holding a golden ball, light surrounding her. Catherine understood this vision to mean that the ball represented the world, and the light emanating from Virgin Mary were all of the individual graces people would receive from venerating her as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The oval design and M, as well as the words, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” were part of St. Catherine’s vision. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal 1830 Rue du Bac, Paris, France. The Apparitions was approved in 1836.
On July 18, 1830, the eve of the feast of Saint Vincent whom she loved so much and whose heart she had seen overflowing with love, Catherine prayed that, through his intercession, her desire to see the Blessed Virgin would finally be fulfilled. At eleven-thirty at night, she was called by name. A mysterious child was at the foot of her bed and asked her to get up.
“The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you”
Catherine dressed and followed the child who was “bringing rays of brightness wherever he passed.”Having arrived in the chapel, St. Catherine stopped near the chair used by the priest in the sanctuary (current location of the statue of Saint Joseph). She then heard a sound “like the rustle of a silk dress.”Her little guide said:
“Here is the Blessed Virgin”
She hesitated. But the child repeated in a stronger tone of voice:
“Here is the Blessed Virgin”
In a single bound, Catherine was at the feet of the Blessed Virgin, seated on a chair and rested her hands on the knees of the Mother of God. “There, a period of time passed, the sweetest of my life. It would be impossible for me to say what I experienced. The Blessed Virgin told me how I should behave towards my spiritual director and also several other things.
”The Blessed Virgin pointed to the altar where the tabernacle was and said “Come to the foot of this altar. Here, graces will be spread over all who ask for them with confidence and graces”
A difficult mission was announced as well as a request for the establishment of a Confraternity of the Children of Mary. Father Aladel would accomplish this request on February 2, 1840.
On November 27, 1830, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Catherine again in the chapel. This time, it was at 5:30 pm, during meditation, under the painting of Saint Joseph (current location of Our Lady of the Globe). First, Catherine saw something like two living paintings, one fading into the other, in which the Blessed Virgin stood on a half-globe, her feet crushing a serpent. In this first image, the Virgin held a small golden globe topped with a cross, which she lifted up toward heaven. Catherine heard
“This globe represents the entire world, including France, and every person”
In the second image, beautiful rays of light stream from the Blessed Virgin’s open hands, covered with jewelled rings. At that same moment St. Catherine heard a voice saying
“These rays are a symbol of the graces that I pour out on those who ask them of me”
Then an oval formed around the apparition, and Catherine saw in a semi-circle this invocation:
“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you”
emblazoned in gold letters. She then heard a voice saying:
“Have a medal made according to this model. For those who wear it with confidence, there will be abundant graces”
Finally, the image turned, and Catherine saw the reverse side of the medal: the letter M surmounted with a little cross and two hearts, one crowned with thorns and the other pierced with a sword, below.
In the month of December 1830, during meditation, Catherine again heard the rustling sound, this time behind the altar. The same image of the medal appeared near the tabernacle, slightly behind it.