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  • Writer's pictureKeith Jiron

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

miraculous medal vision

The feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal recalls the 1830 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a young novice at the convent of the Sisters of Charity in France. In one of these visions, the Blessed Mother asked the future Saint Catherine Laboure to have a medal struck according to the vision she was given.

In the vision she saw the Blessed Mother standing on top of a globe with her arms outstretched and rays of light emanating from her hands. In the vision, there formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame in the shape of an oval and written on it were the words, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who recourse to thee.” During the vision, the oval frame turned around and on the back of it was seen a letter ‘M’ placed below a cross with a horizontal bar at its base which ran through the top of the ‘M.’ Under the ‘M’ was a heart surrounded by a crown of thorns and a heart transpierced by a sword.

The rays streaming from Mary’s hands signify Mary’s mediation of graces upon the world (the globe). The wording very clearly refers to the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception which was officially proclaimed just 24 years later in 1854. In her description of the vision, St. Catherine tells how she was eager to receive words explaining the vision on the reverse side of the oval. However, one day in prayerful meditation, she recalls hearing a voice tell her that “the ‘M’ with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.”

miraculous medal

The medal which was struck according to St. Catherine’s vision was initially called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. It quickly grew in popularity and so many were the number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to it that it quickly came to be known as the Miraculous Medal. Initially, there were some 20,000 medals struck, but more were continually in demand such that by the time of St. Catherine’s death, over a billion medals had been distributed across the globe.

What are we to take away from this apparition of the Immaculate Mother Mary? In one of the descriptions of the vision, St. Catherine recalls asking the Blessed Mother about the gems on her fingers from which no rays were emanating. Mary’s response was that these were the untapped graces from which people did not ask for her intercession. Mary is our Mother and like any good mother, will do anything for the sake of her children. The Immaculate Mother longs to release these untapped graces of her Son upon us. Let us humbly and with great confidence look to her, asking for her heavenly assistance in all our needs.

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