Sunday, May 6, 2012
Shrine of the Miraculous Medal
Members of the M.I. are encouraged to wear or a carry the Miraculous Medal, a sacramental which St. Maximilian Kolbe called Our Lady’s ‘silver bullet’. The Miraculous Medal, officially the medal of the Immaculate Conception, proclaims the triumph of God’s redemptive grace seen in the Immaculata. The medal also proclaims trust in the intercessory role of Our Lady as the Mediatrix of graces who draws us into union with Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This medal of the Immaculate Conception originated with the request of Our Lady made to St. Catherine Laboure, a Daughter of Charity, (Sisters founded by St Vincent de Paul). The apparitions occurred at the Rue du Bac Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. On July 18th, 1830, the young Catherine, who was then a postulant at the Motherhouse, was awakened by an angel at 11.30pm urging her to go to the Chapel. There Catherine was greeted by Our Lady who was seated in the sanctuary.
The Blessed Virgin gave instructions to the young postulant about the call to holiness as a sister and a special mission which would be given to her. Our Lady also gave warnings about the future of France and the immorality of the world. Within a week the prophecies were already beginning to be fulfilled with the overthrow of the government and deposition of the monarchy. Our Lady promised that special graces would be granted to those who would come and pray before the Altar in the Chapel. Our Lady would give her protection to the sisters during the coming months when a fierce persecution of the Church would rage, similar to that of the 1793 revolution.
On Saturday, November 27, 1830, Our Lady again appeared to Catherine. Appearing as the Miraculous Medal she instructed Catherine Laboure to have the medal made and distributed. Our Lady said to St Catherine Laboure: “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces. They should wear it around their neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.” Catherine was instructed to only tell her confessor Fr. Aladel. He was to be the one chosen to spread the devotion of the Medal and have it approved by the Church. Our Lady had to appear five times to St. Catherine before Fr. Aladel was finally convinced to act upon Our Lady’s request.
In 1832 the medal was made and distributed. The Archbishop of Paris experienced a miracle through the use of the medal and many reports of miracles flooded the Motherhouse in Rue Du Bac. After the events of 1830, St. Catherine lived the rest of her life as a humble sister. She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized for her holiness in 1947. Her body is incorrupt and is encased in a glass coffin in the Chapel of Rue du Bac to remind us of the reality of Heaven.
St. Catherine Laboure is one of many incorruptible saints, but more importantly she was chosen by God to be the recipient of the Virgin Mary’s medal. The Medal, (as all sacramentals), is blessed by the Church as a religious article to be used with faith to draw us closer to the Heavenly truths they represent. The use of sacramentals calls us to have faith and trust in the Good Lord and His holy operation in our life. They are not good luck charms but emblems of prayer and devotion that remind us that if we turn to Our Lord and His Immaculate Mother with trust, we will not be abandoned. The sacramentals remind us of God’s Fatherly care and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints.
The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal continues to be visited by many pilgrims who come to kneel before the Altar of God and seek the help of Our Lady. By wearing the Miraculous Medal we are reminded to trust in Our Lady’s intercession who constantly prays for us, to drink the new wine of Christ and to live in the grace of God as His faithful children.