Our lady of the Miraculous Medal is a name that was given to the Virgin Mary when she appeared to Catherine Labouré in 1830, at 140 rue du Bac in the heart of Paris. It is also the name of the Chapel that was built following the apparitions. Since then, a strong Marian devotion has developed around these apparitions and the medal. Many prayers and novenas of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal exist to celebrate its feast day on November 27th.
In 1830 Catherine Labouré, aged 24, was a novice in the convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. During that year, the Virgin Mary appeared to her three times, giving her the design of the two faces of the medal and the mission of having the medal minted and distributed. On the front side of the medal, Mary is represented crushing the head of the serpent with her heel while the palms of her hands have beams of light coming forth from them. Around her,on the trim of the medal, is written “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”. On the back side of the medal, there is a M for Mary that intertwines and sustains the foot of the Cross, surrounded by 12 stars. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are also depicted, with the heart of Jesus being crowned with thorns and the heart of Mary being pierced with a lance. The Virgin Mary told Catherine, “Have this medal minted; the people that wear this medal with faith and confidence, will receive important graces”.
Catherine reported these apparitions to her confessor, and after two years of inquiry, the medals were minted. From the start, the medal became popular and was said to be “miraculous” because many healings had been granted to the Virgin of the medal at a time when Paris had been touched by a violent epidemic of cholera. This was only the beginning of this popular devotion which continues to grow worldwide. Already in 1876 the number of medals distributed was over one billion!
Thanks to these apparitions and later on those of Lourdes, that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed in 1854. Pray to Our Lady who will grant you many graces with these Marian devotions: