Miraculous Medal

Miraculous Medal

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The Miraculous Medal, also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

, is a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré
Catherine Labouré
Saint Catherine Labouré was a sister of the Daughters of Charity and a Marian visionary who relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal worn by millions of Catholics and even non-Catholics today.- Early life :She was born in the Burgundy region of France to...

 following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

. Many Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 Christians around the world (and some non-Catholics) wear the Miraculous Medal, which they believe will bring them special graces
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 through the intercession of Mary if worn with faith and devotion at the hour of death. It is often worn together with the Brown Scapular
Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Our Lady of Mount Carmel″ is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, and the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel , is the habit of that Order...

. Such items of devotion
Catholic devotions
A Roman Catholic devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to God. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to serve God; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts such as the adoration of God or the veneration of the saints or the Virgin Mary.Roman Catholic...

 are not charms and should not be construed as being either "magical" or superstitious (two conditions which are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church) but serve as constant physical reminders of devotion.

Background



Saint Catherine Labouré
Catherine Labouré
Saint Catherine Labouré was a sister of the Daughters of Charity and a Marian visionary who relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal worn by millions of Catholics and even non-Catholics today.- Early life :She was born in the Burgundy region of France to...

 stated that on the night of July 18, 1830, she awoke upon hearing a voice of a child calling her to the sisters' chapel (located in the Rue du Bac, Paris
Rue du Bac, Paris
Rue du Bac is a street in Paris situated in the VIIe arrondissement. The street, which is 1150 m long, begins at the junction of the quais Voltaire and Anatole-France and ends at the rue de Sèvres....

), where she heard the Blessed Virgin Mary say to her, "God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world."

On November 27, 1830, Catherine reported that the Blessed Mother returned during evening meditations. She displayed herself inside an oval frame, standing upon a globe, wearing many rings of different colors, most of which shone rays of light over the globe. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words Ô Marie, conçue sans péché, priez pour nous qui avons recours à vous (in English, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee). As Catherine watched, the frame seemed to rotate, showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the stylized Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

 pierced with a sword. Asked why some of her rings did not shed light, Mary reportedly replied, "Those are the graces for which people forget to ask." Catherine then heard Mary ask her to take these images to her father confessor
Confessor
-Confessor of the Faith:Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith, but not to the point of death. The term is still used in this way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared...

, telling him that they should be put on medallions, and saying "All who wear them will receive great graces."

Catherine did so, and after two years' of investigation and observation of Catherine's normal daily behavior, the priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 took the information to his archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 without revealing Catherine's identity. The request was approved and medallions began to be produced. Those who wore the medal felt that they had received great blessings, and the medal came to be referred to as the "Miraculous Medal". They proved to be popular, and the medals spread worldwide.

One of the most remarkable facts recorded in connection with the Miraculous Medal is the conversion of a Jew, Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne of Strasburg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, who had resisted the appeals of a friend to enter the Church. Alphonse Ratisbonne consented, somewhat reluctantly, to wear the medal, and being in Rome, he entered, by chance, the church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte
Sant'Andrea delle Fratte
Sant'Andrea delle Fratte is a 17th-century basilica church in Rome, Italy, dedicated to St. Andrew. The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Andreae Apostoli de Hortis is Ennio Antonelli....

 and beheld in a vision the Blessed Virgin Mary exactly as she is represented on the medal; his conversion speedily followed.

The chapel
Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, France, is the chapel where Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830 and requested the creation of the medal which came to be known as the Miraculous Medal...

 in which Saint Catherine experienced her visions is located at the mother house of the Daughters of Charity in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The incorrupt
Incorruptibility
Incorruptibility is a Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief that supernatural intervention allows some human bodies to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness...

 bodies of Saint Catherine Labouré and Saint Louise de Marillac
Louise de Marillac
Saint Louise de Marillac was the co-founder, with St. Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity. She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.-Early life:...

, a co-founder of the Daughters of Charity, are interred in the chapel, which continues to receive daily visits from Catholic pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s today.

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 used a slight variation of the reverse image as his coat of arms, the Marian Cross
Marian Cross
The Marian Cross is an informal name applied to a Roman Catholic cross design. It consists of a traditional Latin cross with the crossbar extended on the right, and a letter "M" in the lower right quadrant....

, a plain cross with an M underneath the right-hand bar (which signified the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified).

See also

  • Stabat Mater (art)
    Stabat Mater (art)
    Stabat Mater is a topic in Christian Marian art in which the Virgin Mary is depicted under the cross during the Crucifixion of Christ...

  • Marian Cross
    Marian Cross
    The Marian Cross is an informal name applied to a Roman Catholic cross design. It consists of a traditional Latin cross with the crossbar extended on the right, and a letter "M" in the lower right quadrant....

  • Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
    Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
    The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary refers to the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary...


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