Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (France)
St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal
"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." This invocation, included in many prayers, was revealed to Catherine Laboure during an apparition of Our Lady on November 27, 1830 in Paris. During vespers in the chapel of the convent of the Sisters of Charity, located on Rue du Bac, France, the young novice saw the Blessed Mother for the second time. The first appearance dates back to the previous July, when the Virgin had confided that she had a difficult mission to accomplish. Above the altar, two pictures represent two sides of a medal. Catherine Laboure, who was then 24 years, heard the voice of Mary, who told her: "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces". It was a request reiterated by Our Lady, who would appear again to the sister in December of the same year, again in the chapel of the Rue du Bac. In 1832, with the permission of the Bishop of Paris, Msgr. de Quellen, the first medals were cast. Some years later, in Rome, the great graces coming from the devotion were recognized, from those who adhered to the faith of the Church and wore this medal. Known worldwide as the Miraculous Medal, it is a reminder that above all, the love God has for mankind is truly miraculous. The image of Mary represented on the medal, with 12 stars around her head, would later inspire the European flag, as its creator, Arsène Heitz once explained. At the time of the three apparitions to Catherine Laboure, Mary spoke of the graces and gifts that God wanted to spread upon the Earth, but mankind no longer asks for through prayer. These are the words of Mary:"Come to the foot of this altar and here graces will be bestowed upon all,who ask with confidence and fervour." "The rays are the symbol of the graces which I scatter on those who ask me". "This small globe represents the entire world, particularly France and every single person." "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces."The medal is the extension of this faith in God, is a faith that Catherine Labourée lived in such silence that no one - except her spiritual director Fr. Aladel- knew that she had received apparitions, until her death. In Rome during 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar who was later killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp taking the place of a father of a family, used this medal as the distinctive symbol for the Pious Union of the Militia of the Immaculata, which he founded. On July 27, 1947, Pope Pius XII canonized Sister Catherine Labourée, just 70 years after her death. Since then the body of the saint has been buried in the Chapel of the Rue du Bac in Paris, at the foot of the very altar where she saw the Madonna.
(Prayer of (Saint) John Paul II, May 31, 1980, Rue du Bac): You are blessed among all women! Blessed are you, for you have believed! The Almighty did wonders for you! The wonder of the divine motherhood! And now, the glory of your Son. You never cease to intercede for us poor sinners. You watch over the Church for you are its Mother. You watch over each of your Children. From God, you obtain for us, all graces that are symbolized by the rays of light which radiate from your open hands, and the only condition that you demand of us is that we approach with the confidence, the hardiness, and the simplicity of a child. And it is thus that you bring us before your Divine Son. Amen