Yesterday, November 27, marked the feast of the Miraculous Medal, otherwise known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception. Though the feast honors the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the memorial commemorates the anniversary of the apparition of the Mother of God to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830, where Our Lady showed the nun the medal she wished to be made for those to wear seeking her aid and protection. The Blessed Virgin spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.” Countless miracles followed, hence the name, the Miraculous Medal.
Last summer the World Youth Day pilgrimage from our Marianist schools were able to visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. We prayed at the bodies of St. Catherine Laboure and St. Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent is buried in another church on the same stree. These are two very important saints of French Catholicism.
This chapel had a unique significance for us because initially we were unable to visit as Mass was in progress. But after a quick look and a little conversation, all were permitted to visit and pray by an English-speaking sister at the shrine. The chapel itself is where St. Catherine Laboure had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sanctuary. During this vision, Mary told St. Catherine to establish the devotion of the Miraculous Medal so that many who were not praying would come to pray through the grace offered by her Son. Today, there are more than a million people who keep this devotion worldwide. Ours was a graced-filled trip.
"O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
In 12 days the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.