The story of this celebration
+ On November 27, 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré, then a novice with the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France.
+ In the vision, Saint Catherine saw Our Lady standing on a globe with shafts of light streaming from her hands and the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee,” surrounding the image.
+ In the same vision, Catherine saw a capitol “M” with a cross above it and two hears below. The young sister seemed to hear a voice telling her to have she saw struck as a medal, along with a promise that whoever wore the medal would have the protection and intercession of Mary.
+ The first 1,500 of these “Miraculous Medals” were distributed in 1832. A diocesan tribunal approved Catherine’s revelations in 1836.
For prayer and reflection
“Among the various medals of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most diffuse must be the “Miraculous Medal”… It recalls the mystery of Redemption, the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary. It signifies the mediatory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mystery of the Church, the relationship between Heaven and earth, this life and eternal life.”—Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
From the time of the visions until her death in 1876, Catherine Labouré lived simply virtually unknown in an obscure convent of her community, answering doors, caring for the poultry, and tending the elderly in a hospice. Although she was respected as a good and faithful sister, her superiors spoke of her as being “rather insignificant” and as having been “very matter-of-fact and unexcitable.” Because her name had never been mentioned in connection with the visions or the “Miraculous Medal,” few people knew that Catherine had been responsible for the spread of the devotion. Following her death on December 31, 1876, Catherine Labouré became the object of devotion as being learned the truth about her and she was eventually canonized in 1947.
O Lord Jesus Christ, You have willed that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, immaculate from the first moment of her conception, should be glorified by countless miracles; grant that we, who always implore her patronage, may attain to eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal, 1962 edition)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.