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Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal

Today is the feast of Saint Catherine Laboure. Although this feast is not officially on the Church’s calendar, she contributed something great to many Catholics around the world. In 1830, The Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine, a young novice of the Daughters of Charity at their motherhouse in Paris. Mary asked that a medal be created in her honor. On one side there was to be an image of Mary, standing on a globe, surrounded by the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” On the other side, there was to be representations of the hearts of Jesus and Mary and other specific designs.

Catherine reported the apparition to her confessor, who relayed the information to the Archbishop of Paris. In 1832, the archbishop granted permission for the medal to be made. In 1836, an archdiocesan committee officially approved the apparitions and the devotion became even more popular. Soon millions of these medals were distributed in many countries. So many miracles were reported by those wearing the medals, that it became known as the Miraculous Medal. In 1894, after a careful study of the case, Pope Leo XIII instituted a feast of Our Lady Immaculate of the Sacred Medal on November 27. In 1947, Pope Pius XII officially declared Catherine Laboure a Saint of the Church and established her feast day on November 28. If you’d like to read more about St. Catherine Laboure, look at this site. For information about the Association of the Miraculous Medal, click here.

To this day, many Catholics wear the miraculous medal as a reminder of the great intercessory power of the Blessed Mother. I must point out that the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Saint Catherine (and all other apparitions where Christ, Mary, angels or saints appear) is referred to as “private revelation” (as opposed to “public revelation”, which ended with the death of the last Apostle) by the Church. Even though Catholics are not obligated to believe private revelations, there are a great many of us who believe very strongly in them.

I have personally witnessed many miraculous events in my life, brought about by the intercession of The Blessed Mother. The miraculous medal hangs around my neck and serves as a “constant hug” from my heavenly mother and a reminder of her desire to bring me closer to Jesus. One of the best examples of Our Lady’s intercession is at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11). Two things of note in this story are: Jesus performs His first miracle (changing water into wine) at the request of His mother and secondly, Mary interceded for the couple before they asked for help. If Our Blessed Mother cares so much that she is willing to help us without being asked, imagine what she will do if we do ask.

Today would be a good day to turn to Mary and ask for her intercession as we echo the words printed on the Miraculous Medal, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

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