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Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Conception


The Medal of the Immaculate Conception

popularly known as the Miraculous Medal

was designed by the Blessed Virgin herself!

No wonder, then that it wins such extraordinary

graces for those who wear it,

and pray for Mary's intercession and help.



Our Lady manifested the Medal to 
Saint Catherine Laboure on November 27, 1830,
in the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity
of St. Vincent de Paul, in Paris. 

Catherine saw our Lady standing on a globe,
with dazzling rays of light streaming
from her outstretched hands. 

Framing the figure was an inscription:
     O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee.



Then Mary 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."


    On July 18, 1830, the eve of the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, whom she loved so much, and whose heart she had seen overflowing with love, St. Catherine prayed to him, so that her desire
to see the Blessed Virgin be heard at last.
At 11 p.m. that night she heard her name called.
A mysterious child is at the foot of her bed and asks her to get up.
    “The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you,” he said.
St. Catherine followed the child radiating rays of light wherever he went. Having arrived in the chapel, St. Catherine stopped near the chair,
used by the priest in the sanctuary. She then heard a sound similar to the swish of a silk dress. “Look, here is the Blessed Virgin,” said her small guide. She showed reluctance to believe. But the child repeated in a stronger tone of voice. “Here is the Blessed Virgin.”
    Catherine hurried to the knees of the Blessed Virgin who was sitting on a chair. “I then bounded to the steps of the altar, knelt and let my hands rest on the knees of the Blessed Virgin. There I spent the most pleasant time of my life. It would be impossible for me to describe what I experienced. The Blessed Virgin told me how I should conduct myself with regard to my confessor and many other things.” Catherine received a mission, a request to have a Confraternity of the children of Mary established.
Father Aladel would accomplish this request on February 2, 1840.


On November 27 1830 at 5:30 pm, during meditation, St. Catherine saw at the present location of the Virgin of the Globe, a picture of the Blessed Virgin. Standing on a half-globe holding in her hands a small golden globe: her feet crushing a serpent. Coming from the open hands of the Blessed Virgin were beautiful rays of light and at that same moment St. Catherine heard a voice saying: “These rays are symbols of graces that Mary obtains for people.” Then an oval formed around the apparition and Catherine saw emblazoned in a semi-circle this invocation, until then unknown:“ O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee”, written in gold letters. Then the picture turned and St. Catherine saw on the reverse side: the letter M surmounted with a little cross and below it the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Catherine then heard these words:
“Have a medal made on this model. Those who will wear it with confidence will receive great graces.” In the month of December 1830, during meditation, Catherine again heard the rustling sound, this time behind the altar. The same image of the medal was present near the tabernacle, slightly to the back of it.
“These rays are the symbol of the graces that the Blessed Virgin obtains for those who ask them of her”.



 With approval of the Church, the first Medals were made in 1832
and were distributed in Paris.
Almost immediately the blessings that Mary had promised
began to shower down on those who wore her Medal

The devotion spread quickly; marvels of grace and health,
peace and prosperity, followed in its wake
so that before long people were calling it the "Miraculous" Medal.

In 1836, a Canonical inquiry undertaken at Paris declared the apparitions to be genuine. There is no superstition, nothing of magic, connected with the Miraculous Medal. No one should consider it strange that God works wonders through a Medal. Does He not use water to cleanse the soul of original sin in Baptism? Does he not use oil to confer His graces in Confirmation and the Sacrament of the Sick? Similarly, He uses a Medal, not indeed as a sacrament, but as an agent, an instrument, in bringing to pass certain marvelous results. "The weak things of this earth hath God chosen to confound the strong."



On the front side of the medal we see the Blessed Virgin Mary
as the Victorious Woman of Genesis.
God Himself put enmities between the Woman and the serpent,
a battle to be carried on "in that ‘monumental struggle
against the powers of darkness’ which continues
throughout human history."
On the medal we see Mary Immaculate
with her foot crushing the head of the serpent.
"She who as the one ‘Full of Grace’ was brought into
the Mystery of Christ in order to be His Mother
and thus the Holy Mother of God . . .
remains in that mystery as ‘the Woman’ spoken of
by the Book of Genesis (3:15)
In many other official documents of the Church
and writings of Saints we find Mary referred to
as this Victorious Woman of Genesis
destined to crush the proud head of the devil.

The year 1830 was shown inscribed on the globe at the base of the Medal, so it is clearly meant to convey some message. It can very well indicate the year which begins the final stages of the battle between the Woman and the serpent, between good and evil. It could be Heaven’s way of indicating the year opening the Marian Era.  Our Lady is standing on the globe of the world. Mary’s hands are shown showering a cascade of brilliant rays on the world, as if she found them too heavy with graces and was eager to pour them on us.

Around the oval frame of the medal we read the words,

"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse."
In this brief prayer we find the truth of
(a) the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and
(b) Mary’s intercessory power with God for us who ask for her aid.



On the reverse side of the Medal we see a Cross,
the symbol of Christ’s Redeeming Sacrifice
on Mount Calvary for the salvation of the world.
At the base of the Cross is a bar, which symbolizes the foot of the Cross.
Intertwined with the bar is the letter "M"
symbolizing the Mary’s intimate involvement at the foot of the Cross
with her Son’s Redemptive Sacrifice.

Since the Cross is the symbol of Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice,
we can also see a Eucharistic symbolism on the Medal.
In every Holy Mass the Church involves the Blessed Virgin Mary,
so befitting to her who stood heroically at the foot of the Cross
uniting her sufferings to the Sacrifice of her Son,
filling up in her body those things that are wanting
to the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His Mystical Body, the Church.


We see the "M" is below the line or foot of the Cross,
signifying Mary’s subordinate role to that of Jesus.
"This union of the Mother and her Son in the work of Redemption
reaches its climax on Calvary,
where Christ offered Himself as the perfect Sacrifice to God
and where Mary stood by the Cross
suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son.
There she united herself with a maternal Heart to His Sacrifice,
and lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim
which she herself had brought forth
and also was offering to the Eternal Father.
It was also at the foot of the Cross that Jesus gave us,
in the person of the Beloved Disciple,
His own Mother to be our Mother.
"Woman, behold your son; son, behold your Mother.”
And the beloved disciple gives us an example to follow,
so that we learn to take Mary into our homes,
into our lives, into our hearts, as do loving children.

So the "M" stands not only for Mary, but also for Mother.
Mary’s mediation is intimately linked with her Motherhood.



On the Medal beneath the Cross and the "M" we see the two Hearts,
the Sacred Heart of Jesus encircled with a crown of thorns,
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword.
We see the prophesy of Holy Simeon fulfilled:
the Son who was destined for the sign of contradiction,
dying on the Cross, and the Mother pierced with a sword of sorrow
beneath the Cross "so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." The union of the two Hearts foreshadows the message of Fatima:
"The Sacred Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary
to be venerated at His side."
"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."  


The two Hearts are surmounted by flames,
symbolizing the burning love with which Jesus and Mary
accomplished the work of Redemption, each in their proper way.
Around the oval frame of the Medal,
encircling the Cross, the "M," and the two Hearts,
we see a crown of twelve stars.
This can be seen as a reference to the "the Great Sign"
in the Book of the Apocalypse;
the "Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, is placed at the very center
of that enmity, that struggle which accompanies
the history of humanity on earth and the history of Salvation itself."

We can see then in the Miraculous Medal the vital role
that the Victorious Woman is destined in the final defeat of the devil.
It is amazing how in such a small medal God can give us
so many profound lessons.
As is the case with all of God’s graces,
 it is up to us to humbly accept what He offers,
as Mary did and to cherish and ponder it in our hearts, as Mary did.





Novena and Consecration may be prayed anytime, but especially during the Triduum Nov 24-26


O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and my Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal. I, your loving and trustful child, implore you to obtain for me the graces and favors I ask during this Novena, if they be beneficial to my immortal soul, and the souls for whom I pray. (here privately form your prayer requests) You know, O Mary, how often my soul has been the sanctuary of your Son who hates iniquity. Obtain for me then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach me to God alone so that my every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for me also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that I may recover by penance what I have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of all people. Amen.



Act of Consecration

O Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, I dedicate and consecrate myself to you under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. May this Medal be for me a sure sign of your affection for me and a constant reminder of my duties toward you. Ever while wearing it, may I be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your Son. O most powerful Virgin, Mother of my Savior, keep me close to you every moment of my life. Obtain for me, your child, the grace of a happy death; so that, in union with you, I may enjoy the bliss of heaven forever. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
(3 times)






Acknowledgment of content in part to Rev. Robert J. Billett, C.M.F.