A Gift From Heaven - The Miraculous Medal
The Medal of the Immaculate Conception, was manifested to a spiritual daughter of St. Vincent de Paul, Saint Catherine Laboure. This took place in the chapel of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity, Rue du Bac, Paris, France.
Sister Catherine, during her novitiate days, received extraordinary favors from God, such as visions of the heart of St. Vincent de Paul, and manifestations of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1830, she was blessed with the apparitions of Mary Immaculate, to which we owe the Miraculous Medal.
Here, in St. Catherine's own words, is a description of the apparition of Our Lady on November 27, 1830, which makes plain that the Medal originated with the Mother of God herself.
"Her feet rested on a white globe. I saw rings on her fingers. Each ring was set with gems. The larger gems emitted greater rays, and the smaller gems, smaller rays. I could not express what I saw, the beauty and the brilliance of the dazzling rays. 'They are the symbols of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them' a voice said. A frame formed round the Blessed Virgin. Within it was written in letters of gold; 'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.'
Then the voice said: 'Have a Medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck.....'At this instant the tableau seemed to turn around and I beheld the revers of the Medal: a large M surmounted by a bar and a cross; beneath the M were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary; the one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword."
The front of the Medal represents Mary standing on the earth, her foot crushing the head of a serpent, and her hands outstretched to all who ask her assistance. The prayer encircling her contains one of her most precious titles: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The rays of light from her hands symbolize the graces which she is only too eager to bestow upon those who wear her Medal and pray to her.
When St. Catherine related the vision to her confessor, he asked her whether she had seen any writing on the back of the Medal. She answered that she had seen none at all. "Ah" said the good priest, "ask the Blessed Virgin what to put there." The Sister obeyed and prayed to Mary for a long time for this information. One day during meditation she seemed to hear a voice saying; "the M and the two hearts express enough."
The Medal was made according to Our Ladys' design. It was freely circulated, and in a short time was worn by millions. In its wake followed wonders innumerable. Health was restored, sickness banished; bad habits broken, special graces given, dangers averted, blessings bestowed, until the little Medal of the Immaculate Conception became known through popular acclaim by the name it bears today, the Miraculous Medal.
The times we live in are evil. The whole world is afflicted with miseries of every kind. But, come to the foot of the Alter. Here graces will be bestowed on all who ask with confidence and fervor. They will be given to both the great and the lowly.
"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
"Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death."
"Mary, help of Christians, pray for us."
Source: Marian Devotions.