“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Throughout much of your Europe, there are many shrines and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, here in the United States there isn’t as many. One of the great Marian devotions associated particularly with this country is today’s Marian feast – Our Lady of Prompt Succor. She is also celebrated on January 8.

In the year 1727, a group of Ursuline Nuns from France began a monastery and school in New Orleans. Mother Madier asked the Bishop for teachers, since teachers were short at the time in the city. Since he was also short-handed, he could not provide any help to the Ursuline Nuns. Mother Madier then decided to write to Pope Benedict XIII asking for help, but, he was a prisoner of Napoleon. She then prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and said that if she received help from Our Lady she would then honor her in the city of New Orleans under the title – Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

After one month of praying to Our Lady, Mother Madier received a letter from the Holy Father granting her request for more nuns to come to New Orleans. It should be noted that receiving news from Europe so quickly, even more rare from the Pope, was unheard of at this time and was considered miraculous. To fulfill the promise that she had made, Mother Madier commissioned a statue to be built with Our Lady holding the infant Jesus in our arms. Our Lady of Prompt Succor became the instant intercessory for not only the Ursulines, but the entire city of New Orleans.

Statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in National Shrine

Years later a fire threatened the Ursuline monastery. In hopes that the fire would not take the monastery, one of the sisters took the statue to a window and offered up this prayer – “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost if you do not come to our aid.” Quickly, the wind changed direction turning the fire away from the monastery. After this happened, it became tradition, even among today’s residents of New Orleans, that when a hurricane is bearing down upon the city, they pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor did not only help the Ursuline Monastery with the fire, but she is credited with assisting the American army with the War of 1812. In the final days of the war, New Orleans had British troops marching upon it for an epic battle. The future President of the United States, then, General Andrew Jackson asked for the Ursuline Nuns to pray for him as well as the city of New Orleans. He needed prayers since the American soldiers were outnumbered. The Mother superior at the time had the statue moved to the Chapel and with many people of the city, the Ursuline Nuns began to pray for Our Lady’s intercession. Just as the battle started, it had ended, and with only seven American soldiers dying. General Jackson state, “The divine providence of God through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor has shielded us and granted us this stupendous miracle.”

The first Catholic Church in Sulfur, Louisiana, was a mission of the Immaculate Conception for twelve years before it was named a parish in the 1919 – it was then dedicated to Our Lady under the title that miraculously saved the city multiple times over. On June 13, 1928, the Holy See approved and confirmed Our Lady of Prompt Succor as the Patroness of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. For nearly 100 years, the people having been praying to Our Lady’s intercession at the parish in Sulfur, Louisiana.

To visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, please click here. To ask for Our Lady’s intercession through this title, please visit this website. There is also the prayer against hurricanes.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – The House of Mary in Ephesus

In the past, I have written on the Council of Ephesus as well as the Marian Dogma that was declared at that council, namely, Mary as the Theotokos (God-Bearer). Focusing on this theme, for the first “Mondays with Mary” of 2018, I want to briefly tell you about Mary’s House in Ephesus.

Although some claim that she never left Jerusalem or what we know as the Holy Land region, there are others who believed she lived in Ephesus at some point. She traveled there with St. John the Apostle when he went to preach the Gospel message, as did all the Apostles to different regions of the world at that time. Remember, Jesus gave Mary to St. John on the Cross as his own Mother. It was now his duty to care for her as a son would care for his mother. This also proves that Jesus did not have any other brothers and sisters, because if did, they would have cared for Mary, and not the Apostle John.

For many years, what is believed to be the House of Mary in Ephesus was not known, that’s until when the 19th century German nun, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, had visions of Mary living in the area around Ephesus. Following the descriptions from the apparitions in the book, The Life of Mary, a French priest, Julien Gouyet, in 1881, traveled to the area to locate the alleged home. Although he found ruins, he was told by his superiors back in France not tell anyone of his findings. However, the land was purchased by the French and preserved.

In 1891, ten years after the initial expedition, some French priests traveled to the area, with the Emmerich’s book in-hand to seek out the ruins of the house of Mary. With the blessing of the Bishop of Smyrna, the expedition continued and they located what was believed to the house of the Virgin Mary while she lived in Ephesus. Although the home is claimed to be in Ephesus, it’s actually on the Hill of Nightingales known as Koressos, near Ephesus.

The house is built in the Roman architecture style, composed of mainly stones. When it was discovered initially it was essentially ruins, but over the years, it has been rebuilt. The original two-stored house consisted of an anteroom, bedroom, prayer room, and a room with a fireplace. Today, only part of the structure is open to visitors. It also looks more like a church than a house. As you exit the church area, a place can be found called – “Water of Mary.” The salt water that comes from this spot is known to have powers of healing, and be drunk by all. In 1902, it was claimed that an apparition by Mary had occurred. Since that day, healings have happened on the site.

During the first year of the reign of Pope St. John Paul II, after visiting the site himself, the Polish Pope encouraged the Christian faithful to visit the shrine. Before John Paul II, many other Popes recognized and promoted the house of Mary, but many people outside of Rome had any idea it even existed.

Pope Leo XIII, after blessing and visiting the shrine in 1896 on pilgrimage, became a devout defender of the house of Mary.

In 1914, Pope St. Pius X granted permission for a plenary indulgence to visit the shrine.

In 1951, after the dogmatic declaration of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven Body and Soul, Blessed Pope Pius XII authenticated the previous plenary indulgence by Pope St. Pius X and declared the house of Mary in Ephesus a Holy Place.

In 1962, Pope St. John XXIII endorsed the same indulgence and that the house was a Holy Place.

In 1967, Blessed Pope Paul VI would visit the house of Mary in Ephesus. Since his visit and the visit of Pope St. John Paul II, the number of visitors to the shrine have increased. It has become a place of pilgrimage and devotion for many faithful Christians. Many people have also read the account for themselves by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and have visited the site.

On November 29 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine. Just over a year ago, on November 28, 2016, Pope Francis visited the house of Mary in Ephesus, just as his predecessors had done before him.

Sources:

Ephesus.us. “EPHESUS.” House of Virgin Mary, http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/houseofvirginmary.htm.

“House of Virgin Mary in Ephesus.” Ephesus Travel Guide, http://www.ephesustravelguide.com/house-of-virgin-mary.html.

“Library : Pope Encourages Pilgrimages To Mary’s House in Turkey.” Library : Pope Encourages Pilgrimages To Mary’s House in Turkey | Catholic Culture, http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3473.

275th “Mondays with Mary” 

“Mondays with Mary” – Seven Days before Christ was Born: What was Mary Expecting?

Historically, in the Liturgical Calendar, December 18 is the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although this feast is no longer officially in the liturgical calendar, faithful Catholics in the Latin Church still honor this day. The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the feast anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ on Christmas. In the Spanish Catholic Church, it is still a very popular feast. To read more about it, I encourage you to visit Catholic Encyclopedia – New Advent.

The writing of this blog article has become somewhat of a tradition for me as a writer. This is now the fourth edition of this particular topic and article. The reason I return to this each year is because I think it’s an important topic, and each year, I get new thoughts from different Mom’s. In the future, my fiancée, will be able to share with me her thoughts on what she was feeling one week before our first child was born.

Trying to determine what the Blessed Virgin Mary was anticipating one week before giving birth to Jesus is difficult since her thoughts have been not revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures. It’s pure speculation at this point. We know the account Saint Luke tells us in Chapter 2 of his Gospel, however, we don’t know much more than this part of the story.

As human beings, we might ask ourselves some questions about this time in the Blessed Mother’s life – was it difficult on Mary to be away from her family and her mother during this time? Even though the birth of Jesus was miraculous, as was his conception, what was Mary feeling? Did she know what was to occur? Was she ready for it? Did she think she would be a good mother? Was she fearful in any way? Did she really completely trust the will of God?

Knowing what we do know about the Blessed Virgin Mary, her own Immaculate Conception, and the Annunciation, tells us that she did completely put her trust in God, just as she had done nine months prior. Mary is the great sign of perfect faith and joy for us, all the time, but especially during the Season of Advent where we are called to wait and to hope.

Our Lady of Expectation

We may not know exactly what Mary was expecting one week before the birth of Christ, here are two testimonies from mothers sharing what they were feeling one week prior to having their child –

Monica said – “The week before my first child was born, I was ready! Ready and waiting, full of excitement and anticipation – and I was exhausted. I remember being so uncomfortable I couldn’t sleep. During the night, I would lay awake wondering about who he/she would be, and praying that child would be exactly what we needed in our live to help perfect and grow us into the people of God had intended us to be. Knowing that this child would be exactly who God had in mind for us gave me great peace and hope and joy, and a ready willingness to be this child’s mother. I also prayed that God would give me the grace to be the mother He intended for this child and I begged then as I beg now for the wisdom and strength to raise a child who will love God above all else and whose goal in life is heaven.”

Cathy said – “The experience for my first born was the polar opposite of the experience for my last 10. I was terrified for the first. My good friend had just had a baby and I saw her in labor. I also attended Bradley classes that I stopped going to because everyone spoke of their bad experiences. I was very excited during my whole pregnancy that I was going to have a baby but as labor approached, all I could think about was the pain I would have to get through. I spent a full day in the weeks leading up to the birth, in bed crying and terrified knowing that it was impossible to turn back. The baby could not stay inside of me forever. When labor finally started, I was still afraid. My was labor was longer than it should be been because I was holding back. Still afraid. My daughter was born and I was happy as can be but still could not understand how many women could do that more than once. I attribute most of that to having a very impersonal hospital and doctor experience.  

Everything was different for the next 10 children. The same friend who I saw in labor found a beautiful Filipino Doctor who went to daily mass in San Francisco. She and I both went to him for our second children and he was excellent. He was personable, funny, and he knew what he was doing. I was excited to have a baby and when labor started I found a crucifix that fit perfectly into my hand. It must have been belonged to a priest who lived in the rectory my husband and I lived in that year. The church had closed and we were housesitting. When I picked up the crucifix, tears welled up in my eyes and I was very excited.

In the hospital, the doctor came in and asked me if I drank jet fuel because the labor was so short. When he told me to push, I told him that I was afraid because my last labor was so long. He said simply said, “that won’t happen this time.” I trusted his confident reassuring words and my first son was born in one push. I looked at my husband in shock and then we both laughed because that was way too easy. I held the same crucifix for the next nine children and every experience was the same. I learned how debilitating fear is and how it makes much more sense to put my trust in God. He always takes care of us, just as He promised.”

If you are a mother, and you are open to sharing with us your experience, please do so in the comment box.

“Mondays with Mary” – History, Popes, and Prayers from Our Lady of Guadalupe

Since tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I thought I would share with you four articles that I have written in the past focusing on this great Marian celebration, but before I get to those, let me share some experiences I have had with this Marian shrine and title for Our Lady.

Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in my heart ever since I went on a pilgrimage to Mexico City when I was 17 years old. I had the chance to travel to Mexico with people from my parish at the time. It was great experience. I would love to return now knowing so much more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego.

When I was teaching high school theology during my first four years, I had an image, that I still have, that hung in my classroom each year. During the first two years, I planned prayer services that focused on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in my classroom. I was able to locate fake roses which we used to surround the image. See the picture below.

In recent years, I dedicated this website/blog to the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On the main page, you will see a picture of this Marian image. In my backyard, I also have a white stone statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She oversees the entire yard from her placement. I hope to put roses around the statute soon.

To continue to your reading about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would encourage you to check-out the aforementioned four articles below –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness 

2. 12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI and Our Lady of Guadalupe 

4. “Mondays with Mary” – Prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima  

Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us. 

10 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Today, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate one of the great solemnities associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This doctrine was declared dogmatic on December 8, 1854, by Blessed Pope Pius IX through an ex cathedra statement. For a full explanation of this dogma, I would encourage you to read my article, Special Friday Edition: “Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Conception: Explained.

Since you all know that I am a big Pope St. John Paul II fan, I thought I would focus today’s article on some of his quotes about this great Marian solemnity. Taken from a variety of his Angelus’ during his reign, here are 10 quotes from John Paul II on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception –

1. “The background for today’s solemnity is the biblical icon of the Annunciation, when the angel’s mysterious greeting resounded: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). “Full of grace”! Here is Mary, as God conceived of her and desired her in his inscrutable plan: a creature filled with divine love, all goodness, all beauty, all holiness.”

2. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sm 16:7). And Mary’s heart was fully disposed to the fulfilment of the divine will. This is why the Blessed Virgin is the model of Christian expectation and hope… In her heart there is no shade of selfishiness: she desires nothing for herself except God’s glory and human salvation. For her, the very privilege of being preserved from original sin is not a reason to boast, but one for total service to her Son’s redemptive mission.”

3. “This important Marian feast occurs during Advent, a season of watchful and prayerful preparation for Christmas. She who knew better than anyone how to wait attentively for the Lord guides us and shows us how to make more vital and active our journey to the Holy Night of Bethlehem. With her, we spend these weeks in prayer and, guided by her bright star, hasten to make the spiritual journey that will lead us to celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation with greater intensity.”

4. “What happened to Mary turns our attention to Jesus Christ, the only Mediator of salvation, and helps us to see life as a loving plan with which we must cooperate responsibly. Mary is not only a model of the call, but also of the response. Indeed, she said “yes” to God at the beginning and at every successive moment of her life, fully complying with his will, even when she found it obscure and hard to accept.”

Immaculate Conception – Bartolomeo Murillo

5. “Today we contemplate the humble girl of Nazareth who, by an extraordinary and ineffable privilege, was preserved from the contagion of original sin and from every fault, so that she could be a worthy dwelling-place for the Incarnate Word. In Mary, the New Eve, Mother of the New Adam, the Father’s original, wondrous plan of love was re-established in an even more wondrous way. Therefore the Church gratefully acclaims:  “Through you, immaculate Virgin, the life we had lost was returned to us. You received a child from heaven, and brought forth to the world a Saviour” (Liturgy of the Hours, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, Benedictus Antiphon).”

6. “The Immaculate Virgin however invites us not to fix our eyes on her but to pass beyond, and as much as possible, to enter into the mystery in which she was conceived: the mystery of God who is One and Three, full of grace and fidelity. As the moon shines with the light of the sun, so the immaculate splendour of Mary is totally relative to that of the Redeemer. The Mother leads us to her Son; passing through her, we reach Christ. For this reason, Dante Allighieri notes fittingly: “that her radiance alone can dispose you to see Christ”.

7. “Mary was pleasing to God because of her docile humility. To the heavenly messenger, she replied, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1,38). It is with the same interior disposition that believers are called to accept the divine will in every circumstance.”

8. “Today the Church is celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If Christ is the day that never fades, Mary is its dawn, shining with beauty. Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt.”

9. “The Immaculate Conception shines like a beacon of light for humanity in all the ages. At the beginning of the third millennium, it guides us to believe and hope in God, in his salvation and in eternal life. In particular, it lights the way of the Church, which is committed to the new evangelization.”

10. “Hail, full of grace. What do these words mean? The Evangelist Luke writes that Mary (Miriam), at these words spoken by the Angel, “was greatly troubled…, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29). These words express a singular election. Grace means a particular fullness of creation through which the being, who resembles God, participates in God’s own interior life. Grace means love and the gift of God himself, the completely free gift (“given gratuitously”) in which God entrusts to man his Mystery, giving him, at the same time, the capacity of being able to bear witness to the Mystery, of filling with it his human being, his life, his thoughts, his will and his heart.”

Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception…Pray for Us

Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Praying with Mary during Advent

Before I get into the topic for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I want to share with all of you some monumental news when it comes to my writing. Today’s article is the 800th post I have written on TomPerna.org. I hope that my father is smiling down from eternity today since it was he who first encouraged me to start writing. In a month and a half, I will celebrate the 6th anniversary of this website/blog. Thank you to all my readers, followers, and supporters. Your prayers have been very helpful.

 Now that we have entered the Season of Advent, a season of anticipation, hope, and rejoicing, I wanted to share with you a great way to pray with Mary every night during this season. I didn’t realize the importance of this prayer until I heard it last night at our monthly Latin Novus Ordo Mass and then read about it this morning. I have mentioned it briefly in passing in previous posts and it has been listed among Catholic hymns when I wrote about Sacred Music, but I have never written on the prayer itself. The prayer I speak of is the Alma Redemptoris Mater.

In his encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, Pope St. John Paul II opens the document with these words about Mary –

“The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for “when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'” (Gal. 4:4-6).”

In God’s divine economy, even with the Fall of Adam and Eve, God always had a plan to save us, and just as a man and woman caused our great fall of grace, so too would a man and a woman reverse that fall from grace and establish a new covenant with all of humanity. Even on the first day of the disaster in Genesis, God promised us a Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ and the woman is Mary, the Dear Mother of the Redeemer. Her role in salvation history is unparalleled. Without her, we don’t get Jesus Christ.

The Alma Redemptoris Mater is one of the four antiphons associated with Mary, along with verses and prayers that follow. It is said or sung traditionally after night prayer, just before ones goes to sleep. The prayer is said from the beginning of Advent (from the night before the Fourth Sunday of Christmas) through February 1, leading us right into Candlemas. Below is the English translation. If you would like to say it or sing it in Latin, you can find it here.

O Loving Mother of our Redeemer

O loving Mother of our Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea,
Hasten to aid thy fallen people who strive to rise once more.
Thou who brought forth thy holy Creator, all creation wond’ring,
Yet remainest ever Virgin, taking from Gabriel’s lips
that joyful “Hail!”: be merciful to us sinners.

Up through the day before Christmas Eve:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Christmas Eve on:

Thou gavest birth without loss of thy virginity:
R. Intercede for us, O holy Mother of God.

Let us pray. O God, who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary hast offered unto the human race the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may know the effects of her intercession, through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen.

I would encourage you all to pray this wonderful prayer during the Season of Advent. Praying with Mary through this season and into Christmas will only benefit us more and help us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

O Holy Mother of the Redeemer…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – St. Teresa of Calcutta and The Miraculous Medal

Famously known as Mother Teresa, St. Teresa of Calcutta in her many years of worldwide missionary work with the poor was often seen with a Miraculous Medal in her hands. At times, she would pass out handfuls to priests who would meet with her. It didn’t matter who you were – young, old, dying, or healthy, if you came into a contact with Mother Teresa, there is a chance you received a medal.

During one of her last public appearances, just three months before her death in 1997 while visiting the South Bronx in New York, she held tightly to a basket full of these medals on her lap. As she gave large sums of them away, her sisters just kept on replenishing the basket. She loved this tiny sacramental. She said it’s one of the best tools to spread the Gospel message of love to the world.

She was so devoted to the Miraculous Medal that St. Teresa of Calcutta could be seen as the primary advocate during the second half of 20th century for this medal (St. Maximillian Kolbe is the first half).  Just like Kolbe, St. Teresa understand that the medal was more than just an object. It was sign of the Gospel’s message of love because the medal taught about Jesus Christ, His Church, Redemption, the Eucharist, Divine Mercy, original sin, grace, Mary, and the Last Things.

The Saint of Calcutta knew the importance of having Mary as Our Mother. She would often pray with the sick while holding this medal as well as press it against the person who was sick showing the importance of acknowledging Mary as Mother. Often, she would press the medal on the person’s body where the pain originated. The Miraculous Medal for St. Teresa of Calcutta was a medal of charity – a symbol of God’s love for all people, most especially the every now moment of our lives.

The Miraculous Medal or the Medal of the Immaculate Conception begins with the Apparitions of Rue du Bac in Paris, France at the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity. In the year 1830, St. Catherine Laboure received three apparitions –

  1. The “Virgin of the Chair” (July 18, 1830)
  2. the “Virgin of the Globe” (November 27, 1830);
  3. “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” (November 27, 1830)

On the night of July 18, 1830, St. Catherine was awakened by an angel disguised as a small child and was led to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. Catherine would recollect hearing the rustling of a silk dress just before seeing the Blessed Virgin seating in the director’s chair in the sanctuary. As Catherine approached the Blessed Virgin, after a time of hesitation, the Virgin said to her: “My child, the good God wishes to charge you with a mission.”

The Virgin Mary would explain to her all the things that would occur to her personally, the events and suffering that would happen in France, and the major events that were coming to the entire world. The Virgin Mary said,

“You will be in anguish until you have told them who is charged with directing you…tell it with simplicity. Have Confidence. Do not be afraid. The times are very evil. Sorrows will come to France…the whole world will be upset by miseries of every kind…graces will be especially shed upon those who ask for them.”

The Virgin Mary also told Catherine that the Vincentian Fathers and Daughters of Charity were in need of much reform. She said that a new community would develop from the Daughters of Charity. This came to fruition when St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Sisters in Emmitsburg, Maryland would eventually join the Paris community.

As she wept, the Virgin Mary told Catherine of the great dangers that would come to France and the world. Nine days after this first apparition, there was a revolution in Paris by Charles X to reestablish the “divine right” to the Bourbon monarchy. However, he was trampled upon in the “Three Glorious Days” where monarchists, merchants, and radical anarchists attacked the Church by beating, killing, and imprisoning priests and religious. They burned churches and pulled down statues and crosses. The Archbishop was force to flee for his life. The apparition prophecy of nine days earlier came to pass.

On November 27, 1830, the visions of the “Virgin of the Globe” and the “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” both occurred. The “Virgin of the Globe” is where the Virgin Mary is holding a golden ball in her hands and offering it up to God. This golden ball represents the Earth, but especially France and all people. After this vision, St. Catherine then saw another vision.

At this moment in the apparition, an oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin. Surrounding the oval frame were the words – “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

The Virgin then said, “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”

The vision then turned around and Catherine viewed the back of the medal. This image was shown to her seven times before the medal was struck.

These symbols from the vision are enriched with deep Marian theology and importance. On the front of the medal, we see Our Lady outstretched and rays coming from her hands. She is also crushing the head of the serpent. The crushing of the head of the serpent is the image we have from Genesis 3:15 (known as the Protoevangelium – first gospel) – “She will crush your head.”

The rays of light flowing from her hands represent her as Mediatrix of all graces. In prayer, she is our universal Advocate – “pray for us who have recourse to thee.” She offers our prayers to the Heavenly Father (as Queen Mother brings the petitions to the King).

The doctrine (and eventual dogma – December 8, 1854 by Bl. Pius IX) of the Immaculate Conception is revealed here – “O Mary, conceived without sin…” The medal was known first as the “Medal of the Immaculate Conception” but because it invoked so many miracles, it became known as the “Miraculous Medal.”

On the backside of the medal, we see the “M” connected to the cross with the crossbeam. This represents Mary’s Co-Redemption with her son and her role as Co-Redemptrix but always subordinate to Him (Jn 19:25-27). Mary is able to crush the head of the serpent by the power of Our Lord, not with her own power.

The two hearts on the bottom of the medal (Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus) define the whole age of Mary and the motif of the Marian messages to the modern world. The hearts of Mary and Jesus would be developed in the message of Fatima. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart leads to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The twelve stars on the back of the medal represent Mary’s universal Queenship (Rev 12:1), she is also the mother of the male child (Rev 12:5), and the mother of the “rest of her offspring” (Rev 12:7). She is our Queen Mother (1 Kings 2:19-21). The twelve stars also represent the twelve apostles who fulfill the twelve tribes of Israel. Mary is also known in the Tradition of the Church as the Queen of the Apostles.

The first medals were struck in 1832 under the permission of the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor de Quelen. In 1836, the Church investigated the apparition as well as the miracles attributed to the medal and said that there was a supernatural authenticity. In 1842, due to the conversion of a famous European Jewish figure, the Church declared the Miraculous Medal devotion approved. It is believed that the Miraculous Medal was the defining factor in promulgation of the Immaculate Conception being declared dogmatic on December 8, 1854 by Bl. Pius IX.

Sr. Catherine Laboure passed into Eternal Glory in 1876. Fifty-seven years after her death, while her cause for Canonization was occurring, her body was exhumed and was found incorrupt. On July 27, 1947, Pope Pius XII canonized St. Catherine of Laboure a Saint of the Catholic Church. The Miraculous Medal is worn by thousands of Catholics on a daily basis.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…Pray for Us

St. Catherine Laboure…Pray for Us

Source: 

McCurry , Fr. James. “Mother Teresa and the Miraculous Medal.” Mother of All Peoples, 21 Feb. 2012, http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2004/09/mother-teresa-and-the-miraculous-medal/.