“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/.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Nanteuil (France)

In light of the recent attacks in Paris, France, I felt that need to write about a Marian devotion that focused specifically on Our Lady in France. Although today’s “Mondays with Mary” is not as popular as Our Lady of Lourdes or the Miraculous Medal, Our Lady of Nanteuil is one the oldest shrines in the country going back to the late 1st century.

Tradition tells us that the first Christians in the area found a statue on the branch of an oak tree. Because it seemed to be an odd place, they removed the statue from the branch and put it on a wall close to a fountain. Impressed with their discovery of the Marian statue, they went to call their neighbors to show them.

After gathering their neighbors, they found out that the statue was not where they had put it, and hoped that nobody took it away. Some time later, the statue was found again in the original place the Christians found it – on the branch of the oak tree. They took this as a sign that Our Lady did not want the statue to be moved. Constructed around the oak tree, the first chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Nanteuil was built. In the twelfth century, a parish church was built to replace the very old chapel.

Although France would endure many struggles, the religious battles in the 16th century, and most tragically, the French Revolution, Our Lady of Nanteuil was nearly undisturbed. The one change that was noticeable on the statue at the time of the French Revolution was that the smiling face had now become a sad face. Some people even claimed to see tears coming from the eyes and rolling down the cheeks of the statue.

During the Revolution, a woman tied a rope around the neck of the statue and pulled it to the ground. The body broke apart but the head remain intact. Another woman looking for more loot threw the head aside. She was instantly punished with death.

Our Lady of Nanteuil Shrine

A good woman took the remains of the head and hid it until the French Revolution had ceased. At this time a new body was constructed and the original head was placed on top creating a new statue.

There are many miracles attributed to Our Lady of Nanteuil, but the one that is often recorded is of the little crippled boy. After three pilgrimages to the shrine, where his mother carried him from their home to their shrine and back again, the boy after the third trip was miraculously healed. Upon returning home, he was healthy and no longer crippled. The shrine gained a reputation of healing the sick, especially the illnesses of children.

Although many in France frequented the shrine, it was a favorite place to pilgrimage for King Louis XI, Venerable Olier, and Benedict Joseph Labre.

This week let us ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title and the many other titles she has given to us to protect all citizens of nations that come under harms way due to terrorism. Also pray for the repose of the souls of those who were killed on Friday night as well as their families who are enduring this great trial and suffering at this time. Let us also remember the souls of those who were killed in Beirut, Lebanon.

Our Lady of Nanteuil…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…Pray for Us.

Source:

Roman Catholic Saints (http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com)

“Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Heart of Mary

This past Saturday was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It’s a devotion similar to the Sacred Heart of Jesus but with less fervor. However, St. John Eudes, who is also a “Saint of the Sacred Heart”, helped popularize this devotion during his time.

Miraculous MedalIt became very popular after the apparitions at Rue du Bac where St. Catherine Labouré had visions of the Blessed Mother. The devotion to the “Miraculous Medal” developed from this same apparition. A society loyal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary began in Paris during the year of 1836 at the Church of Our Lady of Victories.

To learn more about the Immaculate Heart of Mary, please read from last year – “Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Mother and Pope Benedict XVI. To learn more about the “Miraculous Medal”, please read – “Mondays with Mary – The Miraculous Medal.”

As we saw with Pope Francis on Day 1 of his Papacy, he has a strong devotion just as his Pope Francis kneeling at St. Mary Majorpredecessors did to the Blessed Mother of God. On Saturday in Rome, Pope Francis said the following about Mary, pondering the Word of God, and using our memory to remember the Word of God:

“Keeping the Word of God: what does this mean? Do I receive the Word, and then take a bottle and put the word into the bottle and keep it there? No. Keeping the Word of God means that our heart opens, it is open to that Word just like the earth opens to receive the seed. The Word of God is a seed and is sown. And Jesus told us what happens with the seeds: some fall along the path, and the birds come and eat them; this Word is not kept, these hearts do not know how to receive it”.

“John Paul II said that, because of this work, Mary had a particular heaviness in her heart, she had a fatigued heart. But this is not the same as tired, it is fatigue, this comes from effort. This is the effort of keeping the Word of God: the work of trying to find out what this means at this moment, what the Lord wants to say to me at this time, this situation of questioning the [meaning of] the Word of God is how we understand. This is reading our life with the Word of God and this is what it means to keep it in our hearts”.

“We would do well to ask ourselves: ‘With the things that happen in life, I ask myself the question: what is the Lord saying to me with His Word, right now?’. This is called keeping the Word of God, because the Word of God is precisely the message that the Lord gives us in every moment. Let us safeguard it with this: safeguard it with our memory. And safeguard it with our hope. We ask the Lord for the grace to receive the Word of God and keep it, and also the grace to have a heart that is fatigued in this effort. So be it”.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

 Let us ask Mary to help us ponder the Word of God in our hearts as she kept all her experiences of the Word Made Flesh in her heart. For further prayer, please learn the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Miraculous Medal

Recently, I visited our family’s safe deposit box to acquire a document that I needed. While looking for the document, I came upon old medals and rings that were given to me as a child during different sacramental occasions. These different medals made me think of the importance of sacramentals in the Church and today I wanted to write on the Miraculous Medal. I wore the Miraculous Medal as a child for some time. Now I wear a Brown Scapular.

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, Sr. Catherine Laboure (now St. Catherine Laboure), received three apparitions – 1. The “Virgin of the Chair” (July 18, 1830); 2. the “Virgin of the Globe” (November 27, 1830); and 3. “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” (November 27, 1830).

On the night of July 18, 1830, Sr. 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. Sr. 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 Sr. 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 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 Sr. Catherine that the Vincentian Fathers and Daughters of Charity were in need of much reform (see LCWR supporters – reform has happened many times in church history). 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, MD would eventually join the Paris community.

As she wept, the Virgin Mary told Sr. 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” would both occur. 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, Sr. Catherine then saw this 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 Sr. Catherine viewed the back of the medal. This image was shown to Sr. Catherine seven times before the medal was struck. Below is that image:

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 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 died 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.

The Miraculous Medal is worn by thousands of Catholics on a daily basis. This great medal and the apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure show the importance of many Marian doctrines and dogmas – most notably her Immaculate Conception, Co-Redemption, and Mediatrix of all graces.