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Miraculous Medal Gift From Mary

Beginning with a vision of Mary, seen by a novice in the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, in Paris in 1830, Miraculous Medals were born. The novice, Catherine Laboure, was told by Mary in the vision to ask her father confessor to make medals with this image imprinted on them and promised that whoever wore them would “receive great graces”.  The image was of Mary with a sacred heart of Jesus crowned in thorns and Mary’s heart pierces with a sword. Rays of light were around her. After two years, it took that long to convince the father confessor, the medals were made and people who wore it reported miracles. By word of mouth the medals became popular and are still worn today.


Miraculous Medals are famous for conversions to Catholicism. The most famous one is of Alphonse Ratisbonne of Strasburg. A Jew, he did not want to enter a Church, but was convinced to wear the medal. Once in Rome, he entered the church of St. Andrea delle Fratte, only by chance, and immediately had a vision of Mary in the exact pose of the Miraculous Medal. He converted to Catholicism immediately. 


Another miracle associated with the medal came to a priest who didn’t believe in the miracles of the Miraculous Medals. He was in a hospital blessing the Catholic patients when he came across a boy in a coma who would most likely not recover from his head injuries. At that point the priest, who knew about the application of the medal because he was asked to learn by his superiors, put the medal on the boy in the prescribed way and immediately the boy opened his eyes. He saw his mother standing by the bed and asked her for some ice cream. Later, the doctors tested him and the damage, which had been seen before, was gone.


Miraculous medals show Mary standing on a globe with her foot on the head of a serpent which symbolized Satan having no power in front of her. The back of the medal was also seen by Catherine during her vision and there were twelve stars surrounding the letter M with two hearts underneath, representing Mary and Jesus. This is to show that the twelve apostles, which mean the whole Church, are built around Mary.


Miraculous Medals symbolize everything that is important about Catholicism. Even though people attribute miracles to the medal, it is not considered a lucky charm or superstition. It is also not a sacrament but a reminder of the qualities needed to be a good Christian; patience, faith, forgiveness and repentance. The Miraculous Medal is one of the four medals on the four way cross medal. This is to symbolize that worship of Mary is not separate from worship of the saints. In her vision Catherine was told my Mary that everyone on earth should wear this medal. Because of that, there are many places that give it away for free. Catherine became St. Catherine Laboure in 1947.

This article was published on Wednesday 03 February, 2010.

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  • Back to main topic: Miraculous Medals
    History of Gold Miraculous Medals
    Medal Use in the Early Church And Today
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