immaculate conception

The Immaculate Conception Medal, known now as the Miraculous Medal, was manifested to Saint Catherine Laboure on November 27, 1830. The saint described the medal with these words:

“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.” Unable to express, nor understand, what she saw, Catherine heard an interior voice: “These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forgot to ask.” An oval flame formed around the Blessed Virgin, and within it in letters of gold Catherine read the words: O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray For Us Who Have Recourse To You. The voice spoke again: “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.”

Catherine continued: “…The tableau seemed to turn, and I beheld the reverse 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 WIYHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO YOU. The rays of light from her hands symbolize the graces which she is only too eager to bestow upon those who wear the Medal and pray to her.

St. Catherine was pressed by her confessor to ask Mary what should be inscribed on the back side of the medal. Mary’s response was “The M and the two hearts express enough.” The Medal was first made according to Our Lady’s design just two years after the first apparition. It was freely circulated and in a short time was worn by millions. In its wake followed innumerable wonders. Health was restored, sickness banished, blessing bestowed. Because of all of these wonders and cures, the medal simply became known as the Miraculous Medal.

Novena comes from the Latin word ‘novem‘ meaning ‘nine’. A novena is a traditional Catholic devotion consisting of prayers prayed publicly or privately for a special intention, and usually on nine consecutive days. One does not have to be Catholic to pray a novena. All who desire to become closer to our Lord are welcome to experience the many blessings this special form of prayer can bestow. Novenas are often prayed when a time in our life is especially difficult, or at any other time one is seeking special graces, guidance or intercession.

Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions. Click here, “Novena of the Miraculous Medal” to view and pray the Novena.