Miraculous Medal

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Miraculous Medal
Miraculous medal.jpg
The Miraculous Medal design was executed by Adrien Vachette based on Saint Catherine Labouré visions.
Location Paris, France
Date 19 July 1830
27 November 1830
Witness Saint Catherine Labouré
Type Marian apparition
Holy See approval 1895, during the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII
Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Paris, France
Patronage Special graces, architects, miners, prisoners

The Miraculous Medal (French: Médaille miraculeuse), also known as the Medal of Our Lady of Graces, is a medal, the design of which was originated by Saint Catherine Labouré following her apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary[1][2] in Rue du Bac, Paris, France, and made by goldsmith Adrien Vachette.

According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the use of sacramentals such as this medal[3] prepare people to receive grace and dispose them to cooperate with it.[4]


Catherine Labouré stated that on 19 July 1830, the eve of the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, she woke up after hearing the voice of one child calling her to the chapel, where she heard the Virgin Mary say to her, "God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world."[5]

On 27 November 1830 Catherine reported that the Blessed Mother returned during evening meditations. She displayed herself inside an oval frame, standing upon a globe. She wore many rings set with gems[6] that shone rays of light over the globe. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words Ô Marie, conçue sans péché, priez pour nous qui avons recours à vous ("O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"). As Catherine watched, the frame seemed to rotate, showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the stylized Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. Asked why some of the gems did not shed light, Mary reportedly replied, "Those are the graces for which people forget to ask." Sister Catherine then heard the Virgin Mary ask her to take these images to her father confessor, telling him that they should be put on medallions, and saying "All who wear them will receive great graces."[7]

Sister Catherine did so, and after two years of investigation and observation of Catherine's ordinary daily behavior, the priest took the information to his archbishop without revealing Catherine's identity. The request was approved and medallions were designed and produced through goldsmith Adrien Vachette.[8][9]

The chapel in which Saint Catherine experienced her visions is located at the mother house of the Daughters of Charity in Rue du Bac, Paris.[10] The incorrupt bodies of Saint Catherine Labouré and Saint Louise de Marillac, a co-founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, are interred in the chapel, which continues to receive daily visits from Catholic pilgrims today.

Pope John Paul II used a slight variation of the reverse image as his coat of arms, the Marian Cross, a plain cross with an M underneath the right-hand bar (which signified the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified).

Properties of the medal

According to the verbal process of the investigation on 16 February 1836, the medal is assumed to be oval in shape. It also bears the words, "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"; these start at Mary's right hand, continue over her head, and end at her left hand.[11]

According to an account written by Sister Catherine's own hand, Mary was clothed in a robe of auroral light and her robe had a high neck and plain sleeves. According to Catherine's notes, the medal should also have half a globe upon which Mary's feet rest, hands raised up to her waist, fingers giving off rays of light, and a frame slightly oval with golden letters saying, "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" [11]

See also


  1. ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X p. 356
  2. ^ Mark Miravalle, 1993, Introduction to Mary ISBN 978-1-882972-06-7, pp. 190-191
  3. ^ "CCC, 1674". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  4. ^ "CCC, 1670". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  5. ^ Dirvin, C.M., Joseph I. (1958). Saint Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal. Tan Books & Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-89555-242-6.
  6. ^ " I saw rings on her fingers, three rings to each finger, the largest one near the base of the finger, one of medium size in the middle, the smallest one at the tip. Each ring was set with gems, some more beautiful than others..." Catherine Labouré, quoted in John Delaney, A Woman Clothed With The Sun, Doubleday, 1960, p. 77.
  7. ^ Glass, Joseph. "Miraculous Medal." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 20 Dec. 2012
  8. ^ McMenamin, M. 2010. Precisely dated early versions of the Miraculous Medal. Numismatics International Bulletin, v. 45, nos. 3/4, p. 43-48.
  9. ^ Mack, John (2003). The museum of the mind: art and memory in world cultures. British Museum.
  10. ^ Mauriello, Rev. Matthew R. (1996). "The Miraculous Medal". Fairfield County Catholic. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b Aladel, M. (1999). The Miraculous Medal. Albany, New York: Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. pp. 49–51.


  • Alma Power-Waters, 2000, St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal, Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-0-89870-765-6
  • Saint Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal, by Joseph I Dirvin, CM, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc, 1958/84. ISBN 0-89555-242-6
  • Association of the Miraculous Medal
  • Rene Laurentin, Catherine Laboure: Visionary of the Miraculous Medal, Pauline books and Media, Boston, 2006, ISBN 0-8198-1578-0.

External links

  • Chapel of the Miraculous Medal – the site of the visitations and the resting place of Saint Catherine
  • The Miraculous Medal – free distribution of the Miraculous Medal in the world

Coordinates: 48°51′04″N 2°19′26″E / 48.850974°N 2.323770°E / 48.850974; 2.323770

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