In 1830, Catherine Laboure was blessed with the apparitions of Mary Immaculate to which we owe the Miraculous Medal. The first apparition came on the eve of the feast of St. Vincent DePaul, July 19. The mother superior had given each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder’s surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to St. Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God.
“About half-past eleven, I heard someone call my name. I looked in the direction of the voice and I drew the curtain. I saw a child of four or five years old dressed in white who said to me: ‘Come to the Chapel. The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.’ “Immediately the thought came to me that I will be heard. The child replied, ‘Be calm, it is half-past eleven, everyone is asleep. Come, I am waiting for you.’”
“I hurriedly dressed and went to the side of the child. I followed him wherever he went. The lights were lit everywhere. When we reached the chapel, the door opened as soon as the child touched it with the tip of his finger. The candles were burning as at Midnight Mass. However, I did not see the Blessed Virgin. The child led me to the sanctuary and I knelt down there. Towards, midnight, the child said:
“Here is the Blessed Virgin.” I heard a noise like a rustle of a silk dress — a very beautiful lady, in a blaze of glory, sat down in Father’s Director’s chair. The child repeated in a strong voice: ‘Here is the Blessed Virgin.’ Then I flung myself at her feet on the steps of the altar and put my hands on her knees.”
The Blessed Virgin put her arms around her as she said: “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the graces to bear it. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Misfortunes will fall upon France; the entire world will be overcome by evils of all kinds … but …
“Come to the foot of this altar; there, graces will be poured on all those who ask for them with confidence, and fervor. They will be poured out on the great and the humble ….”
Catherine’s mission was not revealed to her until November 27, 1830, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to her and this time gave her the design of the medal she wished to have made and the prayer she would have her children say to her:
“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”
Catherine was instructed by Our Lady to go to her spiritual director, Father Aladel, about the apparitions. He did not believe Catherine. She approached Father Aladel about the medal three times. Catherine shared her dismay with the Virgin Mary.
Our Lady said to her: “He is my servant, and he should be frightened of displeasing me.” Catherine shared this with Father Aladel, “The Virgin is angry.” These words deeply affected him and tormented him.
After two years, Father Aladel approached Archbishop de Quelen of Paris with the events that had taken place at Rue du Bac. He said the medal was in complete conformity with the church’s doctrine. The medal was approved and millions of medals were distributed while the people came to the convent for the “miracle medal” as we know as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented miracles, cures, conversions and protection attributed to our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
As Our Lady predicted, Catherine Laboure would suffer much, and be contradicted. This was clearly seen throughout her life with her fellow sisters and church authorities as Catherine tried to carry out two more requests for Our Lady’s plan of conversion launched with the Miraculous Medal.
The Blessed Mother’s second request was to open the chapel for pilgrimages. Catherine’s superiors refused. Twenty-eight years passed and Our Lady decided to go somewhere else. That place was Lourdes! Miracles, conversions, cures, abounded.
“Catherine knew more about the apparitions than those who actually made this pilgrimage,” her superior would write.
According to Sister Tranchemer, her companion, Catherine said, “You know, these miracles could have happened in our chapel. Saying the same to Sr. Millon: “If the superiors had wanted it, the Blessed Virgin would have chosen our chapel.”
A third request was made by Our Lady to Catherine: to build a monumental cross in Paris. It would be called the Cross of Victory. It would be the object of much veneration. People would come from all over the world for devotion and pilgrimages. Again, Catherine tried in vain to fulfill the Immaculate Virgin’s request. And again, the request was denied. To this day, the cross was never built.
Catherine Laboure encouraged Our Lady to go elsewhere writing in her own words: “My kind Mother, here no one wants to do what you want; manifest yourself somewhere else.”
Perhaps the Cross in Medjugorje that was built on Mt. Krizevac in 1933 in honor of the 1900th anniversary of Our Lord’s death fulfilled her request. Millions of pilgrims go to climb and pray, petition, glorify and praise the good God.
Our Lady of Medjugorje said this about the cross on Mt. Krizevac: “I love the cross which you have providentially erected on Mount Krizevac in a very special way. Go there more often and pray.”(8/31/84) We also see the prominent display of the cross on the back of the Miraculous Medal.
The torture and agony of Catherine not being listened to her was “the martyrdom of my life,” she would say. However, she overcame all this knowing that what she did was for the glory of God.
We have an awesome and unique opportunity to continue to answer Our Lady’s special call and request to evangelize and spread the message of the “miracle medal” and save souls through her message, in Medjugorje, regarding this medal.
On November 27, 1989, at a 10 p.m. meeting of the prayer group at the Blue Cross in Medjugorje, she gave this message to the visionary, Marija:
“Today is the feast day of the miraculous medal, and I want that you pray, in a special way, for the salvation of those people who are carrying this miraculous medal. I want you to spread the devotion and the carrying of this medal, so that more souls may be saved, and that you pray in a special way.”
Our Lady invites us to respond to her calls. This particular message is a chance to take on a mission to help her save souls that will not interfere with our duties in life. Answer her call, and spread the devotion of the Miraculous Medal. When you visit the sick, or are chatting with someone in a waiting room, or even shopping you have an opportunity to give someone a medal. In many cases, it is an answer to a prayer. “Those who wear or carry this medal, will receive great graces,” Our Lady promises. Many pin or sew it to their scapular.
Put them in your homes, apartment buildings, hospitals, places of work, cars, and even in your children’s backpacks. I had surgery and the surgeon and surgical team put the medals in their scrub pockets. Our Lady was walking through that hospital.
This medal is a message of faith, hope and charity. It speaks to us of the love of God for us. He bestows infinite graces on us. God expects from us, in return, that in this hi-tech world we must never lose sight of the supernatural destiny of mankind. It contains a resume of the faith within the reach of everyone — a spiritual audio-visual aid — provided that it is worn and distributed, not as a lucky charm, but with faith, love, and confidence.
Remember to offer and arrange Gregorian Masses in your Will. Visit www.pusj.org
Susan Tassone is an award- winning author of 15 best-sellers, including New Friends Now and Forever: A Story about the Holy Souls, Day by Day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls, The Rosary for the Holy Souls, The Way of the Cross for the Holy Souls and more. She shares her passion for saving souls through speaking engagements, on national radio and television programs, and other media platforms. Visit susantassone.com