It was on this night in 1830 that St. Catherine Labouré received her second vision of our Lady, the vision that would come to be known as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
Clothed from head to foot in beautiful garments of white silk, the Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine, a young novice of the Sisters of Charity in Paris, France. In her hands, Mary held a golden ball adorned with a cross. A voice told Catherine that the ball represented the whole world and each of the people in it. On each of Mary's fingers appeared three rings from which great rays of light eminated. The Mother of our Lord herself stood on a white globe with a greenish serpent beneath her feet.
Catherine recounted that an oval frame appeared around the image of Mary and in letters of gold, these words appeared: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
The same voice also told Catherine to have a medal cast depicting this image and that all who wear the medal will receive great graces should it be worn about their neck. Another image was revealed showing the letter "M" surmounted by a bar and a cross and bearing beneath it the hearts of both Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns and the other pierced by a sword.
Catherine told no one of these visions except her confessor, a young priest. At first skeptical, his heart was soon moved to request permission of his archbishop to have the medal crafted. Fifteen hundred medals were originally minted in 1832, but within four years, more than two million varieties of the medal existed and the devotion had spread to all parts of the world. Hence, the name the "Miraculous Medal." Miraculous works have also been attributed to the beautiful medal including cures of insanity, tuberculosis, epilepsy, paralysis, fractures, fevers, and other ailments.
In a written record of the young priest-confessor of St. Catherine, a recounting of miraculous conversions of hardened sinners, Protestants, Jews, atheists, evil-doers and lukewarm souls have been recorded.
To this day, it is not known how many millions of Miraculous Medals have been distributed throughout the world.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, we unite ourselves to you under your title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. May this medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your motherly affection for us and a constant reminder of our filial duties towards you. While wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your Son. Most powerful Virgin, Mother of our Savior, keep us close to you every moment of our lives so that like you we may live and act according to the teaching and example of your Son. Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death so that in union with you we may enjoy the happiness of heaven forever. Amen.