Designed and revealed by Mary, the Medal is unique among all medals.
It was almost midnight when St. Catherine Labouré was awakened by a soft voice, whispering, “Sister, sister, sister.” Mysterious events led her to the chapel where the Blessed Mother appeared and sat down near the altar. St. Catherine knelt at her feet, rested her hands in Mary’s lap, looked into her eyes, and had a heart-to-heart conversation with her. Later, St. Catherine would refer to that night as “the sweetest moment of my life.”
Four months later, in November of 1830, Mary again appeared to St. Catherine at the Rue de Bac Chapel. This time, our Blessed Mother was standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the apparition was an inscription: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” When Mary spoke to St. Catherine, she said “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be, in a special manner, under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.”
With approval of the Catholic Church, the first medals were made in 1832 and distributed in Paris. Only ten of the original medals are known to exist, and one of them is housed at the Miraculous Medal Shrine.
Almost immediately, the blessings that Mary promised showered down on those who wore her medal, and soon all of France was clamoring for what the people referred to as the “Miraculous Medal.” Use of the Medal spread from country to country, and, at the time of St. Catherine’s death in 1876, more than a billion medals had been made. Today, the Medal is still drawing down from God blessings for body and soul.