Years ago, while studying abroad, I took a whirlwind of a weekend trip to Paris with some friends. In three days we saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Coeur, and Notre Dame. We ate a ton of delicious food, skipped through the snow-covered streets, and had our first and last hitch-hiking experience. But there was one memory that will even out last the others in my mind-Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse-the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The little chapel, decked in blue and gold, was warm and inviting in the below freezing temperatures. I felt as though I was enveloped in an embrace by my Heavenly Mother, and I thought of the nun who had experienced this feeling in the chapel before.
In 1830, Saint Catherine Labouré, a Daughter of Charity nun, was woken in the night by a beautiful child bringing this message: “Sister Labouré, come to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.” The nun arrived at the chapel and found it ablaze with lights. Kneeling at the communion rail, she heard rustling silk and looked up to see the Blessed Virgin Mary sitting in a chair. Catherine approached the figure, knelt, and rested her hands in the Virgin’s lap. Mary spoke to Catherine about the mission God was charging her with and promised that “Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them.”
Four months later, Catherine received another vision. Here are Catherine’s words describing the account: “I perceived the Blessed Virgin standing near St. Joseph's picture. Her height was medium and Her countenance, indescribably beautiful…Her feet rested upon a globe, or rather one half of a globe, for that was all that could be seen. Her hands which were on a level with Her waist, held in an easy manner another globe, a figure of the world. Her eyes were raised to Heaven, and Her countenance beamed with light as She offered the globe to Our Lord.
"As I was busy contemplating Her, the Blessed Virgin fixed Her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my heart: ' This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular.'
"There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ' O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.' Then a voice said to me: ' Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round 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.'
The medal is now called the Miraculous Medal because of the large number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady's intercession for those who wore it.
Do you have confidence in Our Lady that the graces you ask of her will be given to you?
Pray the Memorare and ask Our Lady to pour out God’s graces upon you.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.