Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Catherine Labouré was only with the Daughters of Charity in Paris three months before she was awoken in the night by a call. At the foot of her bed stood a beautiful child, insisting she get up and go straight to the chapel. The young sister obeyed in haste, and soon enough, the reason for her midnight awakening was revealed as Our Lady appeared seated before her. Saint Catherine Labouré later called that night, enraptured in conversation with the Mother of her Lord, “the sweetest moment of my life”.

Mary told Catherine that she would receive a mission which would bring about extraordinary graces in a suffering world. But her mission was to come at a later date. Catherine didn’t receive her mission until four months later on November 27th, 1830, when Our Lady appeared in a stunning model that would later be replicated on a small, powerful medal.

The Blessed Mother wore a long white veil and stood upon a half-visible globe with the world in her hands – representative of the entire planet and every single person. The world transformed into bejeweled rings that cast light. But Catherine noticed that only some of these gems radiated light. When she inquired about them, Our Lady responded that each ring represented given graces; graces that had not yet been asked for were the dulled rings, waiting for use.

The words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” glowed in gold around Our Lady. To complete the image, Catherine was shown a large M with a crossbar and the hearts of Jesus and the pierced heart of Mary. Then Our Lady gave Catherine her mission: “Have a medal struck according to this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck.”

The Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor de Quelen, initially approved the design. 1500 medals were issued in 1832, just in time for the brunt of the cholera epidemic. Medals were distributed to the sick and those who cared for them, religious and families, and Our Lady’s promise of graces came to fruition; the medals quickly became known as miraculous after accounts of impossible cures, unlikely conversions, and wonderful visions surfaced. Like Our Lady of the Guard, the Miraculous Medal afforded all those who wore it graces and protection like no other.

The apparitions to Saint Catherine Labouré were approved only four years later, and several thanked Catherine for following Our Lady’s instructions with this remarkable gift. Among the most notable of these was Alphonse de Ratisbonne, a Jewish scholar who wore a medal for a week at the prompting of his friend – and converted shortly thereafter!

Here at the beginning of Advent, let us pray for our own devotion to be doubled through Our Lady’s intercession, especially through the gift of her Miraculous Medal.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!


Our Lady is celebrated under many names, from popular apparitions to small-town titles. Each reveal something different about the Blessed Mother to us – and affirms what we already know of her love and intercessory power! Deepen your devotion to Our Lady with Miracles, Mysteries, & Mary, a monthly collection of stories, Church teaching, reflections, and so much more – guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Our Blessed Mother. Sign up today to receive this Marian content, right to your inbox, and check out our archive page to catch up on our year of Our Lady!

Colleen R. Schena serves as the Junior Copywriter for Relevant Radio. She is a graduate of Marian University Indianapolis with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. Colleen has a deep passion for writing fiction and nonfiction, hiking, and nature photography.