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The Meaning of the Miraculous Medal

Mary's Design Symbolizes Key Elements of the Catholic Faith

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November 27 marks the 186th anniversary of the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known by Catholics the world over as the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal has a special place in the hearts of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, since it paved the way for the Church's official declaration of the dogma in 1854.

The medal is striking because Our Lady herself presented the familiar design.

The front of the medal depicts Mary standing on a globe, with the head of a serpent beneath her feet. Circling the oval-shaped medal is the signature, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." On the reverse, 12 stars surround a large "M," from which a cross arises. Below the "M," the medal depicts two flaming hearts. The left heart, circled with thorns, represents Jesus. The right heart, pierced by a sword, symbolizes Mary.

An Unlikely Helper
By what intervention and through what vessel did the Blessed Mother convey the design of this medal? As in the case of the Divine Mercy revelations of St. Faustina, a young, unassuming nun in 1930s Poland, once again God chose an unlikely helper. Nearly 100 years earlier, He selected a 24-year-old novice in the community of Sisters known as the Daughters of Charity, Paris, France, in 1830.

The extraordinary story begins on the night of July 18, 1830, when a mysterious child awakens Sr. Catherine Laboure. The child leads her to the convent's chapel. There, Sr. Catherine sees the Virgin Mary sitting in a chair. She kneels beside Mary and rests her hands in the Virgin's lap. The two speak for several hours. During the conversation, Mary promises she will return and give the young nun "a mission." The child leads Catherine back to her bed. Catherine hears the clock strike 2 a.m., July 19.

A little more than four months later, Sr. Catherine learns what Mary wants.

During her evening meditation on Nov. 27, 1830, Catherine has a vision of Mary standing in a position similar to the depiction on the medal. Later, the vision changes to include the inscription found on the front side of the medal.

Mary speaks to Catherine, saying, "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck."

It was as Mary said. The medal's effects were immediate.

Iconic Attraction
The first medals were made in 1832 and distributed throughout Paris. According to the Association of the Miraculous Medal, the blessings that Mary promised "began to shower down" on wearers of the medal. The devotion spread rapidly. In 1836, a Church investigation declared the apparitions to be genuine.

Since Mary asked Catherine to have the medal struck, devotion to the Miraculous Medal has spread the world over, the image having achieved iconic stature.

But what does the medal mean? In answering that, one discovers why it works.

The Front Side
• Mary stands on a globe, crushing a serpent beneath her feet. Describing the original vision, Catherine said the Blessed Mother appeared radiant as a sunrise, "in all her perfect beauty."
• Rays shoot out from Mary's hands, which she told Catherine, "... symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them."
• Words from the vision form an oval frame around Mary: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
Seen as a matrix, the elements of the front design encapsulate major Marian tenets:

Quality of Our Lady As Illustrated by the Medal
Mother — Her open arms, the "recourse" we have in her.
Immaculate — The words, "conceived without sin."
Assumed into Heaven — She stands on the globe.
Mediatrix — Rays from her hands symbolizing "graces."
Our Protection — Crushes the serpent (Gn 3:15).

The Reverse Side
• A cross-and-bar surmounts a large, bold "M."
• 12 stars disperse around the perimeter.
• Two hearts are depicted underneath the "M," the left lapped with a crown of thorns, the right skewed by a sword. From each, a flame emanates from the top. Again, employing a grid analysis, we can see how the reverse-side design contains great symbolism reflecting major tenets of the Catholic faith.

Design Element and its Catholic Meaning
The large letter "M" — Mary as Mother, Mediatrix.
Cross and bar — Jesus' Cross of Redemption.
12 stars — 12 Apostles, who formed the first Church.
Left Heart — The Sacred Heart, who died for our sins.
Right Heart — The Immaculate Heart, who intercedes for us.
Flames — The burning love Jesus and Mary have for us.

The Association of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, Missouri, notes that there is no superstition or magic connected with the Miraculous Medal, nor is it "a good luck charm." Rather, it is "a testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith."

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Yoebo - Nov 27, 2016

I hope i have this precious pendant.

Klp - Nov 27, 2016

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Please pray for good mental and physical health for my children.

genalin fe nasaria - Nov 27, 2016

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal....thank you for a miracle yesterday!
Pls pray for us sinners!

Bok - Nov 27, 2016

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception I pray to you for my mums health. May she have a full and swift recovery

lucena - Nov 27, 2016

please pray for my daughter Elizabeth Ann for her healing.

Wee - Nov 27, 2016

Mama Mary, Please stay by my side... I need you and want you to be near always, please help me know what to do next(in my life)

Yvette - Nov 27, 2016

Dear Mama Mary, please intercede for our family and all God's children. Grant us all the graces that we need and cover us with your mantle of maternal protection. Help us all to get to heaven. Amen.

Akos - Nov 27, 2016

God please heal my sun and save my marriage! Thank You.

Joyce - Nov 27, 2016

please pray for me and family. especially for my son calling and our education and marriage.

Myron Castelino - Nov 27, 2016

Dear Mother Mary, bless our Youth and our world Leaders. Forgive those who hurt others.

H❤️JMJ - Nov 27, 2016

Holy Mother, I want to be close to you and love you as you are so holy, good and precious to our Jesus❤️❤️❤️ Please Mother be close to me everyday of my life. I love you! I ask for your intercession on this day of the Miraculous Medal, of which I wear, that you may bless my future husband and prepare us to meet soon! Give me hope and trust above all else. Thank you and bless the intentions off all who recourse to you. Amen Amen!!

Roseann - Nov 27, 2016

Dear Mary Please pray and watch over my family Send our guardian angels down to watch over us

Marie N - Nov 27, 2016

Mother Mary into your arms I place JJBN, JM and AM pleae be a source of comfort to them. Guide them and mend their broken heart, body and soul. As your children they need your constant care in their difficult situations. Amen

julie - Nov 27, 2016

Pray for my family, health, wealth, love ,happiness and peace .

Marie - Nov 27, 2016

Oh Mary conceived without sin, Pray for my Children and Grand Children.

Jim - Nov 27, 2016

Holy Mother of Mercy, your Immaculate heart has been a true refuge for me during my illness, interfering before your son, imploring and obtaining the graces for me that have obtained stability and stability in my lab work and successful treatment of Retuxen. You have obtained the unification of the medicine of man with the medicine of mercy. Please ask Jesus to continue this grace of healing to me and that I may have a Merry and healthy Christmas

Annet - Nov 27, 2016

Mary mother of all graces, cover my family with your immaculate Heart and protect them from all evil.

H P - Nov 27, 2016

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal pray for me, my husband, my family, especially for my daughters.

Michael - Nov 28, 2016

Please pray for me Mary conceived without sin.

Kathy - Nov 28, 2016

Mother Mary, please pray that the feeling in my feet will come back

PLC - Nov 28, 2016

Dearest Mother Mary,
We pray for your intercession. Please grant us the healing of our mother from her illness. She is a devout follower and devotee of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and hears mass daily at our parish church of the same name (you are our patron saint in our parish) --- her health allowing it. We believe in your miracles and trust in your mercy and intercession.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you
Blessed are you, among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death
O Mary, conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Karz - Nov 28, 2016

Mama Mary please heal my father of his ill .. please guide him coz I'm not on his side .. I love him so much mama Mary ..

Lori - Nov 28, 2016

Mama Mary, I beg for your help. Please intercede for my daughter. She needs your help now more than ever. She has so much emotional pain and suffering. Your heart was sorrowful watching your son suffer. Please be a mother to her now. I ask in Jesus name. amen

Diane - Nov 28, 2016

Oh my Blessed Mother, please watch over my friends and family. Keep them safe and devoted to you. Please help me be humble and to be worthy to see the light of your son's face when it is my time. Let me once again be reunited with my loved ones. Have mercy on us. Bless this country.

Poulter Family - Nov 28, 2016

Blessed Mother of Mercy, We Thankyou For Your Faith and Steadfast Courage and Blessing us With The King Of Kings..!! We Pray to you Through your Son to watch over our Family and to Always seek The Son of Man..Who is our Strength and our Rock..!! Mother please Bless our Family with your Sons Will..!!

Sandy - Nov 30, 2016

Blessed Mother Mary, I ask you for your gracious intercession for me and my family that your Divine Son, Jesus, grant us the healing that we need. Amen.

Punkin - Dec 3, 2016

Holy Mother, please don't give up on me, thank you for your unconditional love and mercy that I am not worthy of....Thank you for loving me and taking care of my loved ones ...in heaven, and my sweet Pu kin.