Legion of Mary
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O Mary, conceived without sin.
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Miraculous Medal                                   Back |   Print  |   Bookmark

The Medal of the Immaculate Conception
called the Miraculous Medal


HOW IT CAME TO BE

On November 27, 1830, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared in a vision to Catherine Laboure, a novice in the Sisters of Charity convent in Paris, France stating “Then the Blessed Virgin said to me: ‘Get a medal struck after this model; those who wear it when it is blessed will receive abundant graces, especially if they wear it round their neck with confidence'.” (St. Catherine Labouré)

Legionaries should greatly esteem this medal, which has been prominently associated with the history of their organisation. It was not the result of deliberation that a statue of the 1830 model graced the table at the first meeting, yet it effectively summarised the devotional outlook of the organisation which came into life around it.

The use of the medal in the work was then recommended. The invocation which appears on the medal commenced to be said at that first meeting and now, as part of the Catena, is
recited daily by every member. The design of the medal is incorporated in the Legion vexillum. It is provocative of thought that the medal should in this manifold way insert itself into the Legion devotional system. Whether accidental circumstances were at work, or yet
another of the delicate and wonderful fashionings of Providence, may be judged from the following additional considerations:

      (a) The aim of the medal is the furthering of devotion to the Immaculate Conception. But the medal likewise exhibits Mary in her role as Mediatrix of Grace, thus comprehensively showing her in the various aspects under which she is regarded by the Legion, viz., Mary Immaculate, Mother and Mediatrix. The representation of the Immaculate Conception is
complemented by that of the Immaculate Heart on the reverse of the medal. The former portrays Mary stainless in her conception; the latter shows her sinless ever after.

      (b) The reverse of the medal bears the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both of which have been invoked in the opening prayers of the
Legion from the very first meeting. This representation of the two Hearts, the one pierced with a circlet of thorns, the other by a sword, the two surmounted by the cross and the letter M, recalls the Passion and the Compassion, which earned those graces which legionaries pray to be privileged to bear to others in company with Mary.

      (c) An astonishing circumstance is that it was at the precise moment of the centenary of the apparition to St. Catherine Labouré (which had special reference to France) that His
Eminence Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris, opened the audience in which he gave his approbation and blessing to the Legion.
      Thus, one can almost say that the medal has been assimilated by the Legion, so that the mission of the legionary includes that of the medal. The legionary is, as it were, a living Miraculous Medal, a humble instrument of Our Lady’s graces to the world.
      There is no doubt that the use of the medal has been blessed in dramatic fashions. As legionaries are encouraged to regard themselves as soldiers, likewise should they look upon the medal as their special ammunition. To a certainty, Mary will impart to it a double power in the hands of her legionaries.
      By the enrolment ceremony one is made a member of the Association of the Miraculous Medal without any formal inscription in a register required. The member is entitled automatically to all the indulgences attached to the Association.  
      The feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is celebrated on 27 November.

Fine Print
“Mary brought into the world apostolicity itself — him who came to cast fire on earth and willed that it be enkindled. Her role would have now been incomplete if she had not been in the very centre of the tongues of fire which the Spirit of her Son sent upon the Apostles to
make them burn with his message even to the consummation of the world. Pentecost was Mary’s spiritual Bethlehem, her new Epiphany, in which as Mother standing by the crib of the Mystic Christ, she makes him known once again to other shepherds and other kings.”
(Bishop Fulton Sheen: The Mystical Body of Christ)

Legion of Mary Handbook: Appendix 6 Pgs 344-345

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