CHAPEL OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is a chapel in Paris revered by Catholics as the site of three apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1830.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré, a Seminary Sister in the Daughters of Charity, in order to offer the world a medal. This simple object, intended for all people, making no distinction, sums up the mysteries of Christian faith through its rich symbolism.
From July 18 to December 1830 Sister Catherine received the extraordinary favour of conversing on three occasions with the Virgin Mary in the Chapel of Our Lady.
In the preceding months Catherine was honoured with other apparitions:
- While at prayer in the chapel, Catherine saw, on three successive days, the heart of Saint Vincent in three different colours. The heart appeared white, the colour of peace; then red, the colour of fire; and then black, an indication of the misfortunes that would come upon France and Paris in particular.
- Shortly after that Catherine saw Christ present in the Sacred Host. “I saw Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament all the time of my seminary except the times when I doubted.”
- On June 6, 1830, the feast of the Holy Trinity, Christ appeared as a Crucified King, stripped of all his adornment.
The second apparition of Virgin Mary occurred on November 27, 1830. The Virgin showed Catherine the design for what would become known as the "Miraculous Medal." On one side was an image of Mary, surrounded by the prayer, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you." The reverse side of the medal bore a letter "M" surmounted by a cross and over two hearts, one encircled with a crown of thorns, and the other pierced with a sword.
When a deadly cholera epidemic broke out in Paris in February 1832, claiming more than 20,000 lives, the Sisters began distributing the first medals. Many cures were reported, along with protection and conversions. The word spread like wild fire. The people of Paris called the medal “miraculous”. Pope Pius XII named Catherine a Saint on July 27, 1947.
What to See at the Chapel
Pilgrims to the chapel can see the altar at which the Virgin Mary promised prayers will be answered, and the incorrupt body of St. Catherine, on display in a glass case. The walls are beautifully decorated with mosaics and murals.
Inside the Chapel
A white marble statue of Mary, sculpted in 1850, stands over the altar. She is crowned with 12 stars and rays of graces lead from her outstretched palms to the floor.
How to get there
The metro: get off at Sevres-Babylone or Saint-Placide
Bus: take bus 39, 63, 70 84, 87, or 94.
Address: 140 rue du Bac (in the 7th district of Paris).
Website of the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal: http://www.chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com