Holy places and objects can have such power in our intercessions. Sometimes, these things can help us connect with God in just the right way. Take, for example, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Thousands of people have traveled there, seeking peace and healing in the spot where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette. Though the committee on miracles at Lourdes has only officially recognized 70 cures as “miraculous,” thousands more individuals have drawn both spiritual and corporal comfort from visiting the shrine.
That is not to say that we venerate the shrines or the objects; we venerate Mary, Jesus, and the saints that have appeared in these places and things, and sometimes, the physical item or location can help guide us in our spiritual conversations.
If traveling to Lourdes isn’t quite possible, there are some other incredible things to look into that have all been said to facilitate miracles — among them, La Médaille Miraculeuse (the Miraculous Medal). Designed by St. Catherine Laboure after an apparition from the Blessed Mother in 1830, it said that for “those who wear [the medal] with confidence, there will be abundant graces.”
In 1830, St. Catherine Laboure was living in Paris, France, a young nun and a member of the nursing order of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. During evening prayer on November 27, she reported that the Virgin Mary had appeared to her, the Blessed Mother displaying herself in an oval frame, standing on a globe, with rays of light shining out of her hands. The words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee” appeared around the edge of the frame.
When Catherine asked why some of the rays didn’t stretch as far as the others, Mary reportedly replied, “Those are the graces for people who forget to ask.” Catherine said that the image then rotated, revealing an “M” with a cross, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary encircled in a border of 12 stars. Mary asked Catherine to bring these images to her confessor, with the request that they be turned into a medal. This she did, and the first medals were produced in 1832.
Thousands of Catholics today wear the Miraculous Medal, which is said to be most effective when worn around the neck every day. And, it has certainly been attributed to some incredible miracles, including the 1948 healing of a little boy, who had been in an accident that caused “irreversible brain damage.” Doctors told his parents that their son likely would not survive and that, if he did, he would never speak, move, eat, or be the same.
Fr. John A. Hardon, who was sent to be a chaplain for the boy’s family, decided to try the medal as a last resort. He found one, tied it around the boy’s neck with a scrap of blue ribbon he’d found, and had not even finished reading the prayers associated with the medal before the little boy opened his eyes.
The first thing the little boy did after this miraculous healing? Ask his mom for ice cream.
—Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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