Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

INTRODUCTION

        Honoring Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is one of the most popular devotions in these Philippine Islands.  Wherever the Paules Fathers have their Churches, there is a concentrated movement to render homage to the Virgin Mary under the title of  Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  And, beyond the confines of these Churches, there is a spontaneous enthusiasm that expresses itself in exterior manifestations of love and affection for the Mother of God.
        What is the origin of this particular devotion?  Its history is associated with the religious community of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, because it was to a member of that congregation that the Blessed Virgin appeared in 1830.  Sister Catherine Laboure was the special instrument in the hands of Divine Providence for the propagation of this devotion.

The Apparition

    Kneeling in the chapel one day the Blessed Virgin appeared to Sister Catherine Laboure.  There were three such appearances, rather similar in character.  But, let Sister Catherine tell in her own words what happened on November 27th, 1830 in a quiet convent in France:
    “The Blessed Virgin was standing on a globe and her face was beautiful beyond words.  Her fingers were covered with precious jewels, whose light dazzled me. And I heard `Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them!' Then an oval frame formed about the Blessed Virgin and I read in letters of gold: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. The vision reversed and I beheld the letter `M' surmounted by a cross, at the foot of the cross a bar and below all the heart of Mary pierced with a sword.  A voice said to me: `Have a medal struck after this model.  Persons who wear it indulgenced will receive many great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”
    The Miraculous Medal is very well known not only in the Philippines but in practically all countries of the world.  The Pautes Fathers in the States, for instance, when they conduct their well-known missions, enroll hundreds and thousands in different parishes in this association.  The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in their network of schools throughout the world, in their numerous hospitals and homes, also spread with energy and zeal this miraculous medal which was given to one of their Sisters.

The Medal

   Looking at the medal, we see the Blessed Mother standing on a globe, the earth; she is in a position of crushing the head of the serpent, representative of the devil who has been overpowered by the most holy Mother of the Redeemer.  Above is that prayer: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for those who have recourse to thee.” It is the Immaculate Conception that was announced twenty-four years before the Pope in Rome defined this as a dogma and twenty-eight years before the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes.  From the hands we see bright rays of light, indicating the stream of graces that the blessed Mother can secure from her Son for those who seek her help.
        On the reverse side, there is the simple yet effective manifestation of two hearts, the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin pierced with a sword.  It is symbolic of the sorrow that underlies so much of the life of the Mother and Son; it is indicative of the union of the two through the Cross.  The M surmounted by a cross is representative of La Dolorosa in Calvary where she, the Immaculate and sinless Mother, stood at the foot of the Cross while her Son suffered and died on the Tree of Calvary.
        Surrounding the two hearts and M surmounted by a cross are twelve stars, possibly suggestive of the twelve Apostles.  Or they may refer to that vision St. John records in the Bible: “A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Apoc. 12, 1).
        This is the constant reminder for those who wear the Miraculous Medal that it brings home so forcibly the lessons of purity and at the same time the sobering fact that life has its sorrows for all.

HOW TO MAKE A NOVENA

1)  The time.  Any period of the year may be selected; November 18-27th is the date of the public novena.

2)    The place.  If possible, recite this prayer in a Church or before an image of the Blessed Mother.

3)    Receive Holy Communion at least once, or preferably, on all the days of the Novena; confession should also be made.

4)  Make some simple act of sacrifice during the Novena days.


Opening Prayer & Act of Contrition