MEDAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
CALLED THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
"Then the Blessed Virgin said to me:
'Get a medal struck after this model; those who wear it when it is
blessed will receive great graces, especially if they wear it round
their neck. Graces will be abundant for those who have confidence'."
(St. Catherine Labourè)
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
(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
A certain class of Catholics,
anxious to show itself "advanced, intellectual", is found deriding this
medal, as well as the other medals and the scapulars, as superstition.
This attitude of disrespect for the sacramentals approved by the Church
is a rash one. Likewise it is against the facts for 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
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.