On the night of July 18, 1830. Catherine, a young novice at the Daughters of Charity Convent in Paris was sleeping when a young boy, clothed in white, cried out, “Sister! Sister! Sister Catherine! Come with me to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you”. When she entered the chapel, Catherine heard “the rustling of a silk dress”. As she looked up, she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary seated in a chair by the altar steps, with her hands resting on her lap. The little boy, later revealed as Catherine’s guardian angel, led her to the Mother of God. Catherine knelt before her. She revealed to Catherine that God had chosen her for a very special mission. Although she would first have much to suffer, she would have the grace from God to rise above it.
During her second apparition, November 27, 1830, Our Lady stood on a globe, with her feet crushing a serpent. In her hands she held a small golden globe. Rays of light came from her hands and lit up the globe on which she was standing. As a circle in the shape of a medal formed around the vision, the letters were written, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
At the same time Catherine heard a voice say, “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for those who wear it with confidence.” As the medal turned, Catherine saw the other side. The initial M was surmounted by a cross, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword underneath. Twelve stars encircled the picture.
Within a short time after the medals were made and distributed, many miracles, conversions, and healings took place. The “Miraculous Medal,” the name later attached to it, has earned the reputation of converting the hardest of hearts.
Rue Du Bac street is located in the heart of Paris. As you look at the green gates at 140 Rue Du Bac, it does not really look like a shrine; however, it is here that we find the the magnificent Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
The incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure may be seen on the right hand side of the Chapel and is certainly one of the main attractions of the shrine–a sign from God that this was a person given special graces. Also, on the right hand side is the little blue chair where Our Lady sat during her apparition to St. Catherine. We’re not sure why shed had to sit down, but she did.
This place is only two or three blocks away from Le Bon Marché. It is busy, visited by many pilgrims from all over the world. If you are in the area, do not miss this little chapel on 140 Rue du Bac.