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.
“Even though a person be the worst sort, if only he agrees to wear the medal, give it to him…and then pray for him, and at the proper moment strive to bring him closer to his Immaculate Mother, so that he have recourse to her in all difficulties and temptations.” St. Maximilian Kolbe
About the Shrine:
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. Masses generally take place throughout the day in various languages due to the many pilgrim groups from around the world that visit here. The regular Mass schedule is shown on their website (link shown below).
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.
On the left side of the Chapel is a reliquary holding the incorrupt body of St. Louise de Marillac, founder of the Daughters of Charity. Having two incorrupt bodies in one shrine is truly unique . A reliquary holding the incorrupt heart of St. Vincent de Paul is also located in the Chapel.
There is a small convent store where Miraculous Medals and rosaries are available for purchase. We haven't been there in a couple of years but in the past credit cards have not been accepted, nor of course, any foreign currency. So bring Euros if you plan to purchase any rosaries or other religious items.
You can take the Metro to get to the shrine. Simply get off at the Sevres-Babylone station, which is located on Rue de Sevres, and then walk down a block to Rue du Bac.
Of course taxis are also available but be prepared for the fact that not all taxi drivers know of the shrine (they may recognized the address at #140 Rue du Bac). They will probably know of the Bon Marche department store on Rue de Sevres, which is right next door.
Bon Marche is Paris' oldest department store and you might want to check them out along the way, especially their world-famous bakery section know as La Grande Epicerie Paris! When you visit here we suggest you also include a visit to the Shrine of Saint Vincent de Paul, which is only a few minutes walk around the corner. When you leave the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal take a right and cross Rue de Sevres, take another right and St. Vincent de Paul's shrine is about two blocks down on the left.
1. Personal visits
2. Marian Shrines of France, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, no copyright