Q: I received a Miraculous Medal for Confirmation. Where does this come from and what does this mean?
The story of the Miraculous Medal arises from the apparitions of our Blessed Mother to St. Catherine Laboure, a novice at the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity in Paris (where it still stands today at 140 Rue du Bac). St. Catherine (1806-1876; canonized 1947) was the daughter of a farmer, and was the ninth of 11 children. When she was eight years old, St. Catherine lost her mother.
Even at that tender age, St. Catherine showed a special love for the Blessed Mother: Upon her mother’s death, St. Catherine climbed a chair to reach the statue of the Blessed Mother in their home. Clasping it to her chest, she said, “Now, dear Blessed Mother, you will be my mother.” She was called upon to care for the family, thereby depriving her of any formal education at school. (Her youngest sibling was an invalid and needed constant care.) On January 22, 1830, at the age of 24, St. Catherine joined the Daughters of Charity, who had been founded by St. Vincent de Paul.
On the night of July 18, 1830, St. Catherine saw our Blessed Mother seated in the choir of the motherhouse chapel. St. Catherine herself recorded the incident, which she entitled, “July Conversation with the Most Blessed Virgin, from 11:30 in the evening of the 18th until 1:30 in the morning of the 19th, St. Vincent’s Day.” During this time, the Blessed Mother spoke to her and made several predictions which would later come to pass. The Blessed Mother said, “My child, the good God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will have much to suffer, but you will rise above these sufferings by reflecting that what you do is for the glory of God. You will know what the good God wants. You will be tormented until you have told him who is charged with directing you. You will be contradicted but, do not fear, you will have grace. Tell with confidence all that passes within you; tell it with simplicity. Have confidence. Do not be afraid.” ….