Fr. William Saunders: Fr. William Saunders What is the Miraculous Medal?

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image: Holy Family Church (North Baltimore, Ohio) via Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons

By Fr. William Saunders, Catholic Exchange, Aug. 3, 2021

Editor’s note: This article is courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald. 

Fr. Saunders was the founding pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls, VA. He now serves as Pastor of St. Agnes in Arlington, VA and as the Episcopal Vicar of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Arlington.

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. …

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