On November 11, 2020, Pope Francis blessed a statue of Our Lady bearing the image of the Miraculous Medal intended for pilgrimage throughout Italy.
The blessing was made in the presence of a delegation from the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), led by Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, Superior General of the Congregation. This one-year Marian pilgrimage to Italy is initiated by the Vincentian Congregation, and coincides with the 190th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to St. Catherine Labouré, rue du Bac in Paris.
Today the world is deeply troubled, poverty is spreading; it is further accentuated by the pandemic, say the Vincentian brothers. The Miraculous Medal is known and worn by Catholics around the world. Faith in the intercession of the Virgin, especially in this difficult time due to Covid-19, must be shared and spread more and more in Italy and in the world, they explain.
The Virgin of the Miraculous Medal continues, after 190 years, to watch over all humanity, and comes as a pilgrim to visit all of Italy, they continue, thus fulfilling the promise of love contained in her message: “I will always be with you ... Have faith ... Do not be discouraged.”
The “pilgrimage of Mary” began on December 1 in Lazio, and will end on November 22, 2021, in Sardinia. The statue of the Virgin is carried in a “mobile chapel.” At each station, in the different locations of the Vincentian family, the Missionaries will do apostolic works and will offer, among other things, booklets on St. Catherine Labouré and on the Miraculous Medal.
On the night of July 18 to 19, 1830, guided by a lovely child dressed in white and in a light illuminating everything around her, Sister Catherine Labouré, of the Company of the Daughters of Charity, saw the Blessed Virgin in the chapel of the convent. Our Lady said these words to her: “Times will be bad. Misfortunes will befall France. The whole world will be shattered by calamities of all kinds. But, come to the foot of this altar. There graces will be poured out on all those who ask for them with confidence and fervor.… A time will come when the danger will be great; you will think everything is lost. I will be with you, have confidence. Have confidence, do not be discouraged, I will be with you.”
On November 27, 1830, Sister Catherine Labouré again saw the Blessed Virgin in the chapel, during the community’s prayer time. Standing on a half-globe, her feet crushing the serpent, Mary holds in her hands, at breast height, a smaller globe surmounted by a cross, which she offers to God in a gesture of prayer.
Sister Catherine heard her say: “This globe that you see represents the whole world, France, and each person in particular. Suddenly, the Virgin’s fingers are covered with magnificent rings and precious stones; the rays which spring from it shine all around and illuminate her person.
Our Lady looks down on Sister Catherine and the same inner voice says to her: “These rays are the symbol of the graces that I pour out on people who ask me for them.” An oval picture then formed around the Virgin Mary, on which was written in gold letters: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Then she heard a voice: “Have a Medal struck on this model. Those who wear it with confidence will receive great graces.” Then, the painting turned, and the Sister sees on the reverse the letter M surmounted by a cross, and below the monogram of Mary, two hearts, one surrounded by thorns, the second pierced with a sword.
In February 1832 a terrible cholera epidemic broke out in Paris, which left over 20,000 dead. In June, the first medals made by the silversmith Vachette were distributed by the Daughters of Charity. Immediately cures, conversions, protections multiply. It was a tidal wave. The people of Paris began to call the medal of the Immaculate the “miraculous medal.”