On July 18, 1830, St. Mary appeared to a precious, childlike little nun named Catherine at the convent chapel of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, France. Known today as St. Catherine Laboure, she longed so much for the love of a mother. It would seem that heaven heard her and cared.
One night she was awakened by an angelic little child who took her hand and led her into the chapel. She was amazed to see the place illuminated at though it were Christmas Eve and she heard the rustling of a lady's magnificent robe near the Altar. Rubbing her tired eyes she looked toward the sound and beheld the most beautiful woman imaginable. Not beautiful as the world counts beauty but beautiful with the benediction of Heaven shining through her mother's face.
She met her here on various occasions and perhaps the most moving of them was when little Catherine rested her head upon St. Mary's lap and the dear Virgin lovingly stroked her hair.
It seems clear that the Virgin was sent on mission to call the world's attention for the need of God's grace for she appeared in one vision standing upon the globe with glorious rays of light (representing God's graces) flowing down from her fingertips. Her Son's beatitude was in this vision and she wanted the world which was swiftly racing into the modern era with its horrific wars and plagues to call upon God for these graces. Somehow the Holy Spirit was using her as a symbol of how much Heaven desired to rain divine love down upon all who would seek God.
In this particular vision the words, "O MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE." Sadly Rome, in its corrupted Christianity hurriedly emphasized that Mary was conceived without sin and the medal that was struck of that vision became for far too many a sort of good luck charm. And yet, though a million of us poor sinners are prone to idolatry, the poor in spirit who love Jesus understand by the graces Mary showed us that day that God was saying something extremely profound and that even the pope, his bishops, and the clergy would miss the meaning if they did not look to Christ and Christ alone.
Christ told Nicodemus, and all of us, "Verily, verily I say unto thee,
you must be born again!" Entry into the kingdom of Heaven depends upon
this. It is not an emotional experience that He speaks of but of our
baptisms in the Name of the Trinity and our taking over the promises our
parents have made for us that we will love and follow Christ, that we
will ask Him personally into our hearts and repent daily of sin. We
were conceived once after the natural fashion and all men are born
sinners. At baptism we were conceived without sin, that is, the
tendency of sin to prevail over us was washed away by Christ's sacrifice
upon the cross: by His blood that saves us and by the water from His
side which cleanses us. St. Mary, the first to believe in Her Son was,
in this sense, first conceived without sin otherwise her natural birth
was no different from our own. The medal struck of this vision, commonly
called the Miraculous Medal, is the Virgin saying to us all: "It is as
though you were born with my sinless Son, the Son of God, from my own
virgin's womb when you were baptized. Now it is your part to accept the
graces pouring down from Heaven that are meant to make your baptism the
greatest reality in your lives."
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