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Full text of "The miraculous medal; its origin, history, circulation, results"

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SISTER CATHERINE LABOURE, 

The Daughter of Charity^ favored ivith the Vision of the Miraculo^B 
Medal in 1830. Died December 31, 1876. 



John B. Piet, Baltimore. 



TXIE! 



MIRACULOUS MEDAL 



ITS 



Origin, History, Circulation, Results. 



BY'M. ALADEl., CM. 



BY P. Sm 

Graduate of St. Joseph's, Emmittsburg", Md. 



IX4LTJ3rr:E^.i^TE3D. 



11^7 i 



BALTIMORE: 

PUBLISHED BY JOHN B. PIET, 

Ko. 174 West Baltimore Street. 
1880. 









Thb Library 
OF Congress 

WASHlMG1t>N 



COPYKIGHT, 1880, BY JOHN B. PlET. 



Press of John B. Piet, Baltu. 



DEDICATION. 



. TO 



The Most Compassionate Virgin Mary, 

MOTHH^l OF 000, OONOStVEt) WITHOUT $t«. 

Oh Mary, conceived icitJiout sin, Virgin incompcircibU, august 
Mother of Jesus, tloii tcho last adopted us for thy children, and 
who hast given us so many j^roofs of thy maternal tenderness, deign 
to accept this little hook, feeble token of our gratitude and love! 

Oh! may it he instrumental in attracting and attaching innol- 
ably to thee, the hearts of cdl ii:ho read it! 

Mary , conceived icithout sin, pray for us who have recourse 
to iiiee ! 



(3) 



AUTHOR'S DECLARATION. 



Ik conformity with the decree of Pope Urban VIII, 
we declare that the terms miracle, revelation, apparition 
and other expressions of a similar nature here employed, 
have, in our intention, no other than a purely historical 
yalue, and that we submit unreservedly the entire con- 
tents of this book to the judgment of the Apostolic See. 



m 



Preface of the American Publisher. 



Since the hour when the Beloved D'sciple took the Blessed 
Virgin to his own, the follow^ers of her Divine Son have alwayi? 
cherished a reverential affection for her ahove all other creatures. 
They have regarded her as the ideal of all that is true and pure 
and sw^eet and noble in the Christian life, and they have honored 
her as the most favored of mortals, the greatest of saints, thfi 
masterpiece of the Almighty. The peculiar veneration paid to 
her by the Apostles, w^as caught up by the fii^t Christians, w^ho 
regarded her with awe because of her great dignitj^; and when 
she died, her memory was held in benediction. But death could 
not sever her from those wiio, in the person of St. John, had 
been given to her for her children. She still lived for the 
Church. From the time when the faithful took refuge in the 
Catacombs to the fifth century, when the Council of EphCvSus 
solemnly sanctioned the homage paid to her as the Motl>er of 
God, her intercession w^as often invoked; and from that da}'-, 
devotion tow^ards her has increased until our own age, when tli£ 
nations of the earth unite to proclaim her Blessed. 

Often has Mary given signal proofs of the pleasure she takes 
in the devotion of her clients and of the power she possesses to 
grant their petitions. Graces asked through her mediation have 
been suddenly obtained ; wonders in the w^ay of cures and con- 
versions have been wrought at her shrines ; disasters have been 
averted ; plagues have been made to cease ; and, to crow^n all h^r 
favors, apparitions have occurred, in which she has shown her- 
self, radiant with the lustre of Heaven, to her lo^al servants- 

(7) 



Vlll FREFAVE OF THE AMERICAN PVBLISHER, 

and, in some instances, she has left something like the scapular, 
the Miraculous Medal and the fount in the grotto of Lourdes, as 
memorials of her visit. 

These manifestations of her maternal solicitude have of late 
been more frequent, more renowned, and more efficacious than 
ever. As the end draws near and the dangers increase, her 
anxiety for the sanctification of her own bursts its bonds and 
urges her to find new ways to the hearts of men. Among the 
most recent of these demonstrations, the Miraculous Medal is 
one of the most remarkable. How it originated, how rapidly 
and widely it has circulated, and how gloriously it has fulfilled 
its mission, are told in this book. A more interesting and edify- 
ing history could not easily have been written. To all children 
of Mar}^, in America as elsewhere, it will be welcome, and for 
them this edition has been prepared by 

The PuBLisnER. 

May 4, 1880. 



PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION 



The eighth and last edition of The History of the 
Miraculous Medal, extending up to the year 1842, has for 
a long time been out of print. More than once efforts have 
been made to have a new edition published, but until now they 
have failed. The recent death of the Sister who was favored 
with the Blessed Virgin's confidence, has again excited a gen- 
eral desire for the work; for many persons are eager to learn 
the origin of the medal, and others hope to get the full par- 
ticulars of it. For these reasons, the present edition has been 
undertaken. 

Believing that it would gratify our readers, we have placed 
at the beginning of the book a biographical sketch o^ the privi- 
leged Sister, Catherine Laboure, and to it we haTe added some 
notes concerning M. Aladel, her Director, who w^as the author 
of the previous editions. 

These editions of the History presented but a very condensed 
account of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin in 1830; for 
serious reasons induced M. Aladel to suppress many things. 
He feared especially to attract attention to the humble daughter 
who had transmitted Heaven's orders, and who, it was best, 
should remain unknown to the end of her life. 

Now, these fears are no longer an obstacle, and we are per- 
mitted to publish, for the edification of the faithful, all that the 
Sister revealed, at least, all that we still possess of these com- 
munications. At the time of the last edition, M. Aladel could 

(9) 



X PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION. 

understand but imperfectly the import of the vision of the 
medal, but certain events of subsequent occurrence, have placed 
this important revelation in a clearer light, and fully established 
its connection with the past and the future. We have endeavored 
to show the designs of Providence, by proving that the appari- 
tion of 1830 was not an isolated fact ; that it marked the end of 
a disastrous period for the Church and society ; that it was the 
beginning of a new era, an era of mercy and hope; that it was 
a preparation for the definition of the Immaculate Conception 
as a dogma of faith; in fine, that it was the first of a series of 
supernatural manifestations, which have greatly increased devo- 
tion to the Blessed Virgin, insomuch, that our age may justly 
be styled the age ot Mary. 

We have judged it advisable to omit quite a number of 
miraculous occurrences related in the preceding editions, and 
substitute for them others not less authentic, but more recent, 
thus demonstrating that the medal is as efiicacious in our days, 
as it was at the time of its origin. 

We ask those wlio may hereafter obtain similar favors, to 
send an account of them, together with satisfactory vouchers 
of their authenticity, to the Superior-General of the Daughters 
of Charity, rue du Bac, 140, or to the Director of the Daughters 
of Charity, rue de Sevres, 95, Paris. 



CONTENTS. 



Page 

Dedication, iii 

The Author's Declaration, v 

Preface, vii 

CHAPTER I. 

Sister Catherine, Daughter of Charitj' — Her Birth — Early 
Life — Vocation — Entrance into the Community — Appa- 
rition of the Blessed Yirgin— The Medal — Sister Cathe- 
rine is sent to d'Erghien Hospital — Her humble, hidden 
Life— Her Death. 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Mary's Agency in the Church — This Agency always mani- 
fest, seems to have disappeared during the Eighteenth 
and at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century — Mary 
reappears in 1830 — Motives and Importance of this 
Apparition — The Immaculate Conception. - - 42 

CHAPTER HI. 

Apparitions of the Blessed Yirgin to Sister Catherine— First 
Apparition : An Angel Conducts the Sister to the Chapel 
— Mary Converses with Her — Second Apparition : Mary 
standing upon a Globe, her hands emitting Rays ot 
Light, symbolic of Grace — Mary orders a Medal to be 
Struck — Third Apparition : Mary Repeats the Order. 51 

CHAPTER lY. 

The Medal Appears — The Welcome it Receives — Canonical 
Investigation ordered by Mgr. de Quelen— Wonderful 
Circulation of the Medal. 67 



XI 1 CONTENTS. 

Page 
CHAPTER Y. 

Developnient of the Devotion to the Immaculate Concep- 
tion — Mgr. de Qiielen's Circular. - - - - 79 

CHAPTER YL 

Extraordinary Graces obtained by means of the Miraculous 
Medal — Graces obtained from 1832 to 1885 — During the 
year 1835, in France, Switzerland, Savoy, Turkey — 
From 1836 to 1838, in France, Italy, Holland, &c.— 
Notre Dame des Yictoires — From 1838 to 1842, in Greece, 
America, China, &c.— From 1843 to 1877, in France, 
Germany, Itah% America. 94 

CHAPTER YII. 

Progress of the Devotion to Mary crowned by the Defini- 
tion of the Immaculate Conception — Our Lady of La 
Salette— The Children of Mary— The Definition of the 
Immaculate Conception. 261 

CHAPTER YIIL 

The Miraculous Medal and the War — The War in the East — 
The Italian War— The United States— War between 
Prussia and Austria — Souvenirs of the Commune. - 289 

CHAPTER IX. 

Recent Manifestations of the Blessed Yirgin in the Church — 
Our Lady of Lourdes — Our Lady of Pontmain, &c. — 
Conclusion. 309 



Table of Engravings of the Miraculous Medal 



PAGE 

Portrait of Sister Catherine Laboure, the Daughter of Charity 
favored with the Vision of the Miraculous Medal in 
1830. - - - - - - - - Frontispiece. 

First Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Sister Catherine 
Laboure, Daughter of Charit3% during the night of July 
18th, 1830. After a picture painted according to Sister 
Catherine's directions. Summoned by her Guardian 
Angel, under the form of a child, emitting rays of light, 
Sister Catherine arises, follows him to the Chapel, which 
Ehe finds brilliantly illuminated; she afterwards S82s the 
Blessed Virgin seated in the sanctuar^^ The picture rep- 
resents Sister Catherine at the Blessed Virgin's feet, her 
hands on the Blessed Virgin's knees: "My child," says 
the Blessed Virgin," " the times are very disastrous, great 
troubles are about to descend upon France ; the throne 
will be upset, the entire world will be in confusion by 
reason of miseries of every description." - - - 53 

Second Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Sister Catherine 
Laboure, November 17th, 1830, first picture. i^Lbout 
half-past five in the evening, Avhilst Sister Catharine is 
taking her meditation, the Blessed Virgin again appears. 
She stands upon a hemisphere, and holds in her hand a 
globe which she offers to our Lord. Suddenly her fingers 
are filled with most dazzling rings and precious stones. 
"This globe," says the Blessed Virgin, "represents the 
whole world and particularly France." She adds that 
the rays escaping from her hands " are symbols of the 
graces she bestows upon those who ask for them." - - 59 

(13) 



XIV TA BLE OF ENGBA TINGS. 

Page 

Same Apparition, second picture. " Then," relates Sister 
Catherine, "there formed around tlie Blessed Virgin a 
somewhat oval picture, upon which appeared in golden 
letters these words : ' O Mary ! conceived without sin, 
pray for us who have recourse to thee ! ' and a voice said: 
^ Have a medal struck upon this model ; those who wear 
it indulgenced will receive great graces, especially if 
they wear it on the neck ; abundant graces will be 
bestowed upon those who have confidence.' " At thafc 
instant, the picture being turned. Slater Catherine sees 
on the reverse, the letter M, surmounted by a cro^s, and 
beneath this the sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. - - 60 

Medal struck by order of Mgr. de Quelen. - - - 73 

Apparition of the Miraculous Medal to M. Eatisbcnne. - 265 

Representation of the Miraculous Medal, modelled in accord- 
ance with the description given by Sister Catherine 
Labours. - v. 272, 273 




Sister Catherine, 



DAUGHTER OF CHARITY. 



HER BIRTH EARLY LIFE VOCATIOlSr ENTRANCE INTO 

THE COMMUNITY APPARITION OF THE VIRGIN 

THE MEDAL SISTER CATHERINE IS PLACED AT THE 

HOSPITAL d'eNGHIEN — HER HUMBLE, HIDDEN LIFE 
HER DEATH. 



It is an extensively credited assumption, that those 
who are favored with supernatural communications 
should have something extraordinary in their person and 
mode of life. One easily invests them with an ideal of 
perfection, which, in some measure, sets them apart from 
the majority of mankind. But if, at any time, an occa- 
sion occurs of. proving that such an assumption is 
erroneous, if we discover in these divine confidants 
w-eaknesses or only infirmities, we are astonished and 
tempted to be scandalized. Among the Christians who 



2 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

knew St. Paul only by reputation, some were disap- 
pointed on a closer acquaintance ; they said his appear- 
ance was too unprepossessing and his language too 
unrefined for an apostle. Were not the Jews scandalized 
that Our Lord ate and drank like others, that His parents 
were poor, that He came from Nazareth, and that He 
conversed with sinners ? So true is it, that Ave are 
always disposed to judge by appearances. 

Not so with God. He sees the depths of our hearts, 
and often what appears contemptible in the eyes of the 
world, is great in His. Simplicity and purity He prizes 
especially. Exterior qualities, gifts of intellect, birth 
and education, are of little value to Him, and when He 
has an important mission to confide, it is ordinarily to 
persons not' possessing these qualifications. Thus, does 
He display His wisdom and power, in using what is 
weak, to accomplish great results. Sometimes, He 
chooses for His instruments subjects that are even imper- 
fect, permitting them to commit ftiults in order to keep 
them in all humility, and convince them that the favors 
they receive are not accorded their own merits, but are 
the gift of God's pure bounty. 

These observations naturally prelude Sister Catherine's 
biography; they explain in advance the difficulties which 
might arise in the mind of the reader at the contrast 
between a life so simple and ordinary and the graces 
showered upon her. 

Sister Catherine (Zoe Labonre) was born May 2, 1806, 
in a little village of the Cote-d'Or Mountains, called 
Fain-les-Moutiers, of the parish of Moutiers-Saint-Jean. 
This last place, particularly dear to St. Vincent, was n'ot 
far from the cradle of St. Bernard, that great servant of 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 3 

Mary, nor from the spot where St. Chantal passed a part 
of her life, as if in the soil as well as the blood there 
was a predisposition to certain qualities or hereditary 
yirtues. 

Her parents, sincere Christians, were held in esteem. 
They cultivated their farm, and enjoyed that compe- 
tency which arises from rural labor joined to simplicity 
of life. God had blessed their union with a numerous 
family, seven sons and three daughters. 

At an early age, the sons left the paternal roof; little 
Zoe, with her sisters, remained under the mother's eye, 
but this mother, God took from Zoe, ere she had com- 
pleted her eighth year. Already capable of feeling the 
extent of this sacrifice, it seemed to her as if the Blessed 
Virgin wished to be her only Mother. 

An aunt, living at Eemy, took Zoe and the youngest 
sister to live with her; but the father, a pious man, who 
in his youth had even thought of embracing the eccle- 
siastical state, preferred having the children under his 
own eye, and at the end of two years they were brought 
home. 

Another motive, also, impelled him to act thus. The 
eldest sister thought seriously of leaving her family to 
enter the Community of Daughters of Charity, and the 
poor father could not bear the idea of confiding his 
house to mercenary hands. And thus, at an age when 
other children think only of their sports, Zoe was inured 
to hard work. 

At the age of twelve, with a pure and fervent heart, 
she made her First Communion in the church of Mou- 
tiers-Saint-Jean. Henceforth, her only desire was to be 
solely His who had just given Himself to her for the 
first time. 



4 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

Very soon after, the eldest sister left home to postulate 
at Langres ; and Zoe, now little mistress of the house, 
did the cooking, with the assistance of a woman for the 
roughest work. She carried the field hands their meals, 
and neyer shrank from any duty however laborious or 
severe. 

Moutiers-Saint-Jean possesses an establishment of the 
Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Zoe went to see them as 
often as her household duties permitted, and the good 
Sister-Servant, who loved her much, encouraged the 
child in her laborious life ; yet the latter never spoke to 
the Sister of her growing vocation, but awaited, with a 
secret impatience, until her sister (two years her junior) 
would be able to take charge of the house. It was she 
to whom Zoe confided her dearest desires, and then com- 
menced for the two that tender intimacy of life, one of 
pure labor and duty, and whose only relaxations were 
attending the services of the parish church. 

The two young girls, thinking themselves able to dis- 
pense with the servant, dismissed her, and now" shared 
between them all the work. Zoe, who was very sedate 
and trustworthy, watched over everything with the 
utmost vigilance, and took care of her sister with a 
mother's tenderness. 

One of her favorite occupations was the charge of the 
pigeon house, which always contained from seven to 
eight hundred pigeons. So faithfully did she perform 
this duty, that they all knew her, and as soon as she 
appeared they came flying around her in the shape of a 
crown. It was, says her sister, a most charming spec- 
tacle — innocence attracting the birds, which are its 
symbol. 

In youth, we see her, already modest in deportment, 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 5 

serious in character, pious and recollected in the 
parochial church which she regularly attended, kneel- 
ing upon the cold stones even in winter. And this was 
not the only mortification she practiced ; to bodily 
fatigue, she added from her tenderest youth that of fast- 
ing every AVe.lnesday and Saturday. It was for a long 
time without her father's knowledge ; at length, discov- 
ering his daughter's pious ruse, he endeavored to dis- 
suade her ; but all his reproaches were not able to 
overcome her love of penance, she believed it her duty 
to prefer the interior voice of God to that of her father. 

In all this we clearly discern the character of the 
future Sister, with its virtues and defects. On one side, 
we see true simplicity, unselfishness, constant applica- 
tion to the most hxborious duties under the safeguard of 
innocence and fervor; on the other, a disposition accus- 
tomed to govern, and which could not yield without an 
internal struggle. 

During this life of rural toil, she never lost sight of 
her vocation. Several times was her hand asked in mar- 
riage, but she invariably answered that, long aflSanced to 
Jesus her good Saviour, she wished no other spouse than 
Him. But had she yet made choice of the Community 
she would enter ? It is doubtful, especially when we 
consider the following event of her life, which deeply 
impressed her, and always remained graven in the 
memory of her dear sister who related it. 

Being still in her father's house at Fain-les-Mou tiers, 
she had a dream, which we may consider as an inspira- 
tion from God and a preparation for her vocation. 

It seemed to her that she was in the Purgatorian 
chapel of the village church. An aged priest of vener- 
able appearance and remarkable countenance appeared 



6 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

in the chapel, and began to vest himself for Mass ; she 
assisted at it, deeply impressed with the presence of this 
unknown priest. At the end of Mass, he made her a 
sign to approach, but affrighted, she drew back, yet eyer 
keeping her eyes fixed upon him. 

Leaving the church, she went to visit a sick person in 
the village. Here, she again finds herself with the aged 
priest, who addresses her in these words : "My daughter, 
it is well to nurse the sick; you fly from me now, but 
one day you will be happy to come to me. God has His 
designs upon you, do not forget it." Amazed and filled 
with fear, the young girl still flies his presence. On 
leaving the house, it seemed to her that her feet scarcely 
touched the ground, and just at the moment of entering 
her home she awoke, and recognized that what had 
passed Avas only a dream. 

She was now eighteen years old, knowing scarcely how 
to read, much less write; as she Avas doubtless aware 
that this would be an obstacle to her admission into a 
Community, she obtained her father's permission to visit 
her sister-in-law, who kept a boarding school at Ohatil- 
lon, and there receive a little instruction. Her father, 
fearing to lose her, reluctantly consented to her departure. 

Incessantly occupied with thoughts of the vision we 
have already related, she spoke of it to the Cure of Cha- 
tillon, who said to her: "I believe, my child, that this 
old man is St. Vincent, who calls you to be a Daughter 
of Charity.'' Her sister-in-law having taken her to see 
the Sisters at Chatillon, she was astonished on entering 
their parlor to behold a picture, the perfect portrait of 
the priest who had said to her in her dream: "My 
daughter, you fly from me now, but one day you will be 
happy to come to me. God has His designs upon you, 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 7 

do not forget it." She immediately inquired the name 
of the original, and when told that it was St. Vincent, 
the mystery vanished ; she understood that it was he 
who was to be her Father. 

This circumstance was not of a nature to quench the 
ardor of her desires. She remained but a short time 
with her sister-in-law. The humble country girl was 
ill at ease amidst the young ladies of the school, and she 
learned nothing. 

It was at this time she became acquainted w^ith Sister 
Victoire Sejole, who was afterwards placed over the 
house at Moutiers-Saint-Jean. Though young, already 
thoroughly devoted to God and His poor, Sister Victoire 
divined the candor of this soul and its sufferings ; she 
immediately begged her Sister-Servant to admit Zoe as a 
postulant without delay, offering herself to bestow par- 
ticular pains upon her, instructing her in whatever was 
indispensable for her as a Daughter of Charity. 

But Zoe could not yet profit by the interest good Sister 
Victoire had taken in her; this happiness was to be 
dearly bought. 

When she acquainted her father with her intentions, 
the poor father s heart rebelled ; he had already given 
his eldest daughter to St. Vincent's family, and now, to 
sacrifice her who for years had so wisely directed his 
household, seemed indeed beyond his strength. He con- 
sidered a means of dissuading her from her plans, and 
thought he had found it by sending her to Paris, to one 
of his sons who kept a restaurant, telling him to seek by 
various distractions to extinguish in the sister's heart all 
idea of her vocation. Time of trial and suffering for the 
young aspirant, who, far from losing the desire of conse- 
crating herself to God, only sighed more ardently after 
the happy day w^hen she could quit the world. 



8 THE MIEACULOUS MEDAL. 

She now thought of writing to her sister-in-law at 
Chatillon, and interesting her in the matter. The latter, 
touched with tliis mark of confidence, had Zoe come to 
her, and finally obtained the father's consent. Zoe 
became a postulant in the house of the Sisters at Cha- 
tillon, in the beginning of the year 1830. 

Zoe Laboure was very happy to find, at last, the end of 
those severe trials which had lasted almost two years. 
The 21st of April, 1830, she reached that much desired 
haven, the Seminary.^ 

Behold her, then, in possession of all that had been 
the cher'shed object of her desires and affections from 
earliest childhood ! Her soul could now dilate itself in 
prayer, and in the joyful consciousness of being entirely 
devoted to the service of its God. 

During the whole of her Seminary term, she had the 
happiness of having for Director of her conscience 
M. Jean Marie Aladel, of venerated memory, a priest of 
eminent piety, excellent judgment and great experience, 
austere as a hermit, indefatigable in work, a true son of 
St. Vincent de Paul. He was a prudent guide for her 
in the extraordinary ways whither God had called her. 
He knew how to hold her in check against the illusions 
of imagination, and especially the seductions of pride at 
the same time, that he encouraged her to walk in the paths 
of perfection by the practice of the most solid virtues. 
M. Aladel did not lose sight of her, even after she was sent 
to the Hospital d'Enghien. He thereby gained much for 
his own sanctification and the mission confided to him. 

1 St. Vincent desired that the sojourn which the young Sisters make 
at the Mother House, to be there imbued with, and instructed in, the 
spirit and duties of their vocation, should be called the Seminary term ; 
he feared lest the word "novitiate," applicable to religious Orders, 
might cause Ihe Daughters of Charity to be regarded as such. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 9 

Informed by her of God's designs, he devoted himself 
unreservedly to the propagation of devotion to Mary 
Immaculate, and during the last years of his life, to 
extend among the young girls educated by the Sisters of 
St. Vincent, the association of Children of Mary. He 
died in 1865, eleven years before his spiritual daughter.^ 

Three days before the magnificent ceremony of the 
translation of St. Vincent de Paul's relics to the chapel 
of St. Lazare, a feast which was the signal of renewed 
life for the Congregation of the Mission, Sister Laboure 
was favored with a prophetic vision. The same God who 
had called Vincent from the charge of his father s flocks 
to make him a vessel of election, was now going to con- 
fide to a poor country girl the secrets of His mercy. 
Let us give the account of this first impression in her 
own simple language. 

" It was Wednesday before the translation of St. Vin- 
cent de Paul's relics. Happy and delighted at the idea 
of taking part in this grand celebration, it seemed to me 
that I no longer cared for anything on earth. 

'' I begged St. Vincent to give me whatever graces I 
needed, also to bestow the same upon his two families 
and all France. It appeared to me that France was in 
sore need of them. In fine, I prayed St. Vincent to 
teach me what I ought to ask, and also that I might ask 
it with a lively faith." 

She returned from St. Lazare's filled with the thought 
of her blessed Father, and believed that she found him 
again at the Community. ^^I had," said she, "the con- 
solation of seeing his heart above the little shrine where 
his relics are exposed. It appeared to me three succes- 

1 The Life of M. Aladel has been published ; 1 volume in 12mo. It 
can be procured in Paris, rue du Bac, 140. 



10 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

sive days in a different manner : First, of a pale, clear 
color, and this denoted peace, serenity, innocence and 
union. 

"Afterwards, I saw it the color of fire, symbolic of the 
charity that should be enkindled in hearts. It seemed 
to me that charitv was to be reanimated and extended 
even to the extremities of the world. 

^•'Lastly, it appeared a very dark red, a livid hue, 
which plunged my heart in sadness. It filled me with 
fears I could scarcely overcome. I know not why, nor 
how, but this sadness seemed to be connected with a 
change of government." 

It was strange, indeed, that Sister Laboure, at that 
time, should have these political forebodings. 

An interior voice said to her : "The heart of St. Vin- 
cent is profoundly afflicted at the great misfortunes 
which will overwhelm France." The last day of the 
octave, she saw the same heart vermilion color, and the 
interior voice whispered : " The heart of St. Vincent is 
a little consoled, because he has obtained from God 
(through Mary's intercession) protection for his two 
families in the midst of these disasters ; they shall not 
perish, and God will use them to revive the Faith." 

To ease her mind, she related this vision to her con- 
fessor, who told her to think no more about it ; Sister 
Laboure never dreamed of aught but obeying, and in no 
way did she ever reveal it to her companions. 

We find this singular favor mentioned in a letter 
written by Sister Catherine, in the year 1856, at the 
command of M. Aladel. The year she entered the 
Seminary, this worthy missionary was almost the orly 
chaplain of the Community. The Congregation of the 
Mission, scarcely restored at this epoch, counted at its 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 11 

Mother House but nine priests in all, and at least half 
that number were in the Seminary. M. Etienne, of 
venerated memory, was Procurator General, and M. Sal- 
liorgne, Superior of St. Vincent's two families. If the 
laborers were few, the deficiency was supplied by the 
devotedness of these few, who multiplied themselves for 
the service of the Community. The Divine bounty has 
prepared for their charity a beautiful recompense. 

According to the notes which Sister Catherine wrote 
later in obedience to M. Aladel, the humble daughter 
during all her Seminary term enjoyed the undisguised 
sight of Him w^iose presence is concealed from our 
senses in the Sacrament of His love. '^ Except,'' said 
she, '' when I doubted, then I saw nothing, because I 
wished to fathom the mystery, fearing to be deceived.'^ 

Our Lord deigned to show Himself to His humble 
servant, conformably to the mysteries of the day, and, 
in connexion with this, she mentions one circumstance 
relative to the change of government, which could not 
have been foreseen by human means. 

"On the Feast of the Holy Trinity,'^ says she, "Our 
Lord during Holy Mass appeared to me in the Most 
Blessed Sacrament as a king with the cross upon His 
breast. Just at the Gospel, it seemed to me that the 
cross and all His regal ornaments fell at His feet, and 
He remained thus despoiled. It was then the gloomiest 
and saddest thoughts oppressed me, for I understood 
from this that the king would be stripped of his royal 
garb, and great disasters would ensue." 

When the humble daughter had these forebodings 
concerning the king, he was then apparently at the 
pinnacle of fortune. The siege of Algiers w^as in pro- 
gress, and everything predicted the happy success of his 



12 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

arms. During the early part of July, this almost impreg- 
nable fortress of the pirates fell into the power of France; 
the whole kingdom rejoiced at the memorable victory, 
and the churches resounded with hymns of thanksgiving. 

Alas ! this triumph was to be quickly followed by a 
bloody revolution, which would overthrow the throne 
and menace the altars. That very month, the clergy 
and religious communities of Paris were seized with 
terror. M. Aladel was greatly alarmed for the Daughters 
of Charity and the Missionaries, but Sister Laboure 
never ceased to reassure him, saying that the two com- 
munities had nothing to fear, they would not perish. 

One day she told him that a bishop had sought refuge 
at St. Lazare's, that he could be received without hesita- 
tion, and might remain there in safety. M. Aladel paid 
little attention to these predictions, but returning sadly 
to his house, he w^as accosted on entering by M. Sal- 
horgne, Avho told him that Mgr. Frayssinous, Bishop of 
Hermopolis, and Minister of Keligious AVorship under 
Charles X, had just come, begging an asylum from the 
persecution that pursued him. 

These revelations bore an impress of truth which it 
was difficult to ignore; so in feigning to mistrust them, 
M. Aladel listened with the deepest interest. He began 
to persuade himself that the spirit of God inspired this 
young Sister; and after seeing the accomplishment of 
several things she had foretold, he now fdt disposed to 
give credence to other and more marvellous communica- 
tions she had confided to him. 

According to her testimony, the Most Holy Virgin 
had appeared to her, these apparitions were repeated 
various times, she had been charged to acquaint her 
Director with what she had seen and heard, an impor- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 13 

tant mission had been confided to her, that of having 
strnck and circulated a medal in honor of the Immacu- 
late Conception. 

The third chapter of this volume gives a detailed 
account of these visions, just as they have been trans- 
mitted to ns from the hand of the Sister herself. 

Notwithstanding the sensible assurances of the Sister's 
veracity, M. Aladel listened to these communications 
with mistrust, as he tells us himself, in the canonical 
investigation prescribed in 1836 by Mgr. de Quelen ; he 
professed to consider them of little value, as if they had 
been the pious vagaries of a young girl's imagination. 
He told her to regard them in the same light, and he 
even wxnt so far as to humble her, and reproach her 
with a w^ant of submission. The poor Sister, unable to 
convince him, dared speak no more of the apparitions of 
the Blessed Virgin ; she never mentioned the subject to 
him except when she felt herself tormented and con- 
strained to do so by an almost irresistible desire. 

''Such w^as the reason," says M. Aladel, "that she 
spoke to him concerning the matter but three times, 
although the visions Avere much oftener repeated." 
After thus relieving her heart, she became perfectly 
calm. The investigation also shows us that Sister Cath- 
erine sought no other confidant of her secrets than her 
confessor ; she never mentioned them to her Superior or 
any one else. It was to M. Aladel Mary had directed her, 
to him only did she speak, and she even exacted of him 
the promise that her name w^ould never be mentioned.^ 

After this pledge, M. Aladel related the vision to M. 
Etienne and others, but without designating the Sister's 

1 Verbal process of the inyestigation made by order of Mgr. de 
Quelen in 1836, upon the origin of the medal, MS. p. 10. 



14 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

identity, directly or indirectly. We sball see later how 
Providence alwciys guarded her secret. 

These calestial communications, we may easily imagine, 
produced in the soul of Sister Laboure profound impres- 
sions, which usually remained even after she had finished 
her devotions, and which rendered her in some degree 
oblivious of what was passing around her. It is related 
that after one of these apparitions she rises like the 
others at the given signal, leaves the chapel, and takes 
her place in the refectory, but remains so absorbed that 
she never thinks of touching the meal apportioned her. 

Sister Oaillaud, third Directress, going her rounds, 
says bluntly to her: "Ah! Sister Laboure, are you still 
in an ecstasy?" This recalls her to herself, and the 
good Directress, who knows not how truly she has 
spoken, suspects nothing. 

Meanwhile, Sister Catherine approached the end of 
her Seminary term, and in spite of her affirmations at 
once so artless and so exact, her Director always refused 
to credit them. She had the affliction of leaving the 
Mother House without being able to obtain anything, 
even a hope. 

It was because the affair was graver than she thought ; 
the supernatural origin of the favor he was directed to 
communicate to the public could be contested, and the 
prudent Director saw that in such a matter he could 
neither exact too many proofs, nor take too many pre- 
cautions. 

Sister Laboure was clothed with the holy habit in the 
month of January, 1831, and sent under the name of 
Sister Catherine to the Hospital d'Enghien in the fau- 
bourg St. Antoine. Here she could continue her com- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 15 

miinications with M. Aladel. This good father did not 
lose sight of her; though apparently giving no credit to 
his penitent revelations, he was studying her carefully to 
convince himself whether or not these visions w^ere the 
product of a weak, enthusiastic mind and excited imagi- 
nation. But the more he studied her, the more confident 
he felt that there was nothing of this in Sister Laboure. 
The judgment formed of her by the Directresses of the 
Seminary was, that she had a somewhat reserved but 
calm, positive character, which M. Aladel qualified as 
cold and even apathetic. 

This last epithet, however, was not applicable to 
Sister ('atherine, in w^hom her companions, on the con- 
trary, recognized a very impulsive temperament. But 
his opinion proves, at least, that there was no excessive 
imagination. Moreover, she proved herself solidly 
grounded in virtue, whilst no one ever perceived any- 
thing extraordinary in her demeanor, and especially in 
her devotions. 

Before going to her new destination, Sister Laboure 
passed some days in one of the large establishments of 
Paris. Wishing to examine the young Sister more 
leisurely, M. Aladel made a pretext of visiting the Sis- 
ters at this house. The account of these visions had 
already been circulated throughout the Community, and 
it was know^n that M. Aladel had received the Sisters' 
confidence ; hence, as soon as he appeared, the Sisters 
surrounded him, and each one eagerly plied him with 
questions. He had his eye upon Sister Catherine, who, 
without being disconcerted, quietly mingled her inqui- 
ries with the others. The worthy missionary w^as reas- 
sured, imderstanding that the Sister kept her secret. 

The last time the Blessed Virgin appeared to Sister 



16 THE MIEACULOUS MEDAL. 

Laboiire in the sanctuary of the Mother House, she said 
to her : " My daughter, henceforth you will see me no 
more, but you will hear my voice during your medita- 
tions.'^ And, indeed, during the whole course of her 
life, she had frequent communications of this kind. 
They were no longer sensible apparitions, but mental 
yisions, that she well knew how to distinguish from the 
illusions of imagination or the impressions of a pious 
fervor. 

Her mission had not been accomplished in regard to 
the medal. Some months elapsed, and the Immaculate 
Virgin complained to Sister Catherine that her orders 
had not been executed. 

''But, my good Mother," replied Sister Catherine, 
''you see that he will not believe me.'' "Be calm," was 
the answer; "a day will come when he will do what I 
desire; he is my servant, and he would fear to dis- 
please me." 

These words were soon verified. 

When the pious missionary received this communica- 
tion, he began to reflect seriously. "If Mary is dis- 
pleased," said he, "it is not with the young Sister, whose 
position prevents her doing anything ; it must be with 
me." This thought troubled him.^ A long time pre- 
vious, he had related these visions to M. Etienne, then 
Procurator General. One day, at the beginning of the 
year 1882, when they had gone together on a visit to 
Mgr. de Quelen, M. Aladel profited by the opportunity 
to speak to the latter of these apparitions, and especially 
of his own embarrassment, since the Blessed Virgin had 
complained to the Sister of the delay in fulfilling her 
commands. 

i Verbal process of the investigation, p. 5. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 17 

Mgr. de Quelen replied that, seeing nothing in it at 
all contrary to faith, he had no objection to the medal 
being struck at once. He even asked them to send him 
some of the first. 

The ravages of the cholera, which had broken out 
meanwhile, retarded the execution of this design until 
June ; the 30th of that month, two thousand medals 
were struck, and M. Aladel hastened to send some of 
them to the Archbishop of Paris. 

Mgr.. de Quelen wished to make an immediate trial of 
its efficacy; he was very much troubled concerning the 
spiritual condition of the former Archbishop of Mechlin, 
Mgr. de Pradt, now on the verge of death ; he desired 
his conversion so much the more earnestly, as the death 
of this prelate might be the occasion of scandal and 
grave disorders, such as have accompanied the interment 
of the constitutional bishop Gregory. Providing himself 
with a medal, he went to visit the sick man. At first he 
was refused admittance, but very soon the dying man 
repents of it, and sends him an apology, with a request 
to call again. In this interview, he testifies to His 
Grace a sincere repentance for his past life, retracts all 
his errors, and after receiving the Last Sacraments, he 
dies that very night in the arms of the Archbishop, 
who, filled with a holy joy, eagerly imparts this consoling 
news to M. Aladel. 

The worthy missionary sent a medal to Sister Cathe- 
rine, w^ho received it with great devotion and respect,^ and 
said: "Now it must be disseminated.'^ This was easy 
to do among the Daughters of Charity, who had all 
heard whispers of these apparitions; the eagerness to 
receive the medals was general, they were distributed 

1 Vertal process of the investigation. 

2* 



18 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

freely, and cures and conversions multiplied themselves 
accordingly in all ranks of society, so that very soon the 
medal received the appellation of miraculous. 

A witness of these wonders, the heart of Father Aladel 
dilated with joy, and he believed it his duty to publish 
a notice of the origin of the medal, and thus satisfy all 
the inquiries addressed him on the subject. For the 
glory of God and Mary, he added an account of all the 
consoling facts that had come to his knowledge. 

What said Sister Catherine in hearing of these won- 
derful occurrences ? Less than any one ; she was aston- 
ished ; doubtless her joy was great, but it was confined 
within the silence of her heart. Occasionally she sent 
some new message to M. Aladel, begging him to have an 
altar erected commemorative of the apparition, and tell- 
ing him that many graces and indulgences would be 
attached thereto, and fall most abundantly upon himself 
and the Community. 

She urged him also to solicit particular spiritual 
favors, assuring him that he might ask freely, for all his 
requests would be granted. 

But this worthy priest, whose position in the Commu- 
nity, as we have already said, was that of simple chap- 
lain, prudently kept silence, holding himself in reserve 
until the favorable moment should arrive for him to 
act. Some years after, M. Etienne, his intimate friend, 
was elected Superior General, and he was made assistant 
of the Congregation and Director of the Daughters of 
Charity; in concert, they formed the design of erecting 
to the Immaculate Mary an altar more in accordance 
with her maternal bounty and the gratitude of her chil- 
dren. Providence itself seemed to co-operate with the 
execution of their plan, the Community receiving from 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 19 

the goyernment just then a present of two magnificent 
blocks of white marble, in recognition of the Sisters' 
services to the cholera patients and their orphans. One 
was destined for an altar, the other for a statue of the 
Immaculate Mary. 

Meanwhile, the number of inmates at the Mother 
House, the Seminary especially, increased daily. The 
new life infused into the Community had awakened 
many vocations, and the centre of reunion had become 
inadequate in size to its purposes, the chapel particularly 
w^as much too small. In enlarging it, the architect had 
a difficult problem to resolve : he must respect the sanc- 
tuary honored by Mary's visit, and yet extend the enclo- 
sure. He did so by adding side aisles, on a lower foun- 
dation, surmounted with galleries. If the edifice, always 
too low and small, gained nothing in the way of art, it 
has, at least, the advantage of preserving intact the 
exact spot where the Most Holy Virgin appeared. 

The former altar was taken into the side chapel dedi- 
cated to St. Vincent, and the holy founder was there 
represented holdiug that heart, burning with love of 
God and the poor, as it had appeared to Sister Catherine 
in the vision. A plaster statue of the Immaculate Con- 
ception occupied temporarily the place over the main 
altar, destined for the marble statue, which for various 
causes was not solemnly inaugurated till 1856. 

It was a day of great rejoicing for the Mother House ; 
the statue was not a cold, mute representation ; ... it 
was an eloquent image of Mary ; here had this merciful 
Mother spoken and promised her graces; daily expe- 
rience had confirmed these promises, and the statue still 
awakens in the hearts of those who come to pray at her 
feet, the deepest and tender emotions. Yes, Mary is 



20 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

indeed here. She speaks to the hearts of her children. 
She makes them feel that she loves and protects them! 

Sister Catherine said also to M. Aladel, in the early 
period of her vocation: "The Blessed Virgin wishes 
you to found a Congregation, of which you will be the 
Superior. It is a Sodality of Children of Mary; the 
Blessed Virgin will shower many graces upon it, and 
indulgences will be granted it.'^ 

The reader will see, in the course of the volume, how 
this work was realized, and how adaiirably Providence 
has extended the association. 

She also told him that the month of May would be 
celebrated with much magnificence, and become univer- 
sal in the Church ; that the month of St. Joseph would 
likewise be kept with solemnity; that devotion to this 
great Saint would greatly increase, as well as devotion 
to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

So many miracles wrought everywhere and every day, 
so many signal testimonies of Mary's protection, made 
it an obligation on the Community, and especially the 
Seminary where they had originated, to perpetuate so 
precious a souvenir. 

Two pictures were therefore ordered, one representing 
the vision of the medal, the other that of St. Vincent's 
heart. The artist, wishing to depict the Blessed Virgin 
as accurately as possible, consulted M. Aladel as to the 
color of the veil. >k >k ^ * >k >k * 

The missionary's embarrassment was great; he had 
forgotten this item, but attaching more importance to 
the details than Sister Catherine thought, he wrote to 
her, and under the pretext of warning her against the 
illusions of the demon, he asked her to describe again 
the Blessed Virgin's appearance in the vision of the 



THE MTKACULOUS MEDAL. 21 

medal. Sister Catherine made this answer: "Just now, 
my Father, it would be impossible for me to recall all 
that I saw, one detail alone remains, it is, that the 
Blessed Virgin's veil was the color of morning light." 

This was jnst what M. Aladel wished to know, and 
precisely the only thing Sister Catherine could recollect. 

These little incidents, regulated by Providence, Avere 
not lost ; they increased the confidence of the wise 
Director. When the pictures were placed in the Semi- 
nary, M. Aladel discreetly took measures to have Sister 
Catherine come to see them, just at the very time he 
would be there as if by chance. Another Sister, acci- 
dentally meeting them there, has a suspicion of the 
truth, and turning suddenly to the worthy Father, she 
says : " This is certainly the Sister who had the vision ! " 
He is greatly embarrassed, and sees no way of extri- 
cating himself from the difficulty, except by calling 
upon Sister Catherine to answer. She laughed, saying : 
" You have guessed well," but with such simplicity that 
the other Sister said to the Father: "Oh! I see plainly 
that it is not she; you would not have asked her to 
tell me." 

During the course of her long life. Sister Catherine 
was subjected to trials of this sort. 

The details Mgr. de Quelen had received from M. 
Aladel concerning the vision of the medal interested 
him deeply, and he was anxious to become acquainted 
with the favored Sister. M. Aladel replied that the 
Sister insisted upon remaining unknown. "As for that," 
said His Grace, "she can put on a veil and speak to me 
without being seen." M. Aladel excused himself anew, 
saying it was for him a secret of the confessional. 

M. Ratisbonne, miraculously converted in 1842 by the 



22 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

apparition of the Miraculous Medal^ also ardently desired 
to speak with the Sister first favored by this celestial 
vision, and he often but vainly entreated her Director's 
permission. 

Those around her frequently asked embarrassing ques- 
tions, or expressed their suspicions. When too closely 
pressed, she found means of making the curious feel 
their indiscretion, so that it was not repeated. More- 
over, her great simplicity ordinarily disconcerted her 
interrogators. 

On several occasions, the Blessed Virgin seemed to 
aid her ; thus, in the investigation of 1836, and in the 
deposition made to the Promoter, M. Aladel declared 
that he had vainly endeavored to persuade Sister Cathe- 
rine to be present, he could not overcome her repugnance ; 
and moreover, they would interrogate her to no purpose, 
she had forgotten everything concerning the event. 

The same thing happened one day, it is said, in the 
presence of M. Etienne, then Superior General ; he could 
not succeed in making her speak, she remembered noth- 
ing. It is this w^hich gave rise to the rumor in the 
Community, that the vision Ava? completely effaced from 
the memory of the Sister who had been favored with it. 

Thanks to this opinion. Sister Catherine was enabled 
to remain long years truly concealed in her modest 
duties; employed first in the kitchen, then in the clothes- 
room ; afterwards, for nearly forty years, she had charge 
of the old men's ward of the Hospital d'Enghien, com- 
bining with this duty the care of the poultry yard. 

She loved these humble duties. Everything was kept 
in perfect order, and for her there was no greater happi- 
ness than that of being among her poor. At the end of 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 23 

her life, she spoke of it as her chief consolation. " I 
have always," said she, ^' loved to stay at home; when- 
ever there was question of a walk, I yielded my turn to 
others that I might serve my poor." 

And this was true. One walk only Avas she unwilling 
to forego, that which led to the Community, and she 
knew no other road but that to the Mother House. 
When she could make this visit she never yielded her 
turn. 

Her attraction for silence and the hidden life always 
kept her in the rear, as the place most suitable for her, 
and most favorable to the spirit of recollection. She 
ceded to none the lowest and most repulsive duties of 
her ward, duties which she termed the pearls of a 
Daughter of Charity; she moved calmly and quietly, 
avoiding precipitation, and when advanced in years, the 
young Sisters, her assistants, often heard from her lips 
these words : *^Ah I my dear, do not be so agitated, be 
more gentle." 

She regarded as one of the most cherished souvenirs 
of her Community life, that of her first Sister-Servant, 
'^a dear soul," said she, "who every year sent the first 
fruits of her garden to the indigent families of the 
faubourg, or to her old men. The Sisters were not 
allowed to touch them until this had been done." 

This aged Superior w^as Sister Savard, who never sup- 
posed that Sister Catherine was favored with especial 
graces, and particularly with the vision of the Blessed 
Virgin. 

Our humble daughter Catherine respected and loved 
all the Sisters under whom she served, and never did 
she utter a word against them ; she saw only their vir- 
tues and good qualities. 



24 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

"Child of duty and labor, but especially of humility/' 
says her last Superior, " Sister Catherine was not truly 
appreciated except by those who studied her sufficiently 
to perceive the great simplicity, uprightness, and purity 
pervading her soul, lier mind, her heart, her whole 
person. 

" Never arrogating to herself the slightest merit on 
account of the singular favors with which the Immacu- 
late Virgin had loaded her, she said, one day towards 
the close of her life, when Providence permitted a slight 
allusion to this subject: 'I, favored Sister! I liave been 
only an instrument ; it was not for myself the Blessed 
Virgin appeared to me. I knew nothing, ]\ot even how 
to write; it was in the Community I learned all I know; 
and because of my ignorance the Blessed Virgin chose 
me, that no one might aoubt." 

Is not the conclusion inspired by the spirit of St. Vin- 
cent, " I have been chosen, because being nothing, no 
one could doubt that such great things are the work 
of God.'^ 

Sister Catherine cared little for the esteem or contempt 
of others. Despite her rigid silence, there always 
hovered over her the suspicion that it was she who had 
seen the Blessed Virgin ; no one dared tell her so ; but 
in consequence of the suspicion, she was more closely 
observed, and more severely judged than any one else, 
and if by chance her companions discovered in her some 
slight weakness of nature, or even the absence of some 
heroic virtue, the thought was immediately rejected that 
the Blessed Virgin had chosen so ordinary a j)erson. 

The testimony of one of her first companions confirms 
the impression on this point, an impression repeated a 
hundred fold. This companion writes to Sister Duf es : 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 25 

" Having passed six years with Sister Catherine, and 
worked constantly with her one year, it would seem that 
I could cite a great number of details full of interest 
and edification ; but I am forced to confess that her life 
was so simple, so uniform, that I find nothing in it to 
remark. Notwithstanding the whispered assurances that 
she was the Sister so favored by the Blessed Virgin, I 
scarcely credited it, so much w^as her life like that of 
others. Sometimes, I sought to enlighten myself indi- 
rectly on the subject by questioning her as to the impres- 
sion such extraordinay occurrences had produced in the 
Seminary, hoping that her answers would betray her, 
and thereby satisfy my curiosity, but she replied with so 
much simplicity that my hopes Avere always deceived.^' 

It is true. Sister Catherine had nothing remarkable 
about her, and yet nothing common or trivial. 

Her height was above the medium; her regular features 
bore the seal of modesty; and her clear blue eye was 
indicative of candor. She was industrious, simple, and 
not the least mystical in her spiritual exercises; she 
affected neither great virtues nor particular devotions, 
well pleased to cherish them in the depths of her heart, 
and practice them according to the rule with fidelity and 
exactness. 

After her death, some notes were found written by her 
own hand during one of the annual retreats. Every- 
thing in them is simple, solid, practical, and there is not 
one w^ord of allusion to the extraordinary graces she had 
received ; even when addressing the Blessed Virgin, 
nothing recalls the familiarity with which Mary had 
treated her. Here are some extracts, in which no changes 
have been made except those of fault-spelling. 

" I will take Mary for my model at the commencement 



26 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

of all my actions ; in everything, I will consider if Mary 
were engaged tlins, liow and wherefore she would do this, 
with what intention. ^ Oh! how beantiful and consoling 
is the name of Mary . . . Mary ! 

" Eesolution to offer myself to God without reserve, to 
bear every little contradiction in a spirit of humility and 
penance, to beg in all my prayers that the will of God 
may be accomplished in me. my God ! do with me 
as Thou wilt ! Mary ! grant me your love, without 
which I perish ; bestow upon me all the graces I need ! 
Immaculate Heart of Mary ! obtain for me the faith 
and love which attached you to the foot of the cross of 
Jesus Christ ! 

" sweet objects of my affections, Jesus and Mary, 
let me suffer for you, let me die for you, let me be all for 
you and no longer anything for myself! 

" Not to complain of the little contradictions I meet 
with among the poor, and to pray for those who cause 
me suffering. Mary, obtain for me this grace, through 
your virginal purity ! 

" To employ my time well, and not to spend one 
moment unprofitably. Mary, happy those who serve 
you and put their confidence in you ! 

" Mary, Mary, Mary, pray, pray, pray for us, poor 
sinners, now and at the hour of our death ! Mary, Mary ! 

^- In my temptations and times of spiritual dryness, I 
will always have recourse to Mary, who is purity itself. 
Mary, conceived without sin ! * ^ * * 

" Mary, make me love you, and it will not be diffi- 
cult to imitate you ! 

" Humility, simplicity and charity are the foundation 
of our holy vocation. Mary, make me understand 
these holy virtues ! St. Vincent, pray, pray for us ! 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 27 

" Mary, conceived without sin, pray, pray for us ! 
Deign, Queen of Angels and of men, to cast a favor- 
able eye upon the whole world . . . especially upon 
France . . . and each person in particular ! Mary, 
inspire us what to ask of you for our happiness ! " 

Sister Catherine lived forty-six years in a large estab- 
lishment, under the direction of five successive Superiors ; 
she was brought in contact with many companions of 
different dispositions and different degrees of virtue, 
consequently the esteem in which she was held varied. 
If they sometimes gave her to understand that her mind 
was failing, such things troubled her little, and she 
always quietly went her way, receiving kindness with 
grateful simplicity, and ungracious words without 
flinching. 

Faithful to the rule with such uniform exactness, that 
merit seems to disappear before habit, she never uttered 
a word against charity. Even when age had given her 
some privileges over her young companions, rarely did 
she allow herself to blame or advise them; not, at least, 
unless they consulted her, then she advised submission. 
"Everything is in that,'' said she, "w^ithout obedience. 
Community life is not possible.'' To the very end of 
her days, her obedience to her Superior was as ]3erfect as 
when she left the Seminary. 

We must not, however, suppose th:it Sister Catherine 
was of a yielding, gentle temperament, to which obedience 
was natural ; no, on the contrary, she had a strong will 
and quick temper. Thoroughly versed in household 
labors, she performed her part with great care and assi- 
duity, and directed most scrupulously all that was 
entrusted to her charge. Her impulsive temper some- 



28 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

times displayed itself in little sallies of impatience, the 
firm tone of her words revealing at times what virtue 
ordinarily caused her to repress. When the first heat 
was over, she immediately repented of it and humbled 
herself. 

It was often observed that this first movement of sur- 
prise, just ready to escape, was held captive, not by 
human respect, but by a superior will ; thus proving 
that her implicit obedience was due her fidelity to grace. 

Understanding her nature, we can now form an idea 
of what Sister Catherine suffered from the opposition 
she experienced in realizing her mission ; even though 
these contradictions, especially after the medal had been 
struck, were more apparent than real on the part of her 
wise Director, they were none the less painful to her. 
Might we not say that these trials constituted an interior 
martyrdom sustained by God and known to him alone? 

Sister Catherine, despite her strong constitution, was 
not exempt from physical sufi^ering, and her companions 
were sometimes astonished at the simplicity with which 
she asked for little comforts that a mortified soul would 
have denied itself. These slight defects formed a veil 
that obscured the sight of many, and partially concealed 
the beauties of her soul. 

Apparently, the very depths of this simple nature 
might be read at a glance, and yet she faithfully guarded 
the secrets of God. In her were seen^ by a singular 
contrast, prudence and discretion allied to perfect sim- 
plicity. Thus, whilst some found her a little too 
thoughtful of her health, others observed that on all 
great feasts of the Blessed Virgin, particularly that of 
the Immaculate Conception, she was either sick or suffer- 
ing acute pain, which trials the humble Sister received 
as a favor from her celestial Mother. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 29 

The Superior of the Hospital d'Enghien rehites that, 
one year, wlien Sister Catherine had gone with several 
of her companions to spend the beautiful Feast of 
December 8th at the Community, on getting :nto the 
omnibus that evening she fell and broke her wrist. She 
said not a word, and no one perceived the accident. 
Some minutes after, seeing that she held her arm in her 
handkerchief. Sister Duf es inquired what had happened. 
^*Ah I Sister,'' she quietly replied, "I cm holding my 
bouquet ; every year the Blessed Virgin sends me one of 
this sort." 

Detachment from the esteem and affection of creatures 
was still another trait charaQteristic of our dear Sisfer. 
God sufficed her; that God who had manifested Himself 
to her in so wonderful a manner, that Immaculate Virgin 
whose chnrms had ravished her heart, were her sole joy 
and delight. The Blessed Virgin, pointing to the sacred 
tabernacle where her divine Son reposes, had said to her : 
'' In all your trials, my daughter, it is there you must 
seek consolation." Faithful to these words of her good 
Mother, Sister Catherine in moments of trial sought the 
chapel, whence she soon returned to her occupations 
with renewed serenity of soul and countenance ever 
cheerful. Jesus and Mary alone received the confidence 
of her sufferings and her fervor, so that her yirtues in a 
measure were concealed from creatures. 

One of the Sisters of the house says that, having often 
observed her closely to discover, if possible, some trace 
of her communications w^ith God, she could find nothing 
especial except that during prayer she did not cast down 
her eyes, but always kept them fixed upon the image of 
Mary. She remarks, also, that Sister Catherine never 
wept except from great anguish of heart, but many 

3* 



30 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

times she saw her shed tears in abundance on listening 
to some traits of protection or some conversion obtained 
through the Blessed Virgin s intercession, or, as in 1871, 
at the evils afflicting the Church and France. 

Solidly pious in the midst of companions apparently 
more so, we see nothing indeed in our humble Sister to 
distinguish her from others. Only one especial circum- 
stance has been remarked, the importance she attached 
to the recitation of the chaplet. Let us hear what her 
Sister-Servant says on this point — 

" We were always struck," writes Sister Dates, " when 
saying the chaplet in common^ with the grave and pious 
manner in which our de'^v companion pronounced the 
words of the Angelical Salutation. And what convinced 
us of the depth of her respect and devotion was the fact 
that she, always so humble, so reserved, could not refrain 
from censuring the indifference, the want of attention, 
which too often accompanies the recitation of a prayer, 
so beautiful and efficacious." 

Her love for the two families of St. Vincent, far from 
diminishing with age, only incited her to employ con- 
tinually in their behalf the sole influence at her disposal, 
prayer ; regularly every Aveek, she offered a Communion 
to attract the benediction of Heaven upon the Congre- 
gation of the Mission ; her prayers for her Community 
were incessant. 

Sister Catherine always retained the same duty at the 
Hospital d'Enghien; with truly admirable solicitude, 
she nursed the old men entrusted to her, at the same 
time not neglecting the pigeon house, which recalled the 
purest and sweetest joys of her childhood. The young 
girl of former days, whom we have seen with her dear 
pigeons hovering round her, was now a poor Sister, quite 
aged, but none the less attentive to her little charge. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 31 

Sister Catherine was, then, the soul of the little family 
in charge of the hospital. During these later years, the 
number of our Sisters had increased considerably, and 
consequently the administration of the two houses, 
d'Enghien and Eeuilly, being very difficult for one 
person, an assistant was sent me for the hospital. If 
Sister Catherine had not. for years been moulded to 
obedience and abnegation, it would have been hard to 
her quick, impulsive nature, to recognize the authority 
of a companion so much younger than herself; but far 
diflferent were the thoughts of this humble Sister, who 
always endeavored to ab^se herself. 

" She was the first to tender her perfect submission. 
* Sister,' said she, ' be at ease, it suffices that our Supe- 
riors have spoken ; we will receive Sister Angelique as 
one sent from God, and obey her as we do you.' Her 
conduct justified her words. 

"Although Sister Catherine guarded rigorously the 
supernatural communications she had received, she occa- 
sionally expressed her views to me on actual occurrences, 
speaking then as if inspired by God. 

" Thus, at the time of the Commune, she told me that 
I would leave the house accompanied by a certain Sister, 
that I would return the 31st of May, and she assured me 
I need have no fears, as the Blessed Virgin would take 
my place and guard the house. At the time, I paid very 
little attention to the good Sister's words. 

"I left, indeed, and realized, contrary to my plans, 
and without a thought on the subject, all that Sister 
Catherine had predicted. On my return from the Com- 
munity, May 31st, I expressed my anxiety concerning 
the house, which had been in the hands of the Commu- 
nists, and, it was said, plundered. Sister Catherine 



32 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

endeavored to reassure me, repeating that the Blessed 
Virgin had taken care of everything, she was confident 
of it, for the Blessed Virgin had promised her. 

" We found on our arrival that this Mother of mercy 
had, indeed, guarded and saved all, notwithstanding the 
long occupation of our dear house by a mob of furies, 
whose Satanic pleasure was to destroy. 

" One circumstance in particular struck me most 
forcibly; these wretches had made useless efforts to over- 
throw the statue of Mary Immaculate placed in the 
garden — it had withstood all their sacrilegious attempts. 

" Sister Catherine hastened to place upon the head of 
our august Queen the crown she had taken with her in 
our exile, telling the Blessed Virgin she restored it in 
token of gratitude. 

'' Many times did Sister Catherine thus reveal her 
thoughts to me with the simplicity of a child. When 
her predictions were not realized, she would quietly say: 
Mil! well, Sister, I was mistaken. I believed what I 
told. you. I am very glad the truth is known.' ^ 

" Meanwhile, time fled, and our good Sister often spoke 
of her approaching end. Our venerated Superiors began 
to feel anxious about losing her, and the Superior Gen- 

1 Persons favored with supernatural communications are not thereby 
preserved from error. They may "be deceived in misunderstanding- what 
they see or hear, they may "be duped hy the illusions of the demon, they 
may involuntarily mingle their own ideas with those which come from 
Grod, and they may fail in transmitting- with accuracy what has "been 
revealed to them. We must also remark that prophecies are frequently 
conditional, and their accomplishment depends upon the manner in 
which the conditions are fulfilled ; so that, when the Church approves 
these private revelations, she does nothing more than declare that, after 
grave examination, they may "be published for the edification of the 
faithful, and that the proofs given are sufficient to ensure belief. 

To the Sacred Writers alone belongs the privilege of infallibility in 
receiving and transmitting divine inspirations. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 33 

eral one day sent for her to come to the Community that 
he might receive from her own lips certain communica- 
tions which he considered very important. 

" Sister Catherine, to whom this was wholly unex- 
pected, was almost speechless with amazement. On her 
return, she expressed to me her emotion, and, for the 
first time, opened her heart to me concerning that which 
she had formerly so much feared to reveal. 

"' This repugnance had vanished ; seeing herself on 
the borders of the tomb, she felt constrained to make 
known the details which she thought buried with the 
venerated Father Aladel, and she expressed great grief 
that devotion to the Immaculate Conception was less 
lively and general than it had been. 

'' These communications, moreover, were for myself 
alone; I did not impart them to the other Sisters. It 
is true, the greater number were informed of this pious 
secret, but they never learned it from Sister Catherine 
herself. All they could observe in connexion wnth it 
was her ardent love for Mary Immaculate and her zeal 
for the propagation of the Miraculous Medal, also that, 
when she heard one of our Sisters express a desire to 
make the pilgrimage to Lourdes or some other privileged 
sanctuary of Mary, she could not refrain from saying, 
somewhat impetuously: 'But why do you wish to go 
so far ? Have you not the Community ? Did not the 
Blessed Virgin appear there as well as at Lourdes ? ' 
And a most extraordinary fact is, that, without having 
read any of the publications concerning this miraculous 
grotto. Sister Catherine w^as more familiar with what had 
taken place there than many who had made the pil- 
grimage. Leaving these incidents aside, never did she 
utter a w^ord calculated to give the impression that she 



34 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

had any part in the singular favors the Blessed Virgin 
had lavished upon our humble chapel at the Mother 
House. 

" Since opening her heart to me, this good companion 
had become very affectionate ; it was a rest for her, a 
consolation to find some one who understood her. Our 
worthy Father Chevalier, Assistant of the Congregation 
of the Mission, occasionally visited her to receive her 
communications concerning the apparition. One day, 
he spoke to her of the new edition he was preparing of 
the notice of the medal. 'When M. Aladel's edition of 
1842 appeared,' replied Sister Catherine, 'I said to him, 
truly, that he would never publish another, and that I 
w^ould never see another edition, because it v\ould nofc be 
finished during my lifetime.' ' I shall catch you there,' 
replied M. Chevalier, who expected it to appear very 
soon. But unforeseen difficulties having retarded the 
publication, he subsequently recognized that the good 
Sister had spoken rightly. 

" From the beginning of the year 1876, Sister Cathe- 
rine alluded very frequently to her death ; on all our 
feast days, she never failed to say : ' It is the last time 
I shall see this feast.' And when we appeared not to 
credit her assertion, she added: 'I shall certainly not 
see the year 1877.' We could not, however, believe her 
end so near. For some months she had been obliged to 
keep her bed, and relinqnish that active life she had led 
so many years. 

^'Her strength was gradually failing; the asthma 
joined to some affection of the heart undermined her 
constitution ; she felt that she was dying, but it was 
without a fear, we might say without emotion. One day, 
when speaking to her of her death : ' Yon are not 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 35 

afraid, then/ said I, ^dear Sister Catherine.' 'Afraid! 
Sister I ' she exclaimed ; ' why should I be afraid ? I am 
going to our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, St. Vincent.' 

"And, truly, our dear companion had nothing to fear, 
for her death was as calm as her life. 

" Several days previous, one of our Sisters was talking 
familiarly with her, when, without any allusion to the 
subject from the other, our sick Sister said : ' I shall 
go to Eeuilly.' This Avas the name given the House of 
Providence, separated from d'Enghien Hospital by a vast 
garden, and similar to it in the nature of its works. 
* What I to Reuilly?' answered her companion; 'you 
would not have the heart to do so, you who love so well 
your Enghien, that you have never left.' ' I tell you, I 
shall go to Eeuilly.' ' But when ? ' 'Ah! that is it ! ' 
said Sister Catherine, in a decided, mysterious tone, that 
disconcerted 'her companion. After a few moments, she 
added : ' There will be no need of a hearse at my 
funeral.' ' Oh ! what do you mean ?' replied the Sister. 
' It will not be needed,' said the sick one, emphatically. 
^ But why not ? ' ' They will put me in. the chapel at 
Eeuilly.' These words struck her companion, who 
repeated the conversation to me. ' Keep that to yourself,' 
said I. 

"On the 31st of December, she had several spells of 
weakness, symptoms of her approaching end. We then 
proposed to her the last consolations of religion ; she 
gratefully consented, and received the Sacraments with 
indescribable peace and happiness ; then, at her request, 
we recited the litany of the Immaculate Conception. 

"Being one day near her bed, speaking to her of 
Heaven and of the Blessed Virgin, she expressed a desire 
to have during her agony sixty-three children, each 



36 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

invoking the Blessed Virgin by one of her titles in the 
litany of the Immaculate Conception, and especially 
these very consoling words : ' Terror of demons, pray 
for us.' It was observed that there were not sixty-three 
invocations in the litanv. ' Yon will find them in the 
oflBce of the Immaculate Conception,' said she. Measures 
were taken to comply with her desires, the invocations 
were written upon slips of paper and kept for the final 
hour, bufc, just at the time of her agony, we could not 
collect the children ; she then asked that the litany be 
recited, and had us repeat three times the invocation 
Avhich makes hell tremble. 

" Our Sisters were especially touched to hear her 
exclaim, with an accent of deep tenderness : - My dear 
Community! my dear Mother House!' So true is it, 
that what we have loved most in life returns to us with 
renewed vigor at the hour of death ! 

" Some of her former companions and friends of the 
House canij during the day to see her for a last time; 
o-ne of them, holding an office in the Seminary, approach- 
ing her, said sadly : ' Sister Catherine, are you going to 
leave us without telling me a word of the Blessed Vir- 
gin ? ' Then the dying Sister leaned towards her, and 
whispered softly in her ear quite a while. ' I ought not 
to speak,' said she; ^it is M. Chevalier who is commis- 
sioned to do that.' . . . She continued, without inter- 
ruption : ^ The Blessed Virgin has promised to grant 
especial graces every time one prays in the chapel, but 
particularly an increase of purity, that purity of mind, 
heart, will, which is pure love.' 

"This good daughter, animated with the true primitive 
spirit of the Community, was, in uttering these last words, 
the unconscious echo of the venerable Mother Legras, 
whose writings breathe the same thought 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 37 

"A Sister-Servant, who came to visit her, approaching 
the sick Sister, reminded her of the necessities of the 
Community and of the Seminary, and ended by saying : 
* Dear Sister Catherine, when you get to Heaven, do not 
forget all this, attend to all my commissions.' Sister 
Catherine answered: ^Sister, my will is good, but I 
have always been so stupid, so dull, I shall not know 
how to explain myself, for I am ignorant of the language 
of Heaven.' Upon which the other, delighted with so 
much simplicity, was inspired to say : ' Oh ! my dear 
Sister Catherine, in Heaven we do not speak as we do on 
earth ; the soul regards God, the good God regards the 
soul, and all is understood — that is the language of 
Heaven.' Our dear Sister's countenance became radiant 
at this, and she answered: ^ Oh I Sister, if it is thus, 
be tranquil, all your commissions will be fulfilled.' 

"M. Chevalier came, also, that day to give her his 
blessing, and he spoke to her on the same subject. 
Sister Catherine answered him with faculties undimmed, 
and said to him, among other things : ' The pilgrimages 
the Sisters make are not favorable to piety. The Blessed 
Virgin did not tell me to go so far to pray ; it is in the 
Community chapel she wishes the Sisters to invoke her, 
that is their true pilgrimage.' 

" The poor, to whom she was so devoted, likewise 
occupied her thoughts. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

"At four in the afternoon, another attack of weakness 
collected us all around our dear, dying one, but the 
supreme moment had not yet come. We surrounded her 
bed until evening. At seven, she seemed to sink into a 
slumber, and without the least agony or the least sign of 
suffering, she yielded her last sigh. Scarcely could we 
perceive that she had ceased to live. . . . Never have 
I seen a death so calm and gentle." ^ 



38 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

" The deepest emotion now filled our hearts ; we pon- 
dered the celestial interview of our blessed companion 
with that good God who had so often revealed Himself 
to her during her Seminary life, and that beautiful 
Virgin, whose charms can never be depicted on earth. 

" It was not sorrow which pervaded our hearts ; not a 
tear was shed in these first moments ; we yielded to an 
indescribable emotion ; we felt ourselves near a Saint ; 
the veil of humility under which she had lived so long 
concealed was now rent, that we might see in her only 
the soul favored by Heaven. 

" Our Sisters disputed the happiness of passing the 
night beside her venerated remains, a magnetic attraction 
drawing them to her. 

" To perpetuate the fact that she had received these 
favors whilst still a Seminary Sister, we thought of 
having her photograph taken, also, in the Seminary 
habit; it succeeded completely in both costumes. 

" We now carried her blessed remains into the chapel. 
There the Immaculate Virgin watched over her; lilies 
ana roses surrounded her virginal body, and her cher- 
ished device — '0 Mary! conceived Avithout sin, pray for 
US who have recourse to thee ' — surrounding this little 
sanctuary, seemed the last echo of her life. 

" Then commenced the miracle of glorified humility ; 
this humble Sister, who in life had been scarcely noticed, 
was suddenly surrounded by persons of every age and 
condition, who considered it a very great happiness to 
come, not to pray for her, but to recommend themselves 
to her blessed intercession. 

"As for us who were keeping watch around our dear 
relic, we could not bear to think of the moment which 
would take her from us. This house which had been 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 39 

protected by her presence for forty- six years, would it be 
deprived of her forever ? The thought was heart-break- 
ing ; it seemed as if we were about to lose the protection 
of the Immaculate Virgin, who would henceforth cease 
to hover over us. 

"On the other hand, to keep our dear Sister with us 
appeared impossible. Our Superiors being consulted, 
permitted us to take measures in accordance with our 
wishes. We had a world of difficulties to surmount. 

" ' Pray,' said I to our Sisters ; and they passed the 
night supplicating the Immaculate Mary to let our 
beloved companion remain with us. 

"All night long, I vainly tried to think of a suitable 
resting place for her, when suddenly, at the sound of the 
four o'clock bell, I thought I heard these words : ' The 
vault is under the chapel of Keuilly.' ' True enough,' 
said I, joyfully, like a person who suddenly sees the 
realization of a long deferred hope. I remembered now 
that, during the construction of the chapel, a vault had 
been made communicating with the children's refectory. 
Our worthy Mother Mazin had assigned to it no actual 
purpose, saying we might have use for it hereafter. 

" There was no time to lose. We were on the eve of 
her funeral, and the authorization, so difficult to obtain, 
had not yet been solicited. 

"The vault was hastily prepared, and the petition, 
sustained by influential persons, succeeded as it' by 
enchantment. 

"January 3d, the feast of St. Genevieve, Avas the day 
appointed for the interment of her, whom we regarded 
as the tutelary angel of our house. But the word 'inter- 
ment' is not appropriate here — 'triumph' is the proper 
expression — for it was a veritable triumph for our humble 
Sister. 



40 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

^^A deputation was sent from all the houses of our 
Sisters, that had received timely notice, and the little 
chapel was much too small to accommodate the numbers 
that came. Mass over, the funeral cortege which was to 
accompany the body in procession from d'Enghien Hos- 
pital to the vault at Eeuilly was organized, as follows: 
The inmates of our industrial school. Children of Mary, 
came first, bearing their banner ; next to these, all our 
little orphans ; then, our young girls of the Society 
(both externs and those belonging fco the house), wearing 
the livery of the Immaculate Mary; the parishioners, 
and lastly, our Sisters preceding the clergy. 

" This lengthy procession passed slowly through the 
long garden walk, and whilst the solemn chants of the 
Benedictus resounded afar, the modest coffin appeared 
in sight, covered with lilies and eglantines, emblems of 
purity and simplicity. 

"At the entrance of the vault, the crowd stood aside, 
and our Children of Mary greeted the arrival of the 
body by singing the blessed invocation : ' Mary! con- 
ceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee!' It would be impossible to describe the effect of 
these funeral obsequies, of a nature so entirely new. 

" To preserve our treasure. It was necessary to wall up 
the subterranean entrance, but we had an opening made 
communicating with the chapel. 

" The poor, whom Sister Catherine had nursed, lay a 
magnificent crown on the tomb of St. Vincent's humble 
daughter, who, in life, sought only the lowliest paths, 
and who had supplicated the Blessed Virgin to keep her 
unknown and unsought." ^ ^ :^ ^ ^ 

The life of dear Sister Laboure was the faithful reali- 
zation of Our Lord's words in the Gospel : " I return 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 41 

Thee thanks, Father, that Thou hast concealed these 
things from the wise of this world and hast revealed 
them to little ones." Never were the gifts of God better 
concealed in a soul, under the double mantle of humility 
and simplicity. 

For forty-;;ix years did she lead a life of obscurity and 
toil, seeking no other satisfaction than that of pleasing 
God ; she sanctified herself in the lowliest paths by a 
faithful correspondence to grace, and an exact com- 
pliance with the practices of a Community life. The 
favors she received from Heaven never filled her heart 
with pride ; witness of the wonders daily wrought by the 
medal, she never uttered a word that might lead others 
to suspect how much more she knew about it than any 
one else. 

Might we not say, she had chosen for her motto these 
words of A Kempis : " Love to be unknown and accounted 
as nothing?" How faithfully these traits portray the 
true daughter of the humble Vincent de Paul ! 

What, in Heaven, must be the glory of those whose 
earthly life was one of self-abasement ? Do we not 
already perceive a faint radiance of this glory? The 
obsequies of the humble servant of the poor resembled 
a triumph ; by an almost unheard of exception, her body 
remains in the midst of her spiritual family; her tomb 
is visited by persons of every condition, who, with con- 
fidence, recommend themselves to her intercession, and 
many of whom assure us that their petitions have been 
granted. In fine, this biographical notice discloses what 
Sister Catherine so carefully concealed, and thus accom- 
plishes Our Lord's promise : " He who humbleth him- 
self, shall be exalted." 




CHAPTER II. 



Mary's Agency in the Church. 

THIS AGENCY, EVER MANIFEST, SEEMS TO HAVE DISAP- 
PEARED DURING THE EIGHTEENTH AND IN THE 

BEGINNING OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY MARY 

APPEARS IN 1830 MOTIVES AND IMPORTANCE OF 

THIS APPARITION— THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 



Devotion to the most Blessed Virgin is as ancient as 
Christianity, and we find traces of it from the very origin 
of the Church, among all nations who accepted the 
Gospel. During the first ages, it was concealed in the 
obscurity of the catacombs, or veiled itself under sym- 
bolical forms to escape the profanation of infidels ; but 
when the era of peace succeeded that of bloody persecu- 
tions, it reappeared openly and in all the brilliancy of 
its ravishing beauty. It developed a wonderful growth, 
especially in the fifth century, after the Council of 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 43 

Ephesus had proclaimed the divine maternity of Mary, 
thereby sanctioning the exceptional homages rendered 
her above all the saints. 

The image of the Virgin Mother, circulated through- 
out Christendom, becomes the ornament of churches, 
the protection of the fireside, and an object of devotion 
to the faithful. It is at this epoch, especially, we see 
everywhere gradually disappearing the last vestiges of 
paganism. The Immaculate Virgin, the Mother of ten- 
derness, the Queen of Angels, the Patroness of regen- 
erated humanity, supplants those vain idols, which for 
ages had fostered superstition, with its train of vices and 
errors. 

Every Catholic admits that the Church's veneration 
of Mary rests upon an inviolable foundation — both faith 
and reason unite in justifying it. Events have proved 
that God Himself has authorized it, for it has often 
pleased Him to recompense the confidence and fidelity of 
her servants, by sensible marks of His poAver, by extra- 
ordinary graces — in a word, by true miracles. By a dis- 
position of His Providence, He has decreed Mary's 
intervention in the economy of the Church and the 
sanctification of souls, as He did in the mysteries of the 
Incarnation and Eedemption. Her character of Mediatrix 
between Heaven and earth obliges her to make this 
agency felt, to display the power she has received in 
favor of man. These manifestations of the Blessed 
Virgin in the Church, these marvelous proofs of her 
solicitude for us, form an interesting portion of the 
history of Catholicity. The liturgy is full of such sou- 
venirs, and several feasts have been instituted to com- 
memorate them. Christian countries abound in traditions 
of this nature ; they are one of the sources whence piety 
derives its nourishment. 



44 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

The majority of pilgrim shrines owe their origin to 
some supernatural intervention of the Blessed Virgin. 
Sometimes she has manifested herself under a visible 
form, most frequently to a poor shepherd or peasant; 
again, she has wrought a miracle, as the recovery of a 
sick person, the conversion of a hardened sinner, or some 
other prodigy betokening the power of a supernatural 
agency. Sometimes, a statue, a picture, apparently not 
fashioned by the hand of man, is accidentally discovered; 
the neighboring population are touched, their faith is 
reanimated, and soon a shrine, a chapel, or even a splen- 
did basilica, is erected to protect this gift of Heaven, this 
pledge of Mary's affection. Innumerable generations 
repair to the spot, and new favors, new miracles, inef- 
fable consolations, ever attest the tutelary guardianship 
of her, whom humble, confiding hearts have never 
invoked in vain. We might cite hundreds of names in 
support of these assertions. 

The history of devotion to Mary in Catholic countries 
gives rise to an observation worthy of remark, that the 
faith of a country is in proportion to its devotion to the 
Blessed A^irgin. We can also add that, when God Welshes 
to revive the Faith among any people, He commissions 
Mary to manifest there her goodness and power. 

Every age has furnished the Church with constantly 
increasing proofs of Mary's mediation ; there are epochs 
in which she seems to be ro lavish of her presence, that 
w^e might say she lives familiarly among mankind, and 
that her delights are to c 3n verse with them. 

Again, on the contrary, she appears to retire, t:) hold 
herself aloof from the world, to give no more signs of 
her intervention. We have a striking example of this in 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 45 

a somewhat recent age. More than a century do we find 
deprived of Mary's sensible mediation ; history records 
in all that period not one of these apparitions, not a new 
pilgrim shrine founded, not a signal grace obtained 
through the intercession of the Mother of Mercy. If a 
few events of this kind took place, they were at least 
very rare, and have remained in obscurity. This age, 
forsaken by the Blessed Virgin, was the eighteenth cen- 
tury, to which we must add the first thirty years of the 
nineteenth. 

At this epoch, when impious rationalism endeavored 
to eflFace all idea of the supernatural, w^hen the most 
firmly established truths were attacked, when among 
Christians the standard of virtue w^as lowered and char- 
acter w^as of slight esteem in any class or station of 
society, we might believe that Mary, fatigued with men's 
ingratitude, had resolved to leave them to their own 
devices, and let them govern the w^orld according to 
their ideas of assumed wdsdom. She did, in reality, not 
renounce her mission of Mediatrix in favor of the 
Church, she still watched over her great adopted family, 
she listened to the prayers of her faithful servants, but 
she remained invisible, she no longer displayed any of 
those marks of tenderness her maternal heart had lav- 
ished upon them in the ages of faith. 

We know the consequences of Mary's abandoning the 
earth, and how these sages who wished to dispense with 
God governed society. The history of their reign is 
written in letters of fire, of blood and of filth. 

This revolutionary and impious naturalism w^as pro- 
longed into the nineteenth century; it still exerts a 
deplorable influence at the present day, but it encounters 
opposition ; the supernatural order is firmly asserted, the 



46 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

truths of Faith are warmly defended, the holy Church 
is respected and obeyed, its august Head is held in ven- 
eration to the very extremities of the earth, God's king- 
dom is still opposed, but it numbers devoted subjects, 
who, if needful, would shed their blood in its defence. 
Indifference, human respect, jeering scepticism, are 
gradually disappearing, leaving the Church with only 
sincere friends or declared enemies. It is a progress no 
one can ignore. 

Whence comes this change ? and what the date of so 
consoling a resurrection ? Beyond a doubt, it owes its 
origin to God's infinite bounty — but the instrument, can 
it be ignored or contemned ? Is it not the Blessed Vir- 
gin Mary ? Has not her mediation been visible for forty 
years ? Yes ; it is Mary who has wrought this astonish- 
ing transformation, and through the medal styled mirac- 
ulous has this series of wonders been inaugurated. 

In 1830, does Mary for the first time, after an interval 
of a century and a half, manifest her desire of a recon- 
ciliation with earth. 

It is the first sign of pardon she accords man, after 
her long silence. 

It is the announcement of a new era which is about to 
commence. 

The apparition of November 27th, in the chapel of 
the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity, Paris, 
appears, at first, to be of little importance, yet it was 
destined to have an immense bearing upon the future, 
and its consequences were to be incalculable. Like a 
stream whose source is concealed at the foot of a moun- 
tain, but which receives as it advances numberless tribu- 
taries, and finally becomes a majestic river, fertilizing 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 47 

the provinces and kingdoms through which it flows ; so 
the vision of the medal has been the initiatory step in a 
religious movement, which, to-day, extends throughout 
the world, sitting in justice upon old errors, superan- 
nuated prejudices ; systems inimical to truth, and fully 
revealing the true Church and true sanctity, rendering 
to Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and Mother of 
men, such tributes of veneration, love and devotion, as 
she has never received since the preaching of the Gospel. 

The reader is already acquainted with Sister Catherine, 
the humble daughter whom Mary deigned to select for 
her confidante. The following chapter gives a detailed 
account of the apparitions. 

We have said that this event was the dawn of a new 
era, the signal of renewed devotion to Mary throughout 
the world. It seemed as if this tender Mother wished, 
by lavishing extraordinary graces upon her children, to 
make them forget the severity with which she had pun- 
ished their ofiences. 

A rapid glance at the development of devotion to 
Mary, during half a century, will suffice to show the 
truth of this affirmation. 

The medal, scarcely struck, is circulated by millions ; 
it immediately becomes the instrument of so many cures 
and conversions, that it is universally styled the Mirac- 
ulous Medal, a name which clung to it, and which is 
justified by the constant working of new miracles, as the 
second part of this book will show. But this medal was 
destined not only to work miracles, it had an object still 
higher, it had a dogmatical signification, it was to popu- 
larize the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. 

As far as is possible for us to penetrate the adorable 
designs of Providence, everything inclines iis to believe 
that the Immaculate Conception is one of those truths 



48 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

whose proclamation is interwoven with the welfare of 
modern society, and whose influence upon Catholicity is 
incalculable. It is the complement of the Blessed Vir- 
gin's glory ; even with the incomparable prerogative of 
her divine maternity, her grandeur Avould still lack some- 
thing, were she not proclaimed free from original sin. 
The germ contained in the Holy Scriptures, preserved 
by tradition, taught by the Fathers and holy Doctors, 
supported by the Eoman pontiffs, solemnized from the 
earliest ages in many churches, adopted instinctively by 
the piety of the faithful, and depicted under most grace- 
ful forms by brush and chisel of Christian artist, this 
belief received, through the medal, the seal of a popular 
devotion. The prayer revealed by the Blessed Virgin 
herself: '^0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us 
who have recourse to thee I " this prayer, repeated inces- 
santly by numberless mouths from infancy to old age, 
by poor and rich, and in every quarter of the globe, 
entered as a formula into the practices of a Christian 
life, and hastened, we might safely say, the day when 
Pius IX was to declare the Immaculate Conception an 
article of faith. 

The wonderful circulation of the medal, and the 
miracles wrought by means of it, would soon have made 
the chapel of the rue du Bac a much frequented pilgrim 
shrine, as many who were indebted to Mary for their 
cure or conversion wished to testify their gratitude by 
leaving there ex-voto offerings. But the Superiors of 
the Community deemed it inadvisable to allow this. 
However, Divine Providence, wishing to maintain this 
pious impulse, opened in the very centre of Paris a sanc- 
tuary, to receive what the chapel of the Daughters of 
Charity had refused. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 49 

The pastor of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, M. Desge- 
nettes, who had taken a lively interest in the apparition 
of 1830, was inspired to consecrate his parish to the 
holy and immaculate Heart of Mary. An Arch confra- 
ternity was established for the conversion of sinners ; 
the success was as rapid as it was wonderful, and soon 
the whole world resounded with accounts of the miracles 
accorded the associates' prayers. To remind them that 
Notre- iJame-des-Victoires is allied with the vision of 
the Sister of St. Vincent de Paul, an article of their 
rule enjoins them to wear, with respect and devotion, the 
indulgenced medal of the Immaculate Conception, 
known as the Miraculous Medal, and they are advised to 
recite occasionally the prayer engraven upon that medal : 
" Mary ! conceived without sin, pray for us who have 
recourse to thee ! " 

Some years later, in 1846, the Blessed Virgin manifests 
herself upon the mountain at La Salette to two little 
shepherd children, charging them to warn mankind of 
the necessity of doing penince in order to avert the 
impending evils. 

At Lourdes, in 1858, Mary appears to a poor and igno- 
rant young girl ; she tells her name, calling herself by 
that which is most dear to her : "I am the Immaculate 
Conception," and she promises abundant benedictions to 
all who come to pray in that favored place. 

In 1871, she appears in the village of Pontmain to 
some children ; she comes to revive their droojoing cour- 
age and restore hope to their fainting hearts. 

It would take too long to enumerate these manifesta- 
tions of Mary in various parts of Christendom — those 
images which seem animated; those mysterious voices 
w^hich warn, which encourage the world ; those super- 



50 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

natural revelations to privileged souls — all, we might 
say, favors of a tender Mother, who pardons her guilty 
children, and who wishes by multiplied tokens of her 
love to make them oblivious of her past severity. 

To so many marks of the Immaculate Mary's tender- 
ness, the Catholic world has responded by an admirable 
outburst of filial piety; each year sees hundreds of 
thousands of pilgrims seeking her privileged sanctu- 
aries ; her Feasts are celebrated with admirable splendor ; 
devotion to her is clothed in every form capable of 
expressing admiration, gratitude and tenderness. Who 
could enumerate the churches and monuments every- 
where erected in her honor, the associations established 
under her invocation, the books composed in her praises ? 

But the homage which eclipses all others, is the defi- 
nition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 
1854. This definition, ardently desired by the devout 
faithful, enthusiastically welcomed by the whole world, 
was the grand thought of Pius IX after his elevation 
to the chair of St. Peter, and it will be recorded in his- 
tory as the crowning event of his Pontificate, already 
illustrious for so many other causes. 

Mary, by this, has received from her children all the 
glory it was in their power to procure her; her preroga- 
tives appear in all their lustre ; she is acknowledged as 
sovereign mistress of Heaven and earth ; she occupies in 
the economy of religion the true place Divine wisdom 
has assigned her. Let us hope she will soon display to 
the world the effects of her powerful protection, that she 
will crush the infernal serpent's head, that she will calm 
the storms hell has unchained — in fine, that she will 
assure the triumph of the Church and the reign of 
Jesus Christ in justice and truth. 




CHAPTER III. 



APPARITIONS OF THE BLESSED YIBGIN 

TO SISTER CATHERINE. 

FIRST apparition: the angel conducts the sister 

TO THE CHAPEL ; MARY CONVERSES WITH HER 

SECOND APPARITION I MARY UPON A GLOBE, HER 
HANDS EMITTING RAYS OF LIGHT, SYMBOLIC OF 

GRACE ; MARY ORDERS A MEDAL TO BE STRUCK 

THIRD apparition: MARY RENEWS THE COMMAND. 



When Sister Catherine was favored with these appa- 
ritions of the Blessed Virgin she related by word of 
mouth to her Director, what she had seen and heard, 
and he, though apparently attaching little importance 
to her communications, carefully took note of them. 
The Sister never thought of writing them, she judged 



(51) 



52 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

herself incapable of doing so, and, moreover, in her 
opinion, it would have been contrary to humility. 

In 1856, when events had confirmed the truth of her 
predictions, M. Aladel told her to commit to writing all 
she could recollect of the supernatural visitations of 
1830. She obeyed, despite her repugnance, and sketched 
an account of her vision of St. Vincent's heart, which 
we have already read, and that of the apparitions of the 
Blessed Virgin. 

In obedience, she again wrote in 1876, an account of 
these same apparitions. 

Finally, another copy, not dated, was found among 
her papers after death. 

These three narrations accord perfectly in the main, 
yet differ sufficiently in detail to prove that one was not 
copied from the other. 

To these manuscripts, in which no change has been 
made, except a correction of faults in style and orthog- 
raphy, are we indebted for the following account of the 
apparitions. 

It is to be regretted that M. Aladel's notes should have 
been almost entirely destroyed ; no doubt they contained 
very interesting details, but what portion of them re- 
mains, is of little importance. 

Before quoting Sister Catherine's own narration, we 
must remark, that the first vision, having little reference 
to anything but the Sister herself and St. Vincent's two 
Communities, M. Aladel did not deem it advisable to 
have published; also, that although the account of the 
vision of the medal in the first editions of the notice, 
seems to differ notably from that related by the Sister, 
we will see later how these discrepancies can be explained, 
and that in the main the two versions are identical. 




FlliST AFPABITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN 



To Sister Catlierine Labour e^ BatigTiter of Charity. After a picture 
painted from instructions given by Sister Catherine. (See the expla- 
nation at the list of engramngs.) 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 53 

Sister Catherine, already favored with celestial visions^ 
ardently desired, with all the simplicity of her nature, 
to see the Blessed Virgin. To obtain this grace, she 
invoked her good Angel, St. Vincent, and the Blessed 
Virgin herself. 

On the 18th of July, 1830, eve of the Feast of St. Vin- 
cent de Paul, the Directress of the b'eminary gave an 
instruction on devotion to the Saints and the Blessed 
Virgin; this but inflamed our Sisters pious desire. 
Fully imbued with the thought, she retired for the 
night, recommending herself to her blessed Father, St. 
Vincent, and confidently believing that her prayers 
would be answered. 

About half-past eleven o'clock, she hears her name, 
^'Sister Laboure," distinctly called three times; sud- 
denly awaking, she opens her curtain on the side 
w^hence the voice proceeds, and what does she perceive ? 
A little child of ravishing beauty, four or five years of 
age, dressed in white and enveloped in the radiant light 
beaming from his fair hair and noble person. ^" Come,'^ 
said he, in a melodious voice, "come to the chapel, the 
Blessed Virgin awaits you.^* But, thought Sister Cathe- 
rine (she slept in a large dormitory), the others will 
hear me, I shall be discovered. "Have no fears,'' said 
the child, answering her thought, "it is half-past eleven, 
everybody is aleep, I will accompany you.'' 

At these words, no longer able to resist the invitation 
of her amiable guide. Sister Catherine dresses hastily 
and follows the child, who walks always at her left,, 
illuming the places through which he passes ; and every- 
where along their path, to the Sister's great astonish- 
ment, does she find the lamps lighted. Her surprise 
redoubles, on seeing the door open at the child's touch, 

5* 



54 THE MIEACULOUS MEDAL. 

and on finding the altar resplendent with lights, "re- 
minding her," she said, "of the midnight Mass/' 

The child conducts her into the sanctuary; here she 
kneels, whilst her celestial guide remains standing a 
little behind at her left. 

The moments of waiting seem long to Sister Cathe- 
rine; at last, about midnight, the child says to her: 
"Behold the Blessed Virgin, behold her!" At that 
instant, she distinctly hears on the right hand side of 
the chapel, a slight noise, like the rustling of a silk 
robe; a most beautiful lady enters the sanctuary, and 
takes her seat in the place ordinarily occupied by the 
Director of the Community, on the left side of the sanc- 
tuary. The seat, the attitude, the costume (a white robe 
of a golden tinge and a blue veil), strongly resemble the 
representation of St. Anne in the picture adorning the 
sanctuary. Yet it is not the same countenance, and 
Sister Catherine is struggling interiorly against doubt. 
Can this indeed be the Blessed Virgin? she asks herself. 
Suddenly, the little child, assuming the voice of a man, 
speaks aloud, and in severe words asks her if the Queen 
of Heaven may not appear to a poor mortal under what- 
ever form she pleases. 

Her doubts all vanish, and following only the impulses 
of her heart, the Sister throws herself at the Blessed 
Virgin's feet, familiarly placing her hands upon the 
Blessed Virgin's knees, like a child beside its mother. 

"At this moment," said she, "I felt the sweetest emo- 
tion of my life, it would be impossible for me to express 
it. The Blessed Virgin told me how I must act in 
all my trials ; and pointing with her left hand to the 
foot of the altar, she told me it was there I must come 
and lay open my heart, adding that it was there I would 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 55 

receive all needful consolation. Then she also said to 
me: 'My child, I am going to charge you with a mission ; 
you will suffer many tri'-^ls on account of it, but you will 
surmount them, knowing that you endure them for the 
glory of the good God. You will be contradicted, but 
you will be sustained by grace, do not fear; with sim- 
plicity and confidence, tell all that passes within you to 
him who is charged with the care of your soul. You 
will see certain things, you will be inspired in your 
prayers, give an account to him.' 

"I then asked the Blessed Virgin for an explanation 
of what she had already shown me. She answered: 'My 
child, the times are very disastrous, great trials are about 
to come upon France, the throne will be overturned, the 
entire world will be in confusion by reason of miseries 
of every kind.' (The Blessed Virgin looked very sad in 
saying this.) 'But come to the foot of this altar, here 
graces will be shed upon all — upon all who ask for them 
with confidence and fervor. 

'"At a certain time the danger will be great indeed, it 
will seem as if all were lost, but do not fear, I shall be 
with you; you will acknowledge my visit, the protection 
of God and that of St. Vincent upon the two Communi- 
ties. Have confidence, do not be discouraged, you are 
in my especial keeping 

" 'There will b3 victims in other Communities.' (Tears 
were in the Blessed Virgin's eyes as she said this.) 
'Among the clergy of Paris there will be victims, Mgr. 
the Archbishop will die.' (At these w^ords her tears 
flowed anew.) 'My child, the cross will be despised, it 
will be trampled under foot, our Lord's side Avill be 
opened anew, the' streets will flow with blood, the entire 
world will be in tribulation.' " (Here the Blessed Vir- 



56 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

gin could no longer speak, grief was depicted in her 
countenance.) At these words Sister Catherine thought, 
when will this take place? And an interior light dis- 
tinctly indicated to her in forty years. 

Another version, also written by her own hand, says 
forty years, then ten, after which, peace. In connexion 
with this M. Aladel said to her: "Will you and I see 
the accomplishment of all these things?" "If we do 
not, others will," replied the simple daughter. 

The Blessed Virgin also entrusted her with several 
communications for her Director concerning the Daugh- 
ters of Charity, and told her that he would one day be 
clothed with the necessary authority for putting them 
in execution.^ After this, she said again: "But great 
troubles will come, the danger will be imminent, yet do 
not fear, St. Vincent will watch over you, and the pro- 
tection of God is always here in a particular manner.'^ 
(The Blessed Virgin still looked very sad.) " I will be 
with you myself, I will always keep my eye upon you, 
and I will enrich you with many graces." The Sister 
adds: "Graces will be bestowed, particularly upon 
all who ask for them, but they must pray, they must 
nrav ^ sk jk ^ jh h^ 

" I could not tell," continues the Sister, " how long I 
remained with the Blessed Virgin ; all I can say is that, 
after talking with me a long time, she disappeared like 
a shadow that vanishes." 

On arising from her knees, Sister Catherine perceived 
the child just where she had left him, to throw herself 
at the Blessed Virgin s feet. He said : " She has gone," 
and, all resplendent with light as before, he stationed 

1 M. Aladel was made Director of the Community in 1846. 



THE MIRACCJLOUS MEDAL. 57 

himself anew at her left hand, and conducted her back 
to the dormitory by the same paths as they had come. 

" I believe," continues the narration, " that this child 
was my Guardian Angel, because I had fervently implored 
him to procure me the lavor of seeing the Blessed Vir- 
gin. . . . Keturned to my bed, I heard the clock 
strike two, and I went to sleep no more." 

What has just been recounted was only a part of 
Sister Catherine's mission, or rather a preparation for a 
future mission to be given her as a pledge of the Immac- 
ulate Mary's tenderness for the human race. 

In the month of November of this same year, 1830, 
Sister Ccitherine communicates to M. Aladel a new vision; 
but it is no longer that of an afflicted Mother weeping 
over the evils menacing her children, or the martyrdom 
of her dearest friends. This vision recalls the rainbow 
appearing in a sky still black with storms, or the star 
shining through the tempest to inspire the mariner with 
confldence — it is the Virgin Queen, bearing the promise 
of benediction, salvation and peace. 

M. Aladel relates this to the Promoter of the diocese, 
and we find it inserted in the verbal process of the 
investigation, dated February 16, 1836, as follows: 

"At half-past five in the evening, whilst the Sisters 
were in the chapel taking their meditation, the Blessed 
Virgin appeared to a young Sister as if in an oval pic- 
ture ; she was standing on a globe, only one-half of 
which was visible ; she was clothed in a white robe and 
a mantle of shining blue, having her hands covered, as it 
were, with diamonds, whence emanated luminous rays 
falling upon the earth, but more abundantly upon one 
portion of it. 



58 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

^'A voice seemed to say: ' These rays are symbolic of 
the graces Mary obtains for men, and the point upon 
which they fall most abundantly is France.' Around 
the picture, written in golden letters, were these words : 
*0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have 
recourse to thee ! ' This prayer, traced in a semi-circle, 
began at the Blessed Virgin's right hand, and, passing 
over her head, terminated at her left hand. The reverse 
of the picture bore the letter M surmounted by a cross, 
having a bar at its base, and beneath the monogram of 
Mary, were the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first sur- 
rounded with a crown of thorns, the other transpierced 
with a sword. Then she seemed to hear these words : 
'A medal must be struck upon this model ; those who 
wear it indulgenced, and repeat this prayer with devo- 
tion, will be, in an especial manner, under the protection 
of the Mother of God.' At that instant, the vision 
disappeared." 

According to the testimony of Sister Catherine's 
Director, this apparition appeared several times in the 
course of a few months, always in the chapel of the 
Mother House of the Daughters of Charity, either 
durino: Mass or some of the relio'ious exercises. M. Aladel 
adds that he was not certain as to their number, but 
he knows they were repeated thrice, at least, the Sister 
having mentioned it three different times. 

Here is the account written by the Sister's own hand: 

" The 27th of November, 1830, which was a Saturday 
and eve of the first Sunday in Advent, whilst making 
my meditation in profound silence, at half-past five in 
the evening, I seemed to hear on the right hand side of 
the sanctuary something like the rustling of a silk dress, 
and, glancing in that direction, I perceived the Blessed 




SJ^COND APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIEGIN 



To Sister Catlwrine Ldboure. First picture. (See the eocplanation 
at the list of engravings.) 



THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 59 

Virgin standing near St. Joseph's picture ; her height 
was medium, and her countenance so beautiful that it 
would be impossible for me to describe it. She was 
standing, clothed in a robe the color of auroral light, the 
style that is usually called a la vierge — that is, high neck 
and plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white 
veil, which descended on each side to her feet. Her hair 
was smooth on the forehead, and above was a coif orna- 
mented with a little lace and fitting close to the head. 
Her face was only partially covered, and her feet rested 
upon a globe, or rather a hemisphere (at least, I saw but 
half a globe). Her hands Avere raised about as high as 
her waist, and she held in a graceful attitude another 
globe (a figure of the universe). Her eyes were lifted 
up to Heaven, and her countenance was radiant as she 
offered the globe to Our Lord. 

^'Suddenly, her fingers were filled with rings ^- and 
most beautiful precious stones ; the rays gleaming forth 
and reflected on all sides, enveloped her in such dazzling 
light that I could see neither her feet nor her robe. 
The stones were of different sizes, and the rays emana- 
ting from them were more or less brilliant in proportion 
to the size. 

" I could not express what I felt, nor what I learned, in 
these few moments. 

^'AVhilst occupied contemplating this vision, the 
Blessed Virgin cast her eyes upon me, and a voice said 
in the depths of my heart: 'The globe that you see 
represents the entire world, and particularly France, and 
each person in particular.' 

1 The rings were three on each finger ; the largest next to the hand, 
then the medium size, then the smaUest; and each ring was covered 
with precious stones of proportional size ; the largest stones emitted the 
most hrilliant rays, the smallest the least brilliant. 



60 ^ THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

"I would not know how to express the beauty and 
brilliancy of these rays. And the Blessed Virgin added: 
^Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who 
ask me for them/ thus making me understand how 
generous she is to all who implore her intercession. . . 
How many favors she grants to those who ask. At this 
moment I was not myself, I was in raptures! There 
now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame slightly 
oval, upon which appeared, in golden letters, these 
words: ^0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who 
have recourse to thee ! ' 

"Then I heard a voice which said: 'Have a medal 
struck upon this model, persons who Avear it indul- 
genced, will receive great graces, especially if they Avear 
it around the neck; graces will be abundantly beStowed 
upon those who have confidence.' 

''Suddenly," says the Sister, "the picture seemed to 
turn," and she saw the reverse, such as has already 
been described in the previous account of the investiga- 
tion. 

Sister Catherine's notes do not mention the twelve 
stars surrounding the monogram of Mary and the two 
hearts. Yet they are always represented on the medal. 
It is morally certain that she c:>mmunicated this detail, 
by word of mouth, at the time she related the appa- 
ritions. 

Other notes in Sister Catherine's own hand-writing 
complete the account. She adds, that some of these 
precious stones did not emit rays, and when she ex- 
pressed her astonishment at this, she was told that they 
were a figure of the graces we neglect to ask of Mary. 
On a hasty perusal, our Sister's account of the vision 
appears to differ from M. Aladel's. We were struck 




SECOND AFPAlilTlON OF THE BLESSED VlMGUSf 



To Sister Catlierine Labour^. Second picture, {See the explanation at 
the list of engramngs.) 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 61 

with this, and had to study these interesting and 
authentic documents attentively, in crder to decide 
whether the visions differed essentially or were really 
the same. 

According to M. Aladel's testimony in the investiga- 
tion, the apparitions relative to the medal were always 
similar, and Sister Catherine, before her death, confirmed 
this assertion. As we have just learned from our Sister's 
own words, the Blessed Virgin always appeared with the 
terrestrial globe under her feet, and at the same time in 
her virginal hands, pressing it and warming it, as it were, 
against her maternal heart, and offering it to her Divine 
Son ill her quality of Advocate and Mother, with an 
ineffable expression of supplication and love. 

This is what the Sister saw. Was it all? No, after 
the first act of sublime intercession, after this most effica- 
cious prayer of our divine Mediatrix, her hands are sud- 
denly filled with graces, under the figure of rings and 
precious stones, which emit such brilliant rays that all 
else is invisible, Mary is enveloped in them, and her 
hands are bent beneath the weight of these treasures. 
Iler eyes are cast upon the humble Sister whose ravished 
glances can scarcely support this celestial eff*ulgence. 
At the same time, an oval frame is formed around the 
vision, and a voice directs the Sister to have a medal 
struck according to the medal presented. The medal 
is a faithful reproduction of this picture, at the moment 
the symbolical part disappears in the sheaves of light. 

Sister Catherine being asked if she still saw the globe 
in the Blessed Virgins hands, when the luminous 
sheaves issued from them, answered no, there remained 
nothing but the rays of light; and that when the 
Blessed Virgin spoke of the globe, she meant that under 



62 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

her feet, there being no longer any question of the first. 
Hence, we may conclude, that Sister Catherine's descrip- 
tion of the apparition and M. Aladel's agree perfectly. 
The small globe which the Blessed Virgin holds in her 
hands, and the large one on which she stands, are both 
inundatod with the same dazzling rays, or enriched with 
the same graces. The august Mary seems to indicate by 
the small globe merely a figure of the world, imperfectly 
represented beneath her feet, thus reminding us that she 
is the all merciful Queen of the human race. 

There is yet another variation in the description of 
the two apparitions. M. Aladel, in conformity with the 
popular belief, that white and blue combined constitute 
the Blessed Virgin's livery, as emblems of purity, celes- 
tial purity, gives the man le an azure tint. Sister 
Catherine expresses the same idea several times in her 
notes, saying: "White signifies innocence, and blue is 
the livery of Mary." However, the blue mantle is not 
mentioned in the notice of the apparition, Sister Cathe- 
rine speaks only of the robe and veil of auroral light. 

When questioned as to a more definite description of 
thi§ color, she replied that it was a deep white, tinted 
with the mild, beautiful radiance of dawn,^ thus wish- 
ing, no doubt, to give some idea of the celestial hue of 
the robe and veil. It is this hue that tortures the artist, 
for he feels his pencil powerless to depict the beauties 
of another sphere. 

W^e can understand from the above, how M. Aladel 
could have mistaken some details furnished by Sister 



1 We must remember that Sister Catherine's childhood was passed in 
the country, where she could admire the beauty of that luminous tint 
which precedes the sun, and colors the horizon at break of day with its 
increasing radiance. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 63 

Catherine, or have confounded the apparition of the 
medal with the visions of July 18th and 19th, in which 
the Blessed Virgin's apparel was white and blue. 

However, the accessories of the mantle and its inde- 
scribable hue, in no wise affect the reality of the appa- 
rition. 

We recollect with what indifference, we might say 
severity, M. Aladel received his penitent's communica- 
tions, bidding her give no heed to them, but dismiss 
them from her mind, as altogether unworthy of a ten- 
tion. But Sister Catherine's obedience; attested by her 
Director himself, could not efface the delightful remem- 
brance of what she had seen and heard; to return to 
Mary's feet was her greatest happiness; the thought 
never left her, iior the firm conviction that she would 
see this dear Mother again. And, indeed, in the course 
of December, she was favored with another vision, simi- 
lar to that of November 27th, and occurring at the same 
time, during evening meditation. But there was a 
striking difference between this and the previous one, 
the Blessed Virgin, instead of stopping at St. Joseph's 
picture, passed on, and rested above the tabernacle, a 
little behind it, and precisely in the place the statue now 
occupies. The Blessed Virgin appeared to be about 
forty years of age, according to the Sister's judgment. 
The apparition was, as it w^ere, framed from the hands 
in the invocation: "0 Mary! conceived without sin, 
pray for us who have recourse to thee! " traced in golden 
letters. The reverse presented the monogram of the 
Blessed Virgin, surmounted by a cross, and beneath 
were the divine hearts of Jesus and Mary. Sister 
Laboure was agam directed to have a medal struck upon 



64 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

this model. She terminates her account in these words: 
"To tell you what I understood at the moment the 
Blessed Virgin ofiPered the globe to Our Lord, would be 
impossible, or what my feelings were whilst gazing on 
her! A voice in the depths of my heart said to me: 
^ These rays are symbolic of the graces the Blessed Vir- 
gin obtains for those who ask for them.' " 

These few lines, according to her, should be inscribed 
at the base of the Blessed Virgin's statue. On this occa- 
sion, contrary to her usual custom, she could not refrain 
from an exclamation of joy at the thought of the homages 
which would be rendered Mary! "Oh! how delightful 
to hear it said: 'Mary is Queen of the Universe, and 
particularly of France!' The children will proclaim it, 
'She is Queen of each soul !' " 

When Sister Laboure related the third apparition of 
the medal, M. Aladel asked her if she had seen any- 
thing written on the reverse. The Sister answered that 
she had not. "Ah!" said the Father, "ask the Blessed 
Virgin what to put there." 

The young Sister obeyed ; and after having prayed a 
long time, one day during meditation, she seemed to 
hear a voice saying: "The M and the two hearts express 
enough." 

Kone of these narrations mention the serpent, yet it 
always figures in representations of the apparition, and 
certainly in conformity with Sister Catherine's earliest 
revelations of the vision. The following shows why we 
fve so positive of this fact. 

Towards the close of her life, after a silence of forty- 
five years, M. Aladel being no more, this good daughter 
was interiorly constrained to confide to one of her Supe- 
riors the communications she had received from the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 65 

Blessed Virgin, that they might serve to reanimate devo- 
tion and gratitude to Mary. Having done this, her mind 
was relieved; she felt that now she could die in peace. 

The Superior, favored with lier confidence, wishing to 
realize one of her venerable companion's most cherished 
desires, proposes a statue of Mary Immaculate, holding 
the globe. On asking Sister Catherine if the serpent 
must be represented under the Blessed Virgin's feet, she 
answered : " Yes ; there was a serpent of a greenish 
color, with yellow spots." She also remarked that the 
globe in the Virgin's hands was surmounted by a little 
cross, that her countenance was neither very youthful 
nor very joyous, but indicative of gravity mingled with 
sorrow, that the sorrowful expression vanished as her 
face became irradiated with love, especially at the 
moment of her prayer. 

Our attempt at representing the vision was successful, 
although the tint of the robe and veil, the celestial 
radiance of the face, the splendor of the rays, must 
ahvays remain an impossibility for art; as the good 
Sister, whilst declaring her satisfaction, betrayed by her 
tone of voice and expTession the disappointment she felt 
at the impotency of human skill to depict the beauty of 
the celestial original. 

Thirty-five years before, M. Aladel had vainly attempted 
a representation of the same apparition, as we learn from 
a curious fragment, a small design^ representing the 
Immaculate Virgin holding the globe, etc., as described 
by Sister Catherine. His note directing the details is in 
exact conformity with the Sister's description, except in 
one particular, the blue mantle. But little satisfied with 

1 The author of this design is M. Letaille, editor of religious imagery ► 

6* 



^ THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

this attempt, which gave but a con fused idea of the appa- 
rition, and his own especial impression of it, he relin- 
quished the undertaking, and held to the known model. 

We may say, with truth, that nothing can equal the 
beauty, the grace, the expression of tenderness depicted 
in the attitude of this Virgin, whose graciously downcast 
glances and hands, filled with blessings, proclaim her 
the Mother, inviting her little child to cast itself into 
her arms, or earnestly entreating the prodigal son to con- 
fide in her merciful mediation. 

This image of the Immaculate Mother, universally 
admired and honored, has a mute eloquence which never 
fails to touch the heart ; and, truly, may it ever be styled 
the miraculous Virgin. Were we to cite only those which 
have come to our knowledge, a volume would be insuf- 
ficient to contain an account of all the v/onderfnl con- 
versions, cures, marks of protection, wrought since the 
appearance of this vision to the present day. 

The production of new models, representing the 
Immaculate Virgin in a different attitude, should never 
supplant this, which is, as it were, the tj^pe of all others ; 
nor weaken the devotion heretofore accorded it by 
popular gratitude. 




CHAPTEE IV 



Propagation of the Medal. 

ITS WONDERFUL CIRCULATION CANONICAL INVESTIGA- 
TION ORDERED BY MGR. DE QUELEN. 



We have already seen with what mistrust M. Aladel 
received Sister Catherine's communications, and how he 
hesitated to assume the mission proposed to him. At 
last, after grave reflection, after consultations with 
enlightened persons, and upon the formal authorization 
of Mgr. de Quelen, Archbishop of Paris, he decided to 
have the medal of the Immaculate Conception struck. 
This was in 1832. 

When about to depict the details as related by the 
Sister, many difficulties presented themselves. In what 
attitude should the Blessed Virgin be represented, for 
in the apparition she had several ? Should a globe be 
in her hands ? Again, at one instant she was enveloped 



(67) 



68 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

in waves of light, but this could not be gracefully repro- 
duced in an engraving. After mature consideration, it 
was decided to adopt the already existing model of the 
Immaculate Virgin, which represents her with hands 
extended; to this were added the luminous rays escaping 
from the rings on her fingers, the terrestrial globe on 
which she stands, and the serpent she crushes under her 
feet. Around the oval were inscribed these words : 
"0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have 
recourse to thee ! ^' The reverse bears the letter M, sur- 
mounted by a cross, and the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and 
Mary below the M, the first surrounded with a crown of 
thorns, the second pierced by a sword. 

"As soon as the medal was struck,'^ says M. Aladel, 
"it was freely circulated, especially among the Daugh- 
ters of Charity, who, knowing something of its origin, 
wore it with great confidence. Shortly after, they gave 
it to several sick persons, six of whom experienced most 
beneficial results. Three cures and three conversions 
were wrought, some of them in Paris and some in the 
diocese of Meaux, all of a very sudden and unexpected 
nature. And now there was heard everywhere a great 
demand for the Miraculous Medal, the medal which 
heals — virtuous mothers of families giving it as a New- 
Year's present to their children, who received it so gladly 
and wore it with such respect that no one could doubt 
how their innocent hearts prized it. All the pious 
hastened to procure it as soon as it was known to be 
within reach ; but the event it gives us most pleasure to 
recorci here, and which edified us most in these early 
days of the propagation of the medal, is that, in two 
cities of the province, nearly all the young people united 
in wearing the medal as the safeguard of their youth. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 69 

Four hundred silver medals were sent for, to be indulged 
for this purpose. Very soon entire parishes in various 
counties solicited their pastors to get them medals, and 
in Paris an officer of high rank bought sixty for brother 
officers at their request. 

"Thus, the medals of the Immaculate Conception were 
circulated in a truly wonderful manner, in all the pro- 
vinces and among all classes; from every side w^e heard 
most consoling things; priests filled with the spirit of 
God wrote to us that these medals reanimated piety in 
the cities as well as in the country; grand vicars, 
enjoying the high esteem due their piety and intellect, 
prelates, even more distinguished, assured us of their 
entire confidence in the medals, which they regarded as 
means sent by Providence to revive the faith so sensibly 
enfeebled in our age; that in reality they did awaken 
faith daily in many hearts apparently devoid of it, that 
they re-established peace and union in families divided 
by discord, in fine, that not one of all those wearing the 
medal but had experienced most salutary effects. 

" Mgr. de Quelen himself (whose great charity brought 
him in contact with all classes) told me several times, 
that he had given the medal to numbers of sick persons 
of every condition in life, and never had he failed to 
recognize the blessed results. Very soon he publishes 
these in a circular of December 15th, 1836, on the occa- 
sion of consecrating the parish church of Our Lady of 
Loretto. It is a fact we are jealous of confirming, and the 
knowledge of which we desire should reach even the most 
remote parts of the Catholic world ; in our diocese this 
devotion has become more deeply rooted with time ; the 
afflicted still affirm, increase and extend its marvelous 
progress; signal favors, graces of healing, preservation 



70 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and salvation seem to multiply among us, in proportion 
.as we implore the tender pity of Mary conceived without 
-sin. ^ We exhort the faithful/ adds he in the beginning 
•of the same circular, 'to wear the medal struck a few 
years ago in honor of the Blessed Virgin/ and to rep'at 
frequently the prayer inscribed around the image: *0 
Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us Avho have 
recourse to thee!' 

"Moreover, in every part of Prance have we witnessed 
the increasiug eagerness of the faithful of all ages, sexes 
and conditions, to procure the Miraculous Medal. Care- 
less Christians, hardened sinners, Protestants, the impious 
and even Jews, asked for it, received it with pleasure and 
wore it with religious veneration. 

"Not only in Prauce were we forced to admire the 
propagation of the medal ; it spread rapidly and exten- 
sively throughout Switzerland, Piedmont, Italy, Spain, 
Belgium, England, America, in the Levant, and even 
China. It is also said, that at Naples, as soon as they 
heard of it, the Metropolitan Chapter sent for some to 
one of our establishments in that city, that the king had 
silver medals struck for all the royal family and court, 
and a million of another medal, which were dis- 
tributed during the cholera — that the image is there 
venerated in nearly every house, and the picture in 
several churches. At Pome, the Superior Generals of 
religious orders took pains to circulate it, and the Sover- 
eign Pontiff himself, placed it at the foot of his crucifix. 
We also received a letter informing us that His Holi- 
ness gave it to several persons as a particular mark of 
his pontifical affection. 

" Moreover, to estimate the propagation of this inedal, 
it suffices to consult the registry of M. Vachette, to 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 71 

whom was entrusted the striking of it.^ This examen 
shows that, from June, 1832, to the present time, he has- 
sold: 1st, two millions in silver or gold; 2d, eighteen 
millions of a cheaper metal. According to him, eleven 
other manufacturers in Paris have sold the same quan- 
tity; at Lyons, four others with whom he was acquainted^ 
at least double the number; and in many other cities^ 
whether of France or foreign countries, the manufacture 
and sales are incalculable." 

Struck with this marvelous propagation, and the uni- 
versal anxiety to learn the origin of the medal, Sister 
Catherine's pious Director published, in 1834, a short 
notice containing a brief narration of the apparition, and 
of the graces obtained by means of the medal. This 
book sold rapidly, and new editions had to be printed;, 
when the eighth appeared in 1842, the number of copies 
sold amounted to a hundred and thirty thousand, and 
each successive edition was increased by well authenti- 
cated accounts of many new miraculous occurrences. 

In consequence of all this, the venerable priest found 
himself engaged in a vast and active correspondence,, 
which, to the end of his days, filled his heart with inef- 
fable consolation, at the thought of his thus assisting in 
the accomplishment of the Immaculate Mary's promises- 
throughout the universe. 

Among the communications he received in the course- 
of the year 1836, there was one which appeared to him 
the confirmation of Sister Catherine's vision. He pub- 
lished it in the notice of the medal. It was the vision 
of a Swiss religious, already favored with many extraor- 

1 Quai des Orfevres^ number 54. They are of different sizes, and the 
invocation is inscribed in several languages. 



72 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

dinary graces. We reproduce it here for the edification 
of the reader : 

"The lUh of August, 1835, the first day of her 
retreat, this religious, in an ecstasy after Holy Commu- 
nion, sees Our Lord seated upon a throne of glory, and 
holding a sword in His hand. ' AVhere goest thou, and 
what seekest thou ? ' He asked. ' Jesus ! ' she answered, 
' I go to Thee, and it is Thyself alone I seek ! ' ' Where 
dost thou seek Me, in what and through whom ? ' ' Lord, 
in myself I seek Thee, in Thy holy w^ill and through 
Mary.' Here Our Lord disappeared, and the religious, 
awaking from her ecstasy, was reflecting upon His words, 
when there suddenly appeared to her the Blessed Virgin, 
all lovely and resplendent. She held in her hand a medal, 
on which was engraven her image and the inscription : 
'0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us w4io have 
recourse to thee!' And sheaves of light gleamed from 
her hands. ' These rays,' said Mary to her, ' are symbols 
of the graces I obtain for men.' She then turned the 
medal, and the religious saw on the reverse the 
letter M surmounted by a little cross, beneath which 
were the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. ' Wear 
this medal,' said the Queen of Heaven, ' and thou 
wilt enjoy my very especial protection; take pains, 
also, that all who are in any pressing necessity wear 
it, that efforts are made to procure it for them. . . . 
Be in readiness, for I will put it upon thee myself, 
on the Feast of my beloved servant Bernard; to-day, 
I leave it in thy hands.' The Blessed Virgin after- 
wards reproached her for misplacing the medal and 
taking little pains to find it; the religious acknowledged 
indeed, that she had received it in July, and that having 
lost it, she really gave herself no anxiety, considering it 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 73 

merely an ordinary medal, knowing neither its origin 
nor its effects till this vision. This is attested by the 
Superior of the Community. The Blessed A^irgin kept 
her promise, and on the 20th of the same month, the 
Feast of St. Bernard, she placed on the neck of the reli- 
gious, the medal she had already put in her hands, 
recommending her to wear it respectfully, to repeat the 
invocation frequently, and to apply herself to the invi- 
tation of the Immaculate Mary's virtues. 

'' During her retreat in August, 1836, she sees the 
medal every day, suspended, as it were, in the air. At 
first, it appeared very high, shining a few moments like 
the sun, then like gold; again, it seemed not so high 
and was apparently of silver; finally, very near the 
earth, and of a baser metal. The religious gazed in 
admiration, though without comprehending the mean- 
ing of this vision, until A'^espers, when it was explained 
to her. A sweet but unfamiliar voice asked her which 
of these medals she preferred. She answered, the most 
brilliant, and the same voice congratulating her on the 
choice she had made, told her, that the brilliant medal 
shining like the sun, was that of faithful Christians, 
Avho, in wearing it, honor Mary perfectly, and contribute 
to her iloYj; the gold medal, that of pious persons who 
have a tender and filial devotion to Maffi but who keep- 
ing it within their hearts, advance but slightly this 
divine Mother's cause; the silver medal, that of all who 
wear it with respect and devotion, but who sometimes 
lack constancy and generosity in imitating Mary's 
virtues — finally, that the brass medal, represented that 
of all, who contenting themselves with invoking Mary, 
take no pains to walk in her footsteps, and thus remain 
sadly attached to earth. The same voice added, that 



74 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

there is, however, a very especial and peculiar union 
among these various persons, marked, we might say, 
with the precious seal of Mary Immaculate; they all 
necessarily aid one another in a very particular manner 
by prayer, so that with this powerful assistance, the third 
can elevate the last, the second sustain the third, and 
the first, thus happily attract all the others. 

"These details have been communicated to us, from 
the abbey of Our Lady of Hermits at Einsiedlen, so 
renowned for the great virtues of its fervent religious, 
and the immense concourse of pilgrims, who repair 
hither from all parts of the worll." 

Up to this time, the medal had received only the 
verbal approbation of the Archbishop of Paris ; a formal 
authorization was necessary to assure the faithful of its 
authenticity, and to conform moreover to the laws of 
the Church, which exact a canonical judgment, before 
permitting the introduction of new images in the litur- 
gical worship. A juridical examination was conse- 
quently requested, in order to confirm the origin of the 
medal. 

Mgr. de Quelen willingly complied, and by his order 
an investigation was begun February 16th, 1836, under 
the direction c^M. Quentin, Vicar General, Promoter 
of the diocese; it was prolonged into the month of July, 
and had not less than nineteen sittings. 

We still possess the verbal process of this inquiry. 
Various witnesses appeared, the principal of whom was 
Sister Catherine's Director, M. Aladel. 

In the course of the process, the Promoter asked, why 
God had chosen the Daughters of Charity for so rare a 
favor, and not one of those convents noted for the obser- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 75 

yance of an austere rule, such as rigorous fasts, morti- 
fications, etc. For it was not in a contemplative order, 
but in the Mother House of this modest institution so 
useful to humanity, in the chapel which for a long time 
contained the mortal remains of St. Vincent, the father 
of the poor, that the apparition, which was the model of 
the medal, took place. 

We believe the reason of this preference, is to be found 
in the tAvo usages observed among the Daughters of 
Charity, from the beginning of their Society; the first, 
an act of consecration to the Blessed Virgin on the Feast 
of the Immaculate Conception ; the second, the ending 
each decade of the chaplet by the following profession 
of faith: ^'0 Most Holy Virgin! I believe and confess 
thy Holy and Immaculate Conception, pure and without 
spot ! Most Pure Virgin ! by thy virginal purity, by 
thy Immaculate Conception and thy glorious quality of 
Mother of God, obtain for me of thy dear Son, humility, 
charity, great purity of heart, body and soul, holy per- 
severance in my dear vocation, the gift of prayer, a good 
life and a happy death.'^ 

The proofs admitted in the inquiry to establish the 
authenticity of the vision of the medal, are : 

1st. The Sister's character — she is a poor young 
country girl, uneducated and without talent — of solid 
but simple piety, good judgment and calm sedate mind ; 
we perceive at once that everything about her excludes 
all suspicion of deceit or illusion. The better to pre- 
serve her incognito, she will not allow her name to be 
mentioned, and she even refused to appear before the 
Promoter of the investigation. 

2d. The wisdom of the Sister's Director, who took all 
possible precautions to guard against deception, and who 



76 THE 311KACUL0US MEDAL. 

yielded to his penitent's reiterated entreaties, only from 
fear of displeasing the Blessed Virgin, and by the advice 
of his Superiors. 

3d. The apparition in itself, contains nothing, either 
in its character or object, opposed to the teachings of the 
Church, but is, on the contrary, conducive to edification. 
Being several times renewed and always in the same 
manner, we may conclude, that the Sister's imagination 
had nothing whatever to do with it. 

4th. The wonderful circulation of the medal, con- 
firmed by the testimony of the first engraver, M. Vachette, 
and the extensive sales of copies of the notice, reaching 
109,000 in sixteen months, as attested by the publisher, 
M. Bailly, must be regarded as a confirmation of its 
supernatural origin. 

5th. The extraordinary graces obtained through the 
instrumentality of the medal, cures and conversions, 
several of which are legally attested by the deposition of 
reliable witnesses, who appeared before the Promoter and 
signed the verbal process, give a last proof to the fact it 
was sought to establish, namely, that the Miraculous 
Medal must be of divine origin. Such is the formal 
conclusion, in the report addressed to the Archbishop by 
the Promoter, at the end of the inquiry. 

Unfortunately, the ecclesiastical authority did not pro- 
nounce judgment; we know not why the inquiry did not 
receive the sanction to which it apparently led. The 
death of Mgr. de Quelen, at the end of the year 1839, 
caused all proceedings to be abandoned. Everything 
remains still in the domain of private devotions, and the 
model of the Immaculate Virgin, with its symbolical 
attributes, is not yet authorized as an object of public 
veneration in the churches. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 77 

This deplorable omission is so much the more difficult 
to understand, as, personally, Mgr. de Quelen took a 
serious interest in the apparition of 1830, the compass of 
which he comprehended. It was he who urged M. Aladel 
to have the medal struck ; he expressed a wish to have 
some of the first; he received them, and experienced 
their efficacy. Before ordering the inyestigation, he had 
summoned to him the Mother General of the Daughters 
of Charity, together with the officers forming her council, 
and other Sisters well versed in Community affairs, to 
learn from them what usages of the Community could 
have drawn down upon it such a favor as the Blessed 
Virgin had just bestowed. Kot content Avith possessing 
the Miraculous Medal, the pious prelate had in his own 
chamber a statue of the Immaculate Conception after 
the Sister's model. It was cast in bronze, under his own 
eyes, as he wished to assist at the operation. When, in 
1839, the solemn octave of the Immaculate Conception 
was celebrated in the diocese of Paris, for the first time, 
this statue, on a throne surrounded with flowers, was 
exposed to the veneration of the faithful. The 1st of 
January of this same year, he consecrated his diocese to 
Mary Immaculate. 

In commemoration of this, he had a picture painted, 
which represents him standing at the foot of Mary's 
statue, his eyes fixed upon her with love and confidence. 
The statue rests upon a globe which bears these words : 
" Virgo Jidelis.^' And th^ invocation, *^ Eegina, sine 
labe noncepta, ova pro nohis^' is inscribed upon the 
picture. 

On the Feast of the Assumption, he presented this pic- 
ture to his chapter, that it might, he said, be a monument 



78 



THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 



of his clevotion and that of the chapter of Paris to the 
Immaculate Conception of the Mother of GocL^ 

A medal, bearing date of January 1, 1839, reproduces 
this picture upon one of its faces. On the other is a 
vessel, tempest-tossed, and a star guiding it to the haven 
of peace. These Avords of St. Bernard, " Bespice stel- 
lam, voca Mariam,''^ explain the allegory. The follow- 
ing lines complete the explanation : 

" Vuna, B'i/aci?ithe, furit ; Stella maris ausjnce, 



vmcis, 



"3 




1 " Life of Mgr. de Quelen," by the Baron Henrion. 

2 Look at the star, invoke Mary. 

3 In vain, Hyacinthe (de Quelen) is the tempest UEchained ; under the 
auspices of the Star of the Sea, thou wilt triumph over its fury. 




CHAPTER Y. 



DEVELOPMENT OF THE 



DEVOTION TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTIOH 



MGR. DE QLELEN S CIKCULAK. 



The principal end of the Blessed Virgin's apparition 
to Sister Catherine was to develop among the faithful, 
devotion to the Immaculate Conception ; and the medal 
was the instrument used to accomplish this. Its influ- 
ence was so prompt and perceptible that, in the year 
1836, the Promoter charged with directing the canonical 
inquiry attributed to it, in a great measure, the wonder- 
ful development of devotion to the Virgin Immaculate. 
This pious impulse, once firmly rooted, continued to 
increase throughout the world; but, according to the 
ordinary ways of Providence, whilst the efiects struck 
the eyes of all, the cause was forgotten, it was forgotten 
especially that God had chosen a modest Daughter of 



(79) 



80 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

Charity to revive in the Church devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin. The medal was known everywhere, it was worn 
by everyone, it accomplished numberless prodigies, but 
whence did it come ? This no one thought of asking. 
It is miraculous ; that epithet includes ifcs name, its 
origin, its value, and the humble Daughter who received 
it from Mary, to bestow upon mankind, silently admires 
these astonishing results, and says, like her blessed 
Father : '' I am nothing in all this but a vile instru- 
ment, I cannot attribute to myself any of the glory 
without committing an act of injustice." 

The august Virgin had said that the graces obtained 
for mankind through her intercession would be partic- 
ularly abundant in France. Events have proved the 
reality of the promise. It is in France, especially, that 
the medal has been propagated, miracles multiplied, and 
devotion to the Immaculate Conception most rapidly 
developed; it may be said, with truth, that that country 
has, indeed, merited the title of Mary's kingdom. As, 
among all the French dioceses, Paris was the one favored 
.with these apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, so was 
Paris the one to inaugurate the religious movement. 
Faithful echo of the Church's ancient traditions con- 
cerning the Immaculate Conception, a prelate, whose 
piety equaled his nobility of character, and whose virtue 
received a new lustre from the fire of persecution, Mgr. 
de Quelen distinguished himself among all the bishops 
by his zeal in honoring the privilege so dear to Mary. 
A witness of the influence exerted by the medal upon 
the sensibly increasing devotion of the faithful to Mary 
conceived without sin, and struck with the already 
abundant fruits of this devotion in the conversion of 
sinners, the pious Archbishop was filled with joy. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 81 

Incited by a just hope of seeing the gifts of Heaven 
still more abundantly multiplied, if devotion to Mary 
were produced under new forms, he addressed a petition 
to the Sovereign Pontiff with the view of obtaining from 
His Holiness : 1st. To celebrate solemnly, on the sec- 
ond Sunday of Advent, the Immaculate Conception of 
Mary, that the devotion might be maintained and 
strengthened among the faithful ; 2d. To add to the 
^retace, Et tern Immaculata Coiicejjtmie; 31. A plenary 
indulgence, in perpetuity, for this same day. 

Our Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI, approved the 
Archbishop's petition, and granted it by a rescript of 
December 7, 1838. The privileges he had just obtained, 
in honor of Mary, conceived without sin, this venerable 
prelate joyfully published the first of the following Jan- 
uary in a solemn circular, which clearly depicts his 
eminent piety. We here reproduce it for our readers' 
edification : 

''Circular of the ArchMshop of Paris on the suhjed of 
the Feast of the Immacidate Conception of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, 

"Hyacinthe Louis de Quele:^^, by the divine mercy 

and grace of the Holy Apostolic See, Archbishop of 

Paris, etc. 

" To the clergy and faithful of our diocese, health and 
benediction in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

"We do not wish, dearly beloved brethren, to await 
the end of the year which begins to-day, and which we 
dare regard as one fruitful in all manner of spiritual 
blessings, ere announcing to you the new favor we have 
just received from the Holy Apostolic See, so much have 
we loved to persuade ourselves that the joy of your 
hearts will equal our own, so confident are we that this 



82 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

favor is for us, the presage of multiplied graces, and 
that it becomes henceforth for our diocese an abundant 
source of sanctification and salvation. 

^^Let us hasten to proclaim this favor: it treats of 
devotion to our august Queen, Mother and Mistress, the 
Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, honored espe- 
cially in the mystery of her most pure Conception. 

" Mary was conceived Avithout sin : Behold what the 
Catholic Church, what the infallible Church, what the 
true and only Church of Jesus Christ authorizes us 
to teach, without, however, declaring it an article of 
Faith, ^ what she prevents us denying publicly, what she 
instils into all the faithful, when in her general council, 
she declares, she proclaims, that in the decree treating 
of original sin, her intention is not to include therein 
the Bl ssed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of 
God.^ Behold ! what the Sovereign Pontiffs permit us 
to say, that always, and witli a view of nourishing the 
piety of Mary's servants, who invoke her by recalling 
the first of her privileges,that which approaches nearest 
the sanctity of God, always do they deign to second 
these prayers, and zealously open the treasure of indul- 
gences of which they are the supreme dispensers, in 
favor 0^ a devotion so legitimate. 

'' Mary was conceived without sin. Behold ! what the 
Church of Paris glories in professing and maintaining; 
what her Doctors hold it an honor to teach and defend ; 
what her children are jealous of preserving as one of 
their dearest possessions after the sacred dogmas of faith;. 
what they do not hesitate to regard as an immediate con- 

1 The Immaculate Conception had not then been defined. (Note by 
translator.) 

2 Cone. Trid. sess. V. Becret. depeccato originali 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 83 

sequence of their faith, not believing it possible to sepa- 
rate in Mary, the title of Immaculate Virgin from that 
of Virgin Mother of God, and not considering it possi- 
ble to refuse the privilege of a Conception without spot, 
to her who was to receive and w^ho indeed did receive, 
that of the divine Maternity. Behold I what respect 
and love for the Word made Flesh, inspire for the chaste 
bosom the Most High sanctified, because He was to 
descend there, and there clothe Himself with our nature, 
there become man by the operation of the Holy Ghost. 

''Mary was conceived without sin. Behold I what for 
years, has been repeated thousands and thousands of 
times, not in this great city or diocese only, but in every 
part of France, among strangers and in the most distant 
countries.. Behold! the cry of hope which suffering 
danger, public or private necessities, have wrung from 
mouths accustomed to bless God, and celebrate the 
praises of His Holy Mother. Behold! what has been 
written, engraved, religiously deposed, wherever there 
w^re spiritual or temporal favors to be asxed, graces of 
protection, of healing or conversion ; at the "entrance of 
cities, at the doors of dwellings, on the breast of the 
sick, on the couch of the dying. Behold! what in these 
later times especially, has taken such deep root in all 
Christian hearts, Avhat has received an extraordinary 
impulse, what has been propagated in so remarkable a 
manner, what seems to justify moreover, (the fact can no 
longer be disguised) the numberless graces obtained 
through the invocation of Mary conceived without sin. 

''Mary was conceived without sin. Behold! what 
the chaste- generation has taken the pious custom of 
placing on its heart with the sign of the cross as an 
impenetrable buckler against the inflamed darts of 



84 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

Satan, and under which its innocence and virtue are 
shielded. Behold ! what inspires it, fortifies it, renders 
it invincible in combats with the demon of darkness ; 
what makes it victorious over all the seductions of the 
world and the attacks of hell ; what attracts, what leads 
it to follow Mary in the path of angelic perfection, and 
makes it taste that celestial word which is not given to 
all to understand ; finally, behold ! what everywhere and 
in all conditions, fills with holy emulation, souls truly 
pious; w^hat encourages them to walk with constancy in 
the ways of justice ; what communicates to them a just 
horror of sin and the highest esteem for sanctifying 
grace, of which the Immaculate Virgin is for them the 
faithful mirror and venerable sanctuar}^ 

"And behold, also, our very dear brethren, what has 
urged, and determined us to regard as a consolation, a 
duty of our episcopate to second your piety in this 
regard, at the same time, that we satisfy our devotion to 
this Immaculate Virgin, to whom we are indebted for 
many signal benefits. We thought it not a rash zeal, to 
supplicate our Holy Father, the Pope, to deign confide 
to us the means of increasing devotion to Mary Immac- 
ulate in her Conception, to render it easier and thus 
more popular. The Feast of the Blessed Virgin's Con- 
ception, being now in France only one of devotion, we 
have feared that even if the memory of it were not 
gradually eff'aced, it might become insensibly neglected, 
and tiie fruits of sanctification and salvation diminished. 

"The Sovereign Pontiff has deigned to accord our 
humble request. The rescript we have received, our 
very dear brethren, sufficiently testifies how our petitions 
have been welcomed, our prayers answered, upon what 
foundation the regulations we are going to prescribe rest, 



THi; MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 85 

and the advantages we have had reason to expect from 
them. We long, yes, we long, from lively gratitude, 
from tender love to Mary, to give vent to our transports 
and salute her solemnly by the title of Immaculate in 
her Conception that day, for distant day it seems to our 
hearts, when we will be permitted to proclaim it joyfully 
before the assembled faithful, and during the celebra- 
tion of the holy mysteries. 

^'0 Mary! thou whom wisdom hast possessed in the 
beginning of thy ways, cloud divinely fruitful, always in 
light and never in shade, new Eve, who didst crush the 
infernal serpent's head ; courageous Judith, glory of 
Jerusalem, joy of Israel, honor of thy people, amiable 
Esther, exempt from the common law which presses as 
a yoke of anathema upon all the children of Adam, 
full of grace, blessed among all women. Mary! con- 
ceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee! By thy most Holy Virginity and thy Immaculate 
Conception, most Holy Virgin ! obtain for us purity 
of heart and body, in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen!'^ 

But this does not satisfy the prelate's piety; he also 
entreats the Sovereign Pontiff that the belief in the 
Immaculate Conception be expressed in the litanies of 
the Blessed Virgin. The Holy Father grants this peti- 
tion, and permits the addition to the litany of the invo- 
cation: "Regina sine lobe concepta^ ova pro nobis.^^ 
Then Monseigneur, in a new circular of June 24th, 
orders that the Sunday following its reception, this 
invocation should be chanted three times at Benedic- 
tion, and in future chanted or recited every time the 
litany was chanted or recited, adding that no prayer- 
book without this invocation inserted in the litany 



86 THE MIEACULOUS MEpAL. 

would have his approbation. The prelate also exhorted 
all the clergy, pastors and others, to instill into the 
faithlul, devotion to the Immacnlate Conception, recom- 
mending the use of the formula, "Regina sine lobe con- 
cepta^ orapro noiisJ^ 

At last, seeing the near approach of that epoch so 
dear and solemn, he could not refra n, in spite of his 
extreme weakness and the violent sufferings of a mortal 
malady, from giving vent to his feelings in a third cir- 
cular, which displays at the same time his zeal for the 
Immaculate Virgin's honor and his indefatigable solici- 
tude for the welfare of his flock. 

The feast and octave of the Immaculate Conception, 
announced and prepared with so much zeal by the pious 
Bishop, were celebrated with extraordinary solemnity in 
all the churches throughout the diocese of Paris, and 
especially at Notre Dame. It was one of the last conso- 
lations this great prelate enjoyed upon earth. He died 
the 31st of December, crowning a life rich in virtues and 
sacrifices, by an act of filial homage to Mary Immacu- 
late, and a final testimony of tender solicitude for the 
flock he was about to leave. He loved this flock during 
life, and before dying, he confides it to the inexhaustible 
charity of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of Jesus, 
he conceals it under the mantle of her purity, that he 
may feel assured of the victory over the enemies of its 
happiness. He had consecrated his person, his diocese 
and all France to this Virgin, conceived without sin. 
Was is not to her maternal protection the venerable 
prelate owed that generous submission, that admirable 
tranquility, that tender love and sweet serenity of the 
just, when he was hovering on the brink of eternity? 
He had placed all his confidence in thee, Mary! at 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 87 

that last moment, he invoked thee as the Star of the 
Sea that was to guide him to Heaven, and it Avas under 
thy auspices his beautiful soul winged its flight to the 
bosom of its God. 

In emulation of the example of the illustrious Arch- 
bishop of the capital, the other Archbishops and Bishops 
of France petition the Holy See for the same privileges, 
publishing them in their respective dioceses by sol- 
emn circulars, and proclaiming them a new source of 
benediction for the people. Thus, in the same year, 
1839, the Archbishops of Toulouse and Bourges, the 
Bishops of Montauban, Pamiers, Carcassonne, Frejus, 
Chalons, Saint-Flour and Limoges ; in 1840, the Cardi- 
nal Archbishop of Kouen, the Archbishop of Lyons and 
Besan^on, the Bishops of Bayeux, Evreux, Seez, Cou- 
tance, Saint-Die, La Eochelle, Tulle, Ajaccio, Nantes 
and Amiens; in 1841, the Archbishop of Bordeaux, the 
Bishops of Versailles, of Mmes and Lu^on, Mende and 
Perigueux. We are fully persuaded, and even assured, 
of the fact that a great number of the dioceses in France 
requested and obtained the same privileges; but we cite 
only those of which we ourselves have kept note. 

"What should be our transports of joy, confidence, 
admiration and gratitude, at this universal tribute of 
honor and homage to the Virgin conceived without spot! 
All earth unites with Heaven in a concert of praise and 
thanksgiving, proclaiming that Mary has been conceived 
without sin; all hearts vie with one another in cele- 
brating the signal favors, the miraculous cures and con- 
versions God has deigned to accord those who invoke the 
Blessed Virgin under the title of Immaculate in her 
Conception." (Circular of the Archbishop of Bourges.) 



88 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

"This new lustre bestowed upon the devotion to Mary 
conceived witliont sin, should console religion and raise 
our hopes. . . . Oh ! in this desolated region, how 
shonld we rejoice to see appear in Heaven, if not an 
omen of the end of all combats, at least the pledge of 
new triumphs and new conquests!" (Circular of the 
Archbishop of Digne.) 

May this beautiful devotion, so powerful in attracting 
the benedictions of Heaven upon earth, ever increase. Let 
us fervently implore the Immaculate Mother of God to 
enkindle it in all hearts, to bless that Prance whose pro- 
tectrice she has so often proved herself, to preserve and 
augment therein faith and piety, and to make all the 
children of France but one family, united by the bonds 
of religion and charity. Let us also implore the same 
grace for all countries, all peoples. Let each one of us 
wear the precious sign of her maternal tenderness, this 
Miraculous Medal, which, recalling to our minds the 
first and most glorious of her privileges, she gives us as 
the pledge of all her favors. 

Oh ! if we knew the gift of our Mother ! oh ! if we 
understood the excess of her bounty! Does she not 
seem longing to give us knowledge, when she displays 
to us the abumlance of her riches and the prodigies of 
her liberality, in those rays of grace she showers upon 
us like a deluge of love and mercy ? Does she not like- 
wise unveil to us the mystery of her charity, in the image 
of her heart united to that of the divine Jesus? . . . 
The same fire consumes them, the same zeal devours 
them, thirst for our salvation. This union of love and 
sacrifice is very clearly represented by the august Mary's 
initial joined to the sacred sign of the cross above the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 89 

two hearts, as an authentic testimony, of the co-opera- 
tion of the Mother of the Saviour in the salvation of the 
human race. 

Wear then, little children, this cherished medal, this 
precious souvenir of the best of mothers ; learn and love 
to say: "0 Mary! conceived without sId, pray for us 
who have recourse to thee ! " 

Morning Star, she will delight to guide your first 
steps and to keep you in the paths of innocence. Wear 
it, Christian youth, and amidst the numberless dangers 
lurking in your paths repeat frequently: "0 Mary! 
conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee!'' Virgin most faithful, she will preserve you 
from all peril. Wear it, fathers and mothers ; say often : 
"0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have 
recourse to thee ! " And the Mother of Jesus will shed 
upon you and your families the most abundant benedic- 
tions. Wear it, ye old and infirm ; say also : " Mary I 
conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee!" Help of Christians, she will aid you in sanc- 
tifying your sufferings and the closing years of life. 
Wear it, souls consecrated to God, and never cease 
repeating: "0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us 
w^ho have recourse to thee!'' Queen of Virgins, she 
will implant in the garden of your heart those fruits 
and flowers which constitute the delight of the Spouse, 
and which will form your crown at the nuptials of the 
Lamb. Amidst the trials and tribulations of life, let us 
invoke Mary, conceived without sin, and our tears will 
be dried, our suff*erings assuaged, our sorrows sweetened, 
for she dispenses the dew of all graces. In our combats 
against the demon, the world and the flesh, let us appeal 
to Mary, conceived without sin ; Strength of combatants 

8* 



90 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

and Crown of victors, she will shield us against their 
most violent assaults and assure us of the victory; but 
oh ! when standing on the brink of that moment which 
summons us before the Sovereign Judge, then especially- 
must we invoke Mary, conceived without sin, and she 
whom the Church calls Gate of Heaven will herself 
receive our last sigh and introduce our soul into the 
abode of glory and perfect happiness. 

And yon also, poor sinners, though covered with the 
wounds of sin, buried in the deepest abysses of passion, 
the arm of an avenging God lifted to descend upon your 
guilty head, despair seizing your soul, raise yoirr eyes to 
the Star of the Sea; you are not bereft of Mary's com- 
passion; take the medal, cry from the depths of your 
hearts, "0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us 
who have recourse to theel" Unfailing Eefuge of sin- 
ners, her charitable hand will apply to your cruel wounds 
a healing ointment; she will rescue you from the depths 
whence you have fallen, she will turn aside the formida- 
ble blows of Divine justice, she will pour over your soul 
the balm of sweet hope, she will guide you anew in the 
paths of righteousness and conduct you even to the 
haven of a blessed eternity. 

Would that all might taste this means of salvation ! 
the dismal shades of voluntary death would soon cease 
to terrify our cities and rural districts. Yes, the short 
prayer, " Mary ! conceived without sin, pray for us who 
have recourse to thee!" made with faith, would, even 
amidst the violent agitation of a homicidal thought, 
banish the tempter ; a simple glance at the medal of the 
Immaculate Mary would dissipate despair. "No one 
commits suicide under the eyes of a mother," said very 
truly, His Eminence, the Cardinal Archbishop of Eouen. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 91 

And the same might be said of many other crimes of 
daily occurrence. 

Oh ! you whose souls are cruelly aiHicted night and 
day, virtuous wives, who shed burning tears over the 
irreligion of a tenderly-loved husband; sorrowful 
mothers, bitterly deploring the wanderings of a child 
reared in the bosom of an eminently Christian family, 
but drawn into the vortex of bad example; pious sisters, 
praying fervently and incessantly for the conversion of a 
brother, who once, like yourselves, enjoyed the sweet 
consolations of religion; Christian children, secretly 
bewailing the indifference of a father who seems to have 
lost, long since, the precious gift of Faith, console your- 
selves ; a new hope is offered you, and it comes to you 
through the beneficent hands of Mary ; offer, give the 
image of this tender Mother to the dear objects of your 
solicitude ; the thought of this precious medal or a glance 
at it, will banish many a temptation, for we may say 
with truth of the soul as well as of the body, " no one 
commits suicide under the eyes of a mother.'^ If they 
refuse your offer do not despair; Mary will find her way 
to these hardened hearts, and in spite of themselves, she 
will take them under her protection ; imitate the pious 
ruse of many others, who in a like extremity, have 
stealthily slipped the precious medal under the pillow 
of the impenitent sick on the verge of death ; imitate 
those mothers, those wives, those Christian daughters, 
who carefully concealed in the clothing of that child, 
that spouse, that father, the medal they had refused to 
wear, do this, and one day they will appreciate the pledge 
of your piety and tenderness. No, no, never does any 
one wear in vain, the medal of her to whom the Church 



92 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

applies these words of Scripture. "He who finds me, 
will find life, and. will obtain salvation from the Lord."^ 

But it is not enough to wear the medal as a mere 
pledge of the Immaculate Mary's love ; we must regard 
it also, as an assistant in reaching perfection. This 
Mother, all amiable, proposes herself to our imitation, 
she places herself, in a measure, before our eyes, that 
seeing her so pure and perfect, we may be attracted by 
her charms. It is the image of her beauty and goodness 
she brings us from Heaven. It is a mirror in which we 
learn to know the Sun of Justice, by the perfections 

with which he has enriched His divine Mother 

It is on one side, the picture of what we should be, and 
on the other, an eloquent lesson of what we should 
practice. The shining purity of the Immaculate Mary, 
reveals to us the beauty of our soul, created in the image 
of the thrice holy God, and exciting in us, the love of 
that amiable virtue which makes us resemble the angels, 
it necessarily inspires us with the most vivid horror of 
evil, and causes us to shun the slightest imperfections, 
since they tarnish this divine resemblance. 

And, as though it were not enough to excite our fervor 
by the sight of her ravishing beauty, this faithful Virgin 
discovers to us the means of preserving innocence or 
recovering it, should we have been so unfortunate as 
to lose it. This is the lesson of the symbolic figures 
engraven on the reverse of the medal : "Nothing shall 
be written on the reverse of the medal; . . . what is 
already there says enough to the Christian soul." The 
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary placed beneath the 
cross tell us that purity is preserved or restored by love 
and union Avith our Lord. . . . Love covers a multi- 

1 Prov. viii. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 93 

tude of sins; love is the bond of perfection, the con- 
summation of all virtues. . . . Love assures fidelity. 
It must be stronger than death to make us die to the 
world, to sin and ourselves, that we may be attached 
inseparably to Jesus crucified. There is also anoth>T 
lesson to be learned — that taught by Mary's holy name, 
united to the sign of the cross. It is placed above the 
two hearts because true love leads to sacrifice ; it immo- 
lates, it fastens, it nails to the cross of Jesus Christ, and 
this union of suff'erings on earth is the pledge of a 
glorious and eternal union hereafter. 

Children of Mary, respond to her loving tenderness; 
be docile to the salutary lessons of our divine Mother, 
gratefully acknowledge this inappreciable testimony of 
her ingenious liberality. Go to Mary with the simplicity 
of a child, who lovingly clings to her bountiful hand 
until he obtains the object of his desires. Amidst all 
the storms of life, let your eyes be fixed upon this Star 
of the Sea. Invoke Mary ; ever seek her amiable pro- 
tection; she will never refuse to hear our petitions. May 
her remembrance and love reign always in our minds 
and hearts ! May we repeat incessantly this sweet invo- 
cation: '^0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us 
who have recourse to thee!" and when f-trength and 
speech have failed us may the Miraculous Medal be 
pressed to our dying lips, and the last throb of our heart . 
protest that w^e wish to die murmuring: " Mary! con- 
ceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee!'' 




CHAPTER YI 



Extraordinary Graces 

OBTAINED THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF THE 
MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



I. 

Graces Obtained from 1832 to 1885, 

"Bless the God of heaven/' said the angel to Tobias 
and his son; "chant His praises among all mankind for 
the blessings with which He has loaded you, for it is 
good to conceal the secret of the king, but it is glorious 
to reveal and publish the works of God. Etenim sac- 
ramentum i^egis aiscondere ioyium est ; opera autem Dei 
revelare et confiteri lionorificum est,''' ^ Blessed, then, 
always and everywhere, be the God of heaven and earth, 
for the numberless benefits He has been pleased to confer 
upon us through Mary! Let us adore the mysterious 



1 Tob., xii, 7. 



m) 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 95 

destiny of the Mother of the King of Kings, ^^ who, by 
reason of this title, truly merits the name of Queen," 
says St. Athanasius ; and let us rob neither God nor 
Mary of the honor and glory due them. Let us publish 
the Lord's works of power and goodness to man through 
the mediation of the Immaculate Virgin, whom He has 
established Depositary and Dispensatrix of the treasures 
of His mercy, that mercy which embraces our corporal 
infirmities as w^ell as spiritual needs. 

An account of the extraordinary graces obtained by 
means of the Immaculate Conception Medal will be for 
all Christian souls a source of precious benedictions. 
At the view of these prodigies of mercy, thes,e marvelous 
cures and conversions, the reader will be led to thank 
God and glorify His Holy Mother; those who have 
already loved Mary will be incited to still greater love; 
careless Christians, those who are tried by suffering,, 
those who have the misfortune to be in a state of sin, 
will feel their confidence awakened, and they will ten- 
derly invoke her whom the Church so justly styles 
Health of the weak, Eefuge of sinners, Comforter of 
the afflicted. 

Experience proves this. Every one knows, moreover,, 
that an example of virtue or an event which clearly 
reveals God's agency, acts much more powerfully on the 
soul than a simple consideration of the subject or a 
series of arguments. "Verba move7it, exempla trahunt — 
words can move, example attract.'^ 

We also hope for something more from the publication 
of these accounts — we hope by them to convince the 
faithful that Mary's dearest title is that of Immaculate, 
and that she knows not how to refuse the petitions of 
those who, with lively ftiith, invoke her by this dearest 



96 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

title. It is, moreover, the Church of Eome which thus 
reveals, as it were, all the merciful tenderness of Mary's 
Heart, and presents us the devotion to her spotless Con- 
ception as the sure means of enriching ourselves from 
the exhaustless treasures of that Heart and according 
to all our necessities. "Sacra Virgo Maria . . . sen- 
tiant om7ies tuam juvamen qiiicumqite celebrant tuam 
sanctam Conceptionem ; " ^ and surely this prayer of the 
Mother of all churches — prayer which we might readily 
style prophetic — has long since been answered. AVe 
have recently seen a compilation, made in 1663 by a 
Jesuit father, with the approbation of the Ordinary, 
containing an account of sixty-two conversions or cures 
effected in different places by the invocation of Mary 
conceived without sin, and apparently nothing less than 
miraculous. It is also a well known fact, mentioned in 
the life of B. Peter Fourrier, founder of the Congrega- 
tion of Notre Dame, that these simple words, "Mary 
was conceived without sin," worn with faith, brought 
relief to a multitude of sick persons during an epidemic. 
The same means obtained not less visible protection at 
Nemours, when that city was in imminent danger of 
being sacked, and also at Paris in 1830. But we confine 
ourselves to the graces obtained through the Miraculous 
Medal. Our choice of examples wdll show that, in 
bestowing especial favors upon France, the Immaculate 
Mary gives no less striking proofs of her protection in 
other countries where the medal is known and piously 
worn. 

Among the traits of protection obtained through the 
medal in the diocese of Paris, nine (three conversions 

1 Offic. Concept. B. V. M. r. viii. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 97 

and six cures) underwent a detailed examination, and 
were pronounced yeritable by the Promoter in the inves- 
tigation of 1836. We mention them in this edition, 
adding to each one's title the word — Attested. 

Quite a number of incidents printed in the edition of 
1842 we have omitted here, in order to insert (without 
greatly increasing the size of the volume) more recent 
accounts equally reliable, thus proving that the medal is 
not less miraculous in our day than at the time of the 
apparition. 

The extraordinary graces of Avhich it has been the 
instrument, would have formed an uninterrupted series 
from the year 1832 till the present, if unfortunately, 
neglecting to keep note of them, an interval of several 
years had not crept into the documents in our possession. 

For the future, please God, no such omission will 
occur, and all the authenticated accounts which come 
to our knowledge will be carefully registered for the 
glory of Mary conceived without sin, and the edification 
of her servants. 



COKVERSIOJSr OF A SOLDIER AT ALE:Nrco:N^ — 1833. 

The 14th of April, 1833, there w^as brought to the 
hospital of Alenqon (Orne) a sick soldier, who came 
from the hospital of Vitre (Ile-et-Vilaine). His impiety 
thera had greatly distressed the hospitable ladies of St. 
Augustin, in charge of that establishment, a circum- 
stance communicated to us by persons who witnessed 
the insulting manner in which he rewarded the kind 
attentions of their unfailing charity. Arrived at the 
hospital Alenqon, we soon saw what he was, irreligious, 
impious, and brutally rude. The chaplain hastened to 



98 THE JVIIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

visit him, and condole with him on his sufferings; and 
as the opening of the Jubilee very naturally paved the 
way for a few words on that extraordinary grace, he 
gently exhorted the sick man to imitate the example of 
other soldiers who were preparing to profit by it, but 
his words were answered by insults. The chaplain did 
not insist, and contented himself for several days 
with merely visiting him, and kindly sympathizing 
with his sufferings ; the sick man scarcely replied, and 
seemed much annoyed, even at the visits. 

The Daughters of Charity in charge of this hospital, 
met with no better treatment, notwithstanding the kind 
attentions they lavished on him. His malady increased ; 
seeing that it was becoming very necessary for him to 
receive the consolations of religion, the chaplain urged 
him again to make his peace with the good God, but he 
was answered by blasphemies. " Ah ! yes, the good God, 
little He cares for me." In answer to this the abbe 
made a few observations full of charity, and the patient 
continued : " Your good God does not like the French ; 
you say He is good and He loves me ; if He loved me, 
would he afflict me like this, have I deserved it ? " These 
outbursts of impiety only inflamed the charitable zeal of 
the minister of a God who died for sinners, and inspired 
him with forcible language, to depict the justice and 
merciful goodness of the Lord. The sick man soon 
interrupted him by invectives : " You worry me ; let me 
alone ; go away from here ; I need neither you nor your 
sermons," and he turned over to avoid seeing the priest. 
His treatment to the Sisters was no better ; and he con- 
tinued to ntter the most horrible blasphemies against 
religion, and those who reminded him of it; he carried 
this to such a degree, that the other soldiers were indig- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 99 

nant, especially at his outrageous behaviour, after any- 
one had spoken to him about his soul, or there had been 
prayers or a little spiritual reading in the room — he 
appeared dissatisfied, until he had vomited forth his 
stock of blasphemies and imprecations. Some days 
passed and nothing was said to him on the subject of 
religion, but every care for his bodily comfort was 
redoubled ; no one now scarcely dared hope for his return 
to God, for his malady increased, and likewise his 
impiety; all contented themselves with praying for him, 
and recommending him to the prayers of others. The 
Sister in charge of that ward, having great confidence 
in the Blessed Virgin's promises to all under the pro- 
tection of the medal, felt urged interiorly to hang one at 
the foot of his bed ; she yielded to the apparent inspira- 
tion, and, unknown to him, the -medal was there. He 
still showed no signs of relenting, and even became 
indignant when some of the other soldiers prepared 
themselves, by confession, to gain the Jubilee. The 
medal had now been six days hanging at the foot of his 
bed, and many and fervent were the prayers offered up 
to God for this miserable creature's conversion, although 
nearly every one despaired of it. One day, when all the 
convalescents of the ward were assisting at Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sister approached his bed, 
detached the medal and held it up before him. " Look," 
said she, "at this medal, it is miraculous; I hung it to 
your bed several days ago, and thereby put you under 
the Blessed Virgin's especial protection. With her 
powerful assistance, I confidently hope for your conver- 
sion. Look at this good Mother, she is praying for you 
now." He never raised his eyes, but already was grace 
working in his heart, for he showed no signs of irritation 



100 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

which had heretofore been the inevitable consequence of 
mentioning religion. Profiting by this, the Sister spoke 
to him of God's mercy, and begged him again to cast a 
glance at the medal she had just hung at the foot of 
his bed on the inner side. After being repeatedly urged, 
he opened his eyes and looked towards it. " I do not 
see your medal," said he to the Sister, "but I see the 
candle which, doubtless, you have just lit; yes, it is cer- 
tainly a light.'' It was five o'clock in the afternoon, June 
13th ; his bed was so placed that it could not receive any 
reflection of the sun's rays, and the chaplain, after 
examining the spot felt assured, that at no time could a 
reflection strike it in that direc'ion. "You are mis- 
taken," said she, "look at it carefully." He repeated in 
the most positive manner, " I see it distinctly, it is cer- 
tainly a light." Astonished beyond expression, but 
fearing her patient's s:ght was affected, the Sister showed 
him o:her and more distant objects; these he distin- 
guished perfectly, and CDut.nued to see this light for a 
quarter of an hour. During this interval, the Sister 
spoke to him of God ; suddenly, fear and love filled his 
heart. "I do not wish to die as I am! " he exclaimed, 
" tell the chaplain to come immediately and hear my 
confession. Hearing one of the other patients utter an 
oath, "oh ! make that miserable man hush ! " said he, to 
the Sister; " oh ! I beg you to make him stop swearing." 
"I was still ignorant," says the chaplain, "of the 
origin and effects of this medal. It was a very familiar 
object, and I regarded it as nothing more than an ordi- 
nary medal. When told that the sick man wanted me, 
I went joyfully, and saw for myself what a complete 
change had taken place in him. Congratulating and 
encouraging him, without knowing the cause of this 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 101 

change, I hastened to ask him if he wished me to hear 
his confession. He replied in the affirmative, and made 
it without delay; I had every opportunity of admiring 
his good will and the pleasure he manifested at each 
repetition of my visit. I endeavored to make him 
explain himself, and asked if he had not acted from 
mere civility or a desire to rid himself of the importu- 
nities by which he had been so long beset. '- N'o," he 
answered, " I sent for you, because I wished seriously to 
make my confession and arise from my state of sin." 
Henceforth he was no longer the same man ; he was now 
as docile, patient, gentle and edifying in all his words 
and ways, as he had formerly been unmanageable, brutal 
and scandalous. He eagerly desired the Last Sacra- 
ments, which, after proper preparation, he received with 
lively faith. His happiness seemed beyond expression, 
and though suffering intensely, no one ever heard the 
least sign of impatience escape his lips. He continued 
to give the most unequivocal signs of a true conversion ; 
peace and resignation were depicted in his countenance, 
and to his last sigh, which he breathed June 27th, 1833, 
did he persevere most faithfully. 

Note. — These details are attested by M. Yver Bor- 
deaux, chaplain of the Hotel Dieu; by the Sisters of 
Charity; by a woman patient named Bidon; Julien 
Prevel, an infirmarian ; by Jean Francois Eoyer, of the 
Seventh Cuirassiers; Marie Favry, infirmarian, all eye 
witnesses, besides a large number of other soldiers who 
left the city whilst we were investigating the matter. 



102 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



CUKE OF MADEMOISELLE AURELIE B. (PARIS) — 1833. 

Attested, 

The account of this cure was sent us by the person 
herself in the month of May, 1834. 

The 3(1 of November, 1833, I was attacked by a 
typhoid fever, for which I was treated by a skillful phy- 
sician and the Sisters of Charity, who spared no pains 
for my recovery. At the end of a month I was able to 
take a little nourishment, and I had the happiness of 
assisting at the Holy Mass and receiving Holy Commu- 
nion on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I 
was still very weak, and utterly incapable of any exer- 
tion. In this state of exhaustion, I took a little choco- 
late. The fever soon returned, and continued with daily 
increasing violence until Christmas. Then the physi- 
cian said there was no longer any hope of my recovery. 
Another physician was called in, who, after an examina- 
tion, declared me consumptive to the last degree, but 
said they might try the eifect of a few blisters. These 
proved of no benefit. The 27th of December, the phy- 
sicians finding me extremely ill, informed the Sisters 
that my death was imminent. Moreover, I had been 
cold for two days. About half-past six that day, I 
received the last Sacraments, and at nine every one 
thought I would soon breathe my last. Suddenly, one 
of the good Sisters around my couch thought of putting 
the medal on me. I kissed it continually with great 
confidence, and began to feal better. My condition next 
morning was a matter of astonishment to the physician, 
and I continued to improve so rapidly that, at the end 
of two days, the fever had entirely disappeared. My 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 103 

appetite was ravenous, I soon resumed my occupations, 
and ever since have been in perfect health. I doubt 
not, Monsieur, that I owe my recovery to Mary, my good 
Mother, my love for whom seems to have increased ; my 
greatest happiness being to decorate her altars, and my 
most earnest desire that of consecrating myself to God 
in a Community whose works hav ' so touching a con- 
nexion with the sublime destiny of the Mother of Jesus ; 
it is under her protection I expect the accomplishment 

of my designs. 

Yours very respectfully, 

A UK E LIE B. 

Note. — The nine Sisters of the establishment have 
attested the truth of these details, and one of the two 
physicians does not hesitate to declare her recovery 
supernatural. 

Moreover, this young person has ever since remained 
in perfect health. Her prayers are granted, the Immac- 
ulate Mary has also obtained for her the grace of being 
received into the Community she wished to enter, which 
is the reason we do not give her name. 



CURE OF A RELIGIOUS (PARis) — 1834. — Attested, 

This fact is kjiown to many ; however, to prevent too 
great a number of visitors, the Superior requests us not 
to publish the name of the Community. 

A young religious, twenty-seven and a-half years old 
and eight years professed, in an Order especially conse- 
crated to the Blessed Virgin (Paris), had been kept in 
the infirmary by various maladies, for the space of five 
months. At the very tim3 she appeared convalescent, 



104 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

an accident of the gravest nature happened; her left 
thigh bone became disjointed and shrunken, the limb 
was attacked by paralysis, and the sick religious lay 
upon her bed one month, without experiencing the 
slightest alleviation from human remedies. Two phy- 
sicians and a surgeon being consulted at various times, 
pronounced the displacing of the bone due an irritating 
humor ; but they could not check it, even by means of 
cauterizing and issues, so that after a long and painful 
treatment, she remained a cripple. She now had recourse 
to the Blessed Virgin as a child to its good mother ; a 
religious of the house having brought her one of those 
medals called miraculous, which had been given her, 
she received it gratefully, aj)plied it to the afflicted 
member and commenced, Saturday, March 1st, 1834, a 
novena to the Blessed Virgin. All human remedies 
seemed unavailing ; she lost her appetite and was unable 
to sleep. She was also racked with high fever ; however, 
having snatched a little repose during the Wednesday 
night after beginning the novena, she was suddenly 
awakened by a very painful commotion, which re-estab- 
lished the bones in their place ; the leg which had been 
shortened about six inches, became lengthened almost 
even with the other, and recovered its usual strength. 
On visiting her next morning, the physicians were 
greatly astonished, but gave orders that she should not 
yet leave her bed. On Sunday, the last day of the 
novena, the fact of the cure was established beyond a 
doubt. The religious arose quite naturally, and without 
any assistance, ran to kiss the feet of Mary's statue, 
placed over the infirmary fire-place ; then, dressed in her 
habit, and accompanied by the Mother Infirmarian, she 
descended about a dozen steps to the chapel to adore the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 105 

Blessed Sacrament, after which she repaired to the com- 
munity room, where the Superior with her Mothers and 
Sisters were assembled, to give her the kiss of congratu- 
lation. This touching scene was terminated by the 
recitation of the Te Deum, and Sui Tuujii, No trace 
of disease remained, except a slight weakness for a few 
days, and as this was felt only in the sound limb, it was 
evidently the result of her having been, six months 
in bed. 

Two of the physicians acknowledged^ with all the 
Community, that it was a supernatural favor. One of 
them has even declared in a certificate of May 4 th, 1834, 
that without wishing to characterize a fact as extraor- 
dinary, he observes that in this circumstance there are : 
1st, spontaneous disjointing; 2d, spontaneous diminu- 
tion, three days convalescence, and these last t^vo are, to 
the extent of his knowledge, without parallel in the 
records of surgery. 

The religious has never had another attack of this 
infirmity. 



CURE OF A SICK PERSON" (CHALOKS SUR MARKE) — 1834. 

The Abbe Begin, an eye-witness of this cure, which 
took place at the hospital St. Maur, where he is chaplain, 
has prepared a verbal process which attests : 1st, that 
the patient was really afflicted ; 2d, that she was cured 
March 14th, 1834 ; 3d, that she declares no other means 
were employed than the medal and prayer. This verbal 
process is signed by a hundred persons of the above- 
mentioned hospital. 

"Madame C. H., a widow, aged seventy, a charity 
patient at the hospital St. Maur, was, in consequence of 



106 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

a fall the 7th of August, 1833, crippled to such a degree 
that it was with great difficulty she could walk, eyeii 
with the aid of a crutch, and sometimes the additional 
assistance of another person's arm ; she could scarcely 
seat herself, and to rise was still more of an effort. To 
ascend the stairs was almost impossible, she could 
accomplish it only by grasping as she went along what- 
ever lay within reach. She could not stoop or kneel ; 
the left limb, which was the principal seat of her malady, 
she dragged helplessly after her, not being able to 
bend it. 

"Such was her sad condition at the beginning of 
March, 1834. However, she heard something that enkin- 
dled a ray of hope in her heart. Some one had spoken 
to her the January previous of a medal said to be mirac- 
ulous ; it bore on one side the image of Mary crushing 
the infernal serpent's head, her hands full of graces 
figured by rays of light proceeding from them, and the 
invocation: ^0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us 
who have lecourse to thee!' on the other, the Sacred 
Hearts of Jesus and Mary, with the letter M surmounted 
by a cross. She was also informed of the wonders it 
had wrought, and her heart awoke to the consoling 
hope of realizing some benefit from the medal which 
had been promised her. How she sighed for the happy 
moment when it would be in her possession ! How long 
the time of waiting appeared ! At last, her desires were 
gratified ; the 6th of March she received, as if it were a 
present from Heaven, the long wished-for medal, and 
hastened, by the reception of the Sacrament of Penance, 
to prepare herself for the desired favor. Next day, the 
first Wednesday in the month, she commenced by Holy 
Communion a novena to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 107 

Mary. Twenty times, day and night, did she press to 
her lips the precious medal hung around her neck. 
For several days of the novena, our Lord severely tried 
her faith anew. Her sufferings increased greatly, like- 
wise her fervor and confidence, and soon the most blessed 
results were the recompense of this poor woman's prayers. 

"Seven days of the novena had not elapsed ere she 
was relieved of the sufierings that had so cruelly afflicted 
her for seven months. I could not depict the astonish- 
ment and admiration of every one, who saw on the morn- 
ing of March 14th this person so helpless the very even- 
ing before, walk with all ease imaginable, bend, kneel, go 
up and down high steps. One spoke of it to another for 
mutual edification, and, in turn, came to congratulate 
her on her recovery, and give thanks to God and Mary. 
The Superior, Avho had bestowed constant care upon the 
sick woman during her crippled state, and had thus been 
a daily witness of her sufferings, returned solemn thanks 
for this extraordinary grace, the whole Community chant- 
ing a Te Deum in their chapel. 

" P.S. — I forgot to say that the widow has the free use 
of all her limbs, and has never since had a return of her 
former'infirmity." 

The following is what Monseigneur thought proper to 
append to the verbal process, an extract from which we 
have just read : " We certify that credence can, and 
ought to, be placed in the testimony of the Abbe Begin, 
that of the Sisters and so many other eye-witnesses who 
have spoken conscientiously and from no motive save 
that of zeal for the truth. 

"t M. S. F. v., Bishop of Chalons. 
" Chalons, May 30, ISSJ^r 



108 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



COi^YERSIOl^rS OF M. DE CASTILLON", CAPTAIK IK THE 
21ST LIGHT guards; Ai^^D OF A WOMAN" — 1834. 

Extract from a letter of Sister 0. (Herault) to M. E. : 

"November 13, 18SJf. 

"It should be the duty of children to glorify their 
mother, and a very sweet one it is for me to acquaint you 
with two incidents manifesting the boundless charity of 
Mary conceived without sin. 

" The first relates to a sick soldier in our house. 
Though we had already witnessed the efficacy of the 
medal, in eff'ecting the conversion of several soldiers 
most obstinate in resisting grace, no conversion was so 
striking as this. M. Frederick de Castillon, aged thirty- 
five, /Captain in the 21st Light Guards, entered the hos- 
pital, April 29th, in the last stage of consumption, and 
attacked by paralysis of the left side. We nursed him a 
long time, his condition grew alarmingly worse, but how 
could we mention religion to a young soldier who boasted 
of having none ? I kept myself ahvays informed of his' 
state, and contented myself (apparently) w^ith watching 
the progress of the disease. Several times I attempted 
to make him realize his danger, but in vaii?. One day, 
when he was much worse, and I had an opportunity of 
seeing him alone, I ventured to inquire if he were a 
Catholic. ' Yes, Sister,' he replied, looking steadily at 
me. I then asked him to accept a medal, to wear it, and 
frequently invoke the Immaculate Mary, telling him at 
the same time that, if he did so wdth faith, this good 
Mother would obtain for him all the graces he needed, 
for bearing his sufferings patiently and meritoriously. 
He received it gratefully, but did not put it on. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 109 

" But our confidence in the Blessed Virgin's influence 
over him was not diminished, especially when we saw 
him place the medal on the side of his bed. The Sister 
in charge of that hall had already slipped one in his 
pillow-case. Several days passed, his strength was grad- 
ually ebbing away, and after many ineffectual efforts to 
obtain his consent to see a priest, I asked a clergyman 
to visit him notwithstanding, and I introduced him into 
the sick man's presence just as some one came to tell 
me he could not live through that night (October 15th). 
We found him extremely ill, but still inflexible. After 
a few moments, I withdrew, and left him alone with the 
charitable priest, who could get nothing from him but 
these despairing words : ' Leave me in peace, to-morrow 
I shall be dead, and all will be over ! ' Of course, there 
was nothing else to be done but comply with his request, 
and you can imagine how painful it was. We redoubled 
our petitions to the Immaculate Virgin, and this good 
Mother soon wrought a change in the unfortunate man's 
heart. 

"Next day, he asked the physician to tell him can- 
didly if his case were hopeless, because he wished to 
arrange his aflPairs. That same evening, as soon as the 
Sister in charge of the hall entered, he said to her very 
gently and penitently : ' Oh ! how sorry I am to have 
treated the Superior so badly, and the good priest she 
brought me ! Present my apologies to them, I beg you, 
and ask them to come again.' You know we delayed 
not a moment in going to see him. Next morning he 
began his new life, and during the nine days M. Castillon 
still lived the chaplain visited him several times every 
day, remaining two hours at a time. One of his brother 
officers, coming to see him just after his first confession: 

10 



110 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

* If you had been here a few minutes sooner/ said M. de 
Castillon, with an utter disregard of human respect, 
' you would haye found me in good company. I was 
with the cure, and I could not haye been in better.^ He 
had the happiness of receiying the Last Sacraments with 
the most admirable dispositions. Here are his dying 
words, which he asked this gentleman to commit to 
writing : ^ I die in the religion of my fathers, I loye 
and reyere it, I humbly beg God's pardon for not always 
haying practiced it publicly.' And he expired in the 
peace of the Lord, October 23d. 

" I now relate the second conyersion, that of a woman 
who, for eighteen years, had been a public scandal, 
liying with a wretch who had abandoned wife and chil- 
dren for her. To such wicked conduct, she added a 
more than ordinary degree of impiety, boasting that she 
belieyed neither in God nor hell, and mocking at eyery- 
thing religion held sacred. Although dangerously ill, 
she declared that neyer would she make a confession. 
Sister N., seeing the rapid progress of the disease and 
near approach of death, had recourse to the Blessed 
Virgin ; she put a medal around the woman's neck, and 
began a noyena for her conyersion, relying upon the 
assistance of her who, eyery day, giyes us continually 
increasing proofs that she is our Mother and a most 
merciful one. Before the noyena was finished, this poor 
creature, yielding to grace, made her confession, and 
renounced foreyer the wretch who had been her curse, 
manifesting as much sorrow for her past life, and proying 
herself as pious as she had heretofore been shamelessly 
impious. 

"The aboye facts, Monsieur, I haye thought it my 
duty to make known to you, for the edification of the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. Ill 

faithful and the glory of Mary. May these examples of 
her power and bounty, lead all sinners to cast themselves 
into her arms! '^ 

Note. — These two events are truly a confirmation of 
what St. Bernard says, "that no one ever invokes Mary 
in vain;" but what a misfortune for those who refuse 
her succor ! A very reliable individual once told us, 
that a sick person to whom a medal had been given, and 
who beg«n to feel the efiects of grace, suddenly insisted 
upon having the medal taken off, saying: "It hurts 
me ; I can wear it no longer. To quiet him it was taken 
off, and he soon expired without the slightest sign of 
conversion. The person relating this, was an eye-wit- 
ness ; it happened in the month of October, 1834. 



COKVERSIOl^ AKD CURE OF MME. PEROis" AIsTD CURE OP 

HER DAUGHTER. — Attested, 

Note. — It is Mme. Peron herself who gives us all 
the details. She lives in Paris, rue des Petites-Ecuries, 
No. 24. We quote her own account, written February 
36th, 1835, from her dictation, and in presence of the 
Sister w^ho visited her in her sickness. 

" I was sick eight years, and afflicted with very con- 
siderable hemorrhages. I suffered much and almost 
continually. I w^as without strength; I took but little 
nourishment, and that little increased my malady, which 
was gradually exhausting me. I do not remember to 
have had during these ei^ht years, more than eight entire 
days of relief from pain ; the est of the time I passed 
on the bed, unable to perform the work necessary to aid 
my poor husband in supporiini^ the family. I have even 



112 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

been confined to my bed as long as eighteen months 
without intermission. I consulted several physicians, 
who prescribed the remedies usual in such cases, but all 
to no purpose. My husband, not being able to afford 
such expense, and seeing no hope of my recovery, lost 
courage and was almost in despair. Some kind persons 
sought to cheer him : ^ You must not be so low-spirited, 
my poor Bourbonnais, you must bear up under these 
trials and show your strength of character ; your wife is 
very sick, but she will recover and your friends will not 
abandon you.' As for myself, seeing that medicines had 
no effect and cost us a great deal of money, I dispensed 
with doctors, and was a long time without seeing one, 
having resigned myself to a slow death. 

^^ A neighbor who understood my position, came one 
day to see me, and urged me not to give up thus, but to 
have the physican again. I opposed it, because we had 
not the wherewith to remunerate him. She then pro- 
posed to call in a Sister of Charity. I observed that 
not being in want, perhaps the Sisters would refuse to 
come, as it might thus deprive of their services, others 
more unfortunate than myself. This good lady insisted, 
and I yielded. 

" Next morning, I received a visit from Sister Marie 
(of St. Vincent de Paul's parish), who brought me some 
assistance, encouraged me to support my sufferings, and 
did her best to console me. I can truly say that happi- 
ness entered my house with this good Sister. She soon 
sent a physician, Avho, after examining me and under- 
standing my case, told her, as I have since learned, that 
it was a hopeless one, I had a very little while to live, 
and ought to be sent to the hospital to spare my family 
the sad spectacle of my death. Hearing this. Sister 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 113 

Marie believed it her duty to give my soul especial atten- 
tion. I was not an enemy to religion, but I was not very 
practical ; I went sometimes to the parish functions, 
when my sufferings and occupations permitted, but (and 
I say it to my shame) I had not approached the Sacra- 
ments for years. When the Sister, after several other 
questions, asked me if I went to confession, blushing, I 
said ^no.^ She begged me to do so, and I replied: 
' When I am cured, I will.' The good Sister, little sat- 
isfied with my evasive answer, urged me again to see a 
priest. ' Sister,' said I, ' I don't like to be persecuted 
with things of this sort, when I am cured I will go to 
confession.' I saw that this answer grieved her, but she 
never remitted her visits and kind attentions. My 
malady increased. One Saturday or Sunday night, at 
the commencement of October, 1834, my whole body 
was cold, and vainly did my friends endeavor to restore 
a natural warmth, the chill of death seemed on me. 
They spoke of reciting the prayers for the dying; I 
understood a part of what was said, but myself was 
speechless. Whilst I was so ill, my husband told our 
eldest daughter to go to bed, and he, thinking me easier 
because I was feebly breathing, threw himself, without 
undressing, upon the bed to snatch a little repose; but, 
getting up a few minutes later, he came to me, put his 
hand on my face, and was horrified to find it covered 
with a cold sweat. He thought me dead, and called 
aloud : * Euphemie,' (this is our eldest daughter's name), 
' Euphemie, alas ! thy mother is dead ! ' Euphemie arose 
and mingled her lamentations with those of her father. 
Their cries awakened Madame Pelleve, our neighbor, 
who came to console them. 'Ah ! madame,' said my 
husband, on seeing her, ' my wife is dead ! ' Having 

10* 



114 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

begged him to be resigned to God's will, this lady- 
approached me, and, placing her hand upon my heart : 
^No,' she exclaimed, ^she is not dead, her heart still 
beats/ They kindled a fire, and succeeded in restoring 
a little warmth to my body. 

" Madame Pelleve went betimes to inform Sister Marie 
of all this, and the latter hastened to tell the physician. 
' I am not at all surprised,' he answered; ' this lady has 
two incurable diseases. Besides these hemorrhages, she 
is in the last stage of consumption, as I have already 
told you, and if not dead before this, she will not live 
through the day.' My chest had, indeed, been very 
weak for some time, and the physicians in consultation 
ha.l all said I could never be cured. 

" At two o'clock in the afternoon I received a visit 
from Sister Marie, who found me not quite so ill; I could 
speak. ^Do you love the Blessed Virgin very much?' 
said she. 'Yes, Sister,' I had indeed always practiced 
some devotion in honor of this good Mother. 'If you 
love her very much, I can give you something to cure 
you.' ' Oh !^yes, I shall soon be well.' I spoke of death, 
for I felt that it was near. Then she showed me a medal 
and said: 'Take this medal of the Blessed Virgin, 
who will cure you, if you have great confidence in 
her.' The sight of the medal filled me with joy; I 
took it and kissed it fervently, for I truly longed to be 
cured. The Sister now recited aloud the little prayer 
which I could not read, and urged me to repeat it daily; 
I promised to add five Paters and five Aves. She then 
put the medal around my neck. At that instant, there 
passed through me a new, strange feeling, a general revo- 
lution in my whole body, a thrill through all my members. 
It was not a painful sensation, on the contrary, I began 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 115 

to shed tears of joy. I was not cured, but I felt that I 
was going to be cured, and I experienced a confidence 
that came not from myself. 

" Sister Marie left me in this state ; after her departure, 
my husband who had remained motionless at the foot of 
my bed said: ^ Put all your confidence in the Blessed 
Virgin; we are going to make a novena for you.' 
Towards evening I could raise myself up in bed, which 
w^as yery astonishing, considering my extreme exhaus- 
tion, but a few hours previous. On Tuesday I requested 
some broth, which was given me at last, and a little 
while after I took some soup. My strength returned; I 
felt that I was cured. Finally, on Thursday, I wished 
to go to church to thank the Blessed Virgin. This 
suggestion was opposed, but I insisted and at length, 
went. Whilst on the way and alone (for I preferred 
going by myself), I met Sister Marie, who did not recog- 
nize me ; I took her hand : ^ Oh ! ' said she, ' it is really 
yourself!' 'Yes, Sister, it is I indeed; I am going to ^ 
Mass: I am cured! 'And what has cured you so 
quickly ? ' ' The Blessed Virgin, and I am going to 
thank her.' The Sister was lost in astonishment. I 
recounted to her how it had all come about in less than 
three days, and I kept on to church and heard Mass. 
Since then, I have had no return of my malady ; I enjoy 
good health; I go about my duties, performing a regu- 
lar day's work, and to the Miraculous Medal am I 
indebted for it all." 

Not only Madame Peron's body but her soul, did the 
Blessed Virgin restore to health ; she soon chose a Direc- 
tor and went to confession, and she has continued to do 
so ever since ; her life is really very edifying. As she 
deeply regrets having lived so long estranged from God, 



116 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

her greatest happiness now is in frequently approaching 
the Sacraments ; two things awaken her tears, the recol- 
lection of her past life, and gratitude for her twofold 
recovery. 

Nor is this all; the Blessed Virgin seems to have 
chosen this family for the purpose of displaying in it 
the wonders of her power. Madam Peron had a daugh- 
ter aged sixteen, who, after her mother's recovery, gave 
herself to God in an especial manner, employing in 
exercises of piety, all her leisure moments, and edifying 
her companions in the parish confraternity, Avhenever 
she could take part in their devotions for she lived in 
another quarter. 

The father also was deeply touched at the favors 
accorded his wife ; he wears the medal, and he has 
experienced its blessed effects. 

Madame Peron has still another daughter, a little girl 
six years and a-half old, who had great difficulty in 
speaking, or rather, who did not speak at all, although 
she was not mute. Her utterance was so impeded, that 
she scarcely ever finished a Avord, thus disconcerting the 
most patient. It was so much the more deplorable, as 
she was quite a bright child. ' What a pity she does 
not talk!' said everyone who witnessed her infirmity. 
When Sister Marie saw this little girl, ' Why do you not 
send her to school,' said she to the mother, ' instead of 
keeping her home all day ?' 'You hear how she talks,' 
answered the mother, who did not like to have her 
child's infirmity exposed. However, she yielded to the 
Sister's wishes, and little Hortense was sent to the 
Sister's parish school. Her imperfect speech did not 
improve, it would sometimes take her five minutes to 
pronounce half a word. Some days after, Sister Marie, 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 117 

who deeply pitied the child, spoke to her mother of a 
novena for curing this defect. ^Ciire Hortense, Sister! 
it is impossible, it is a natural defect ! " The Sister, 
with increasing anxiety insisted. The novena was com- 
menced on Saturday ; it consisted in hearing Mass every 
day, and reciting a few prayers in honor of the Blessed 
Virgin. The medal was hung around the little girl's 
neck, and she was to take parb in all the exercises of the 
novena. For several days there was no change, but 
Thursday after the Mass of the Blessed Sacrament, Hor- 
tense, on leaving church, could speak as distinctly and 
with as much ease as any one. Those who first heard her 
were struck with admiration, the news soon spread, and 
from all sides came persons to see her ; they questioned 
her, and the child answered ; they scanned her to see if 
it were really the same, and recognizing her, they 
returned, saying : " This is certainly a great miracle, a 
sudden cure of a natural defect !" 

Little Hortense, showing her medal with delight, 
would say to all who knew and congratulated her : " The 
Blessed Virgin has cured me." 

In thanksgiving for so great a benefit, the child was 
consecrated to Mary on the 21st of November, Feast of 
the Presentation, in the same chapel where the appari- 
tion of the medal took place, and, in commemoration of 
this great event of her life, she was to wear only blue 
and white until her First Communion. Previous to this 
ceremony, she made her confession, with every evidence 
of understanding thoroughly the importance of the act. 
When asked if she loves the Blessed Virgin, " Oh ! yes," 
she answers, ^' I love her with more than all my heart ! " 
an expression invented, it seems, solely by the fulness of 
her gratitude. She prizes her brass medal so highly. 



118 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

that she would not exchange it for one of silver or gold, 
and she wishes it put in the tomb with her when she 
dies. "We hope, Hortense," said her father not long 
ago, (he always finds a new pleasure in hearing her talk), 
"we hope, when you die, that you will leave us this 
medal as a souvenir of yourself and a relic of the Blessed 
Virgin." "Certainly, papa, if it gives you so much 
pleasure, but I promised the Blessed Virgin, the day of 
my consecration, that the medal should never leave me, 
but should even descend with me into the tomb when I 
died." 

We publish these details, with the cordial approbation 
of this family, fully imbued with ever increasing grati- 
tude to Mary Immaculate. 

These two accounts have been confirmed by nine other 
persons. 



COi^YERSION OF SEVERAL SOLDIERS (HOTEL DES IKVA- 

LiDES) — 1 834. — A ttested. 

Note. — All these edifying details, which have already 
produced a most beneficial effect upon many young men, 
were given us and attested by Sisters Radier and Pourrat, 
who, having charge of that w^ard, were witnesses of the 
facts, and also instruments of divine mercy in operating 
these prodigies. 

"'We had in St. Vincent's ward, number 20, royal 
hotel des Invalides, Paris, a soldier who had been spit- 
ting blood about six months, and who, it was thought, 
would soon die of consumption. He was naturally polite 
and grateful for the attentions bestowed upon him, but 
he showed no signs of religion ; his morals were bad, 
and it was a well-known fact that, for twenty years, his 
life had been one of scandal. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 119 

" It appeared, however, that faith was not entirely 
extinguished in his heart, for another patient, his neigh- 
bor, being on the point of death and refusing to see a 
priest, this one entreated him to yield, and was instru- 
mental in bringing about his conversion. Alas ! his 
own turn soon came, we saw him growing worse day by 
day, he was wasting visibly, and had not once mentioned 
receiving the Sacraments. As he had urged his neigh- 
bor to prepare for death, we hoped he would make his 
own preparation, without being reminded of it, or, at 
least, that he would willingly comply with the first sug- 
gestion. On the contrary, he absolutely resisted all our 
entreaties, saying : ^ I am an honest man. Sister, I have 
neither killed nor robbed.' ' Even so,' we would answer, 
'we all stand in need of God's mercy, we are all sinners.' 
' Oh ! Sister, just leave me in peace, I beg you.' 

"However, he began to realize that he had been sink- 
ing for several days, and he said aloud : ' There is no 
hope for me ! ' This thought appeared to distress him. 
One day (it was Wednesday, the 26th of November), the 
disease took such a sudden turn for the worse, we feared 
he would not live through the day, and, being unable to 
make any religious impression on him, we warned the 
chaplain of his condition and his resistance to all our 
entreaties. The latter went to see him. Our patient 
received him with great respect, but, wishing to get rid 
of him adroitly, said : ' I am acquainted with the cure.' 
A little while after, the cure visited him, and conversed 
with him some time. On leaving his bedside, the ven- 
erable, zealous pastor came to us and said: 'Your 
patient is very low, and I have not succeeded in getting 
him to do anything for his soul ; indeed, I did not urge 
him too much, for fear he might say 7io, and then would 



120 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

not revoke it, like so many others, after once giving a 
decided negative.' 

''The same day a lady of his acquaintance al:o came 
to see him, and earnestly but vainly urged him to make 
his peace with God. To get rid of her importunity he 
said : ' I know the cure ; he has already been to see me, 
and will return this evening.^ The cure returned indeed, 
according to promise; the sick man, on seeing him, 
jumped out of bed to show that he was not so ill as to 
make confession a very pressing matter. The cure, a 
true Samaritan, rendered him all the little services 
imaginable, helping him back to bed, and even offering 
to dress his blister; he then spoke to him about his 
soul, but without avail, for after an hour's conversation 
he came to us and said : ' I am deeply grieved, for I have 
done my utmost, but it has had no effect upon him.' 
We asked the cure if we must call him during the 
night, in case the sick man grew worse. 'I think,' said 
he, 'you had better not, unless he asks for me.' A little 
later one of us reminded him again of the chaplain, who 
was passing, but he got enraged and began to swear, so 
that we had to drop the subject, despite our distress at 
the thought of his appearing so unprepared before his 
God. Our grief w^as so much the greater in proportion 
to his extreme danger, for the death rattle w^as already 
in his throat, and it did not seem possible that he could 
survive the night. It was then my young companion 
said to me: 'Oh! Sister, perhaps our sins, as our holy 
St. Vincent says, have been the cause of this man's im- 
penitenc?.' Expecting nothing more from the patient, 
Sister Eadier now turned all her hopes towards the 
Blessed Virgin. During night prayers thoughts of the 
medal came into her mind, and she said to herself: 'If 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 121 

we put the medal on him perhaps the Blessed Vn^gin 
will obtain his conversion/ and she determined to make 
a novena. After prayers she said to her companion : 
^Let ns go see the sick man and put a medal on him; 
perhaps the Blessed Virgin will grant our petitions/ 
She went immediately, and found him up and in a state 
of great agitation, and about to leave the room ; all the 
other patients saw it clearly, and said that it was with 
the intention of committing suicide. The Sister cau- 
tiously took away his knife and whatever else might be 
used in this way, slipped unperceived the medal between 
his two mattresses, and returned to us very sadly, saying : 
' Let us fervently invoke the Blessed Virgin, for I very 
much fear thii poor man will kill himself during the 
night.' 

'' Next day, immediately after rising, and even before 
seeing the Sister who had kept watch, one of us hastened 
to visit our patient, and not without most dire forebodings, 
but, to our astonishment, his mind was calm and he 
seemed better. On inquiring how he felt, ' Very well, 
Sister,' he answered, ' I passed a good night, I slept well 
(which I have not done for a long time), and I am better 
in consequence.' As the Sister retired, he called to her, 
saying : ' Sister, I wish to make my confession, oh ! 
send the cure to me ! ' ' You wish to confess ? ' replied 
the Sister, ' take care ; are you going to do as you did 
all day yesterday, do you really want him ? ' ' Yes, 
Sister, upon my honor.' ' Well, since you wish him, I 
will go for him, it will certainly be well for you to con- 
fess your sins, for it is said that your life has not always 
been edifying.' Then, without the slightest human 
respect, he began to mention his sins aloud, and with 
great sentiments of compunction ; we could scarcely 
u 



122 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

induce him to stop. The cure came, and he made his 
confession, which lasted an hour. Afterwards, one of 
US haying come to see him, he exclaimed joyfully at our 
reproach : ^ Oh ! Sister, how happy I am, I have been 
to confession, I have received absolution, and the cure is 
to return this evening. Since my First Communion, 
this is the happiest day of my life ! ' He appeared 
deeply affected, and expressed a most ardent desire to 
receive the good God. ' Do you know what we did ? ' 
' What was it, Sister ? ' ' We put between your mat- 
tresses a Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin.' 
'Ah ! then, that is why I passed such a comfortable 
night; moreover, I felt as if there was something about 
me that Avrought a wonderful change, and I do not 
know why I did not search my bed ; I thought of doing 
so.' The Sister then produced the medal, which he 
kissed with respect and affection. 'It is this,' he 
exclaimed, 'that gave me strength to brave human 
respect. I must place it on my breast ; I will give you 
a ribbon to attach it to my decoration,' (he wore the 
cross of honor.) The first ribbon offered being a little 
faded, 'No, Sister,' said he, 'not that, but this; the 
Blessed Virgin must have a new ribbon.' The Sister, 
regarding his weak state, placed the medal in such a 
manner that it was somewhat concealed. ' Oh ! do not 
hide it. Sister,' said he ; ' put it beside my cross, I shall 
not blush to show it.' 

" In the afternoon the cure asked us how our patient 
was, and he was not less edified than ourselves at the 
account we gave of his admirable dispositions. Prep- 
arations were made to give him the last Sacraments. At 
the sight of the Holy Viaticum, he was so penetrated 
with emotion that he begged pardon aloud of God for 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 123 

all the sins of his life in detail, and it was with the 
utmost difficulty he could be persuaded to lower his 
voice, his heart being too full to contain itself. He 
passed the following night and the next day in the same 
dispositions of faith, regret and piety, until Monday 
morning, December 1st, when he peacefully rendered 
his soul to God, and we have every confidence that it 
was received into the arms of His mercy. 

" We relate what we saw and heard ; it took place in 
our ward, which numbers sixty patients, the majority of 
whom witnessed a part of these details." 

Note. — Before burial, the Sister took the medal off 
his corpse, and the patient in the next bed begged to 
have it, so persuaded was he that it had been the instru- 
ment of this touching conversion. 

This consoling return to God was followed by several 
others not less striking or less sincere, and in that very 
institution, by the same means — the medal. Quite lately 
two have taken place, but the details are so very much 
like the above that for this reason alone we refrain from 
giving them. 

All this has been confirmed by M. Ancelin, cure of 
the Invalides. 



cure of m. fermin, a priest — 1834. 

This account was sent us by the Superior General of 
St. Sulpice, who was anxious that we should have it. 
The venerable priest of this very estimable Community, 
who was favored with this grace, wrote the details him- 
self, and they were attested by the Superior and the 
Director of the grand Seminary of Eheims, both of 
whom were witnesses. 



124 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

" To the glory of Mary conceived without sin, I, Jean 
Baptiste Fermin, unworthy servant of the Blessed Vir- 
gin, and subject of M. Olier, have, together with my 
Superior and confreres, thought it my duty to transmit 
to our very honored Father, an account of the special 
favor accorded me. 

"Many persons knew what I suffered for six whole 
years, how I was worn out with a nervous, worrying 
cough, whose attacks were so frequent and so prolonged 
that one can scarcely imagine how I ever survived them. 
My physician himself told me that, for the first three 
years, my life was in imminent danger, and if in the 
last three I was less exposed to death at every step, as it 
were, the giving way of my stomach, the weakness of my 
chest, were such that all my days were filled with bit- 
terness, and new crosses were laid upon me. In this 
condition, what ecclesiastical fasts could I keep ? Four 
or five years ago, the desire of complying, in some 
degree, with the precepts of .he Church led me to fast 
the Ember week before Christmas, and the prejudice to 
my health was such that I was not permitted to fast 
again even for a day. Abstinence from meat became 
impossible, and for having attempted this sliglit mortifi- 
cation, how much I suffered in consequence, even in the 
very month of July, 1834 ! Whilst my health was so 
impaired, and I saw only a lingering end to my afflic- 
tions, it pleased my Superiors to give me a year's rest. 
I received with gratitude this additional evidence of 
their consideration for me, and endeavored to co-operate 
with them in re-establishing my health, of which they 
had been so thoughtful ; but, in my condition, the recu- 
perative powers of nature were of slight avail. Even 
amidst perfect quiet and rest for four whole months, I 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 125 

experienced but little alleviation of my sufferings, for 
though my chest became, at least, apparently stronger, 
my stomach grew weaker and more disordered, so that 
I was obliged to diet, which, added to the dieting I had 
already practiced, reduced me to such a state of exhaus- 
tion that I could not foresee the consequences. 

^^0, Mary, how deplorable was my condition when 
you cast upon me a look of mercy! The 15ih of 
November, 1834, I was sent a medal, struck in honor of 
the Immaculate Conception, and already celebrated as 
the instrument of many miracles. In receiving it, I was 
penetrated, for the first time, with a strong feeling of 
confidence, that this was the Heaven-sent means by 
which I would reach the end of my afflictions ; I had 
not foreseen this hope, still less had I excited it, 
for I believe I can say, conscientiously, that I felt 
naturally disinclined to ask a favor of which I 
deemed myself unworthy. However, the feeling became 
so strong that I thought it my duty to consider 
it prayerfully next morning ; and not to oppose so good 
an impulse, I determined to make a novena, and I com- 
menced it on the 16th. From that moment my confidence 
was boundless, and like a child who reasons no longer, 
but sees only what he feels sure of obtaining, it sus- 
tained me amidst the new trials to which I was subjected; 
for on the 19th, and several days after, my sufferings 
were redoubled, affecting at once both stomach and 
chest. On the 22d I felt considerably better, on the 23d 
I believed myself strong enough to abandon a diet on 
which I had subsisted a long time, and on the 24th I 
wished to eat just what was served the Community; 
that very morning I commenced, like the hearty semi- 
narians, to take a little dry bread and wine, and it agreed 
II* 



126 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

with me. Thus my desires were accomplished. I had 
implored the Blessed Virgin to give me health to live 
according to the rule, and she had done so ; but a good 
Mother like Mary would not leave her work imperfect, 
and she chose the very day of her Conception to bestow 
upon me her crowning favors. I was still troubled with 
a slight indisposition of the stomach accompanying 
digestion after dinner, but it was not positive suffering, 
and even this remnant of my old infirmity disappeared 
entirely. On the eve of that Feast my devotion to Mary, 
which had lost a little of its first fervor, was, when I 
least expected it, excited anew, and I felt urged to 
implore the consummation of a good work so happily 
begun. I did so that evening, and next morning at 
prayers, at Mass, at my thanksgiving, and it was in 
finishing this last exercise before a statue of the Blessed 
Virgin, after a most fervent prayer, that I realized the 
recompense of my confidence — I felt assured that my 
petitions had been granted. Since then I have experi- 
enced no indisposition worthy of attention. I was able 
to fast the Ember week before Christmas and the eve of 
that great solemnity; I sang the ten o'clock High Mass 
the fourth Sunday in Advent; I followed all the offices 
of the choir on those days the Church consecrates to the 
celebration of our Divine Master's birth, and, instead of 
regretting these efforts, I find in each one of them a new 
motive for blessing the Lord and testifying my gratitude 
to our good Mother. J. B. Fermin." 

''' Though surpassing our hopes, we have witnessed 
the speedy and perfect recovery of M. J. Fermin, which 
appears to be something supernatural, since he employed 
no other remedies than great devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin and a no vena in her honor. 

"AuBRY, Eaigecourt Gourkay." 



THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 127 



11. 

Graces OUained during the Year 18S5, in France^ 
S'witzerland, Savoy and Turkey. 

CURE OF MADEMOISELLE JOUBERT. 

Note. — The account of this very striking cure was 
sent us by M. Poinsel, Vicar General of Limoges, -vvhom 
I took the liberty of asking for it. 

"Bishopric of Limoges. 

" Glory to God ! honor to Mary ! 

"The 10th of February, 18(i4, Mile. Jouberfc, aged 
twenty-nine years, a person of solid piety, was suddenly 
cured of a painful and very serious infirmity. For more 
than a year, she had carried her left arm in a sling, by 
reason of an unaccountable disease which extended from 
the shoulder to the hand, and was of such a nature that 
the afflicted member seemed dead; when necessary to 
be handled, it had to be done with extreme precaution, 
and even then the pain was so excessive that often the 
patient fell sick in consequence. The disease was suc- 
cessively styled rheumatic gout, inflammatory and gan- 
grenous rheumatism ; science employed in combating it, 
baths, shower baths, poultices, liniments of all sort, vain 
remedies which only aggravated the evil and varied the 
suffering. Sometimes amputation was spoken of: 'Would 
to God, Mademoiselle, you had but one arm ! ' said the 
physician, not concealing his anxiety and fears of her 
death, as spring approached, for the diseased arm was 
pale, liv'd, and frightful to behold. 



128 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

" The young lady, a true Christian, was resigned to 
all ; by nneditations upon the cross, she encouraged her- 
self to suffer, and, perceiving the progress of the disease, 
she thought only of dying the precious death of the 
just. A friend, one day, proposed to her that she should 
wear the medal with confidence, and make a novena to 
Mary. She acted upon the suggestion ; at the end of 
the novena, on the usual day of her confession (she was 
accustomed to confess weekly), she approached the sacred 
tribunal, and lo ! at the very instant when recollected, 
contrite and humbled, she received the moral effect of 
the priest's benediction and holy words, an extraordinary 
physical change took place in the arm heretofore judged 
incurable, it suddenly became unloosed and free, all suf- 
fering vanished ! ' I scarcely knew where I was,' said 
she, ' but it seemed to me as if a cord that had been 
tightly drawn around my arm was unwound, ring after 
ring, and I was cured ! My surprise, my joy, were 
extreme and beyond all power of expression ! ' 

" On reaching home, she exclaimed : ' A miracle ! 
light a taper, light two, come, come, see the miracle ! I 
can move my arm, animation is restored to it, I am 
cured ! ' Oh ! how great the joy of that family ! They 
surrounded the favored one, they looked at, they touched 
the resuscitated member, they tested its powers in various 
ways, making her lift divers objects and execute a variety 
of movements; then, all the members of this truly 
Christian family, moved even to tears, fell on their knees, 
and recited that hymn of thanksgiving, the Te Deitm. 

" Since then, (that is, for more than a year), her arm 
has been perfectly well. The physician himself was 
struck with this event, which it would be difficult to 
attribute to concealed resources, or the sudden agency of 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 129 

nature. What is nature without the intervention and 
action of God ? He is sole Master of nature, life and 
death are at His will. It is not necessary, then, to 
reason so much on the subject ; a little faith will easily 
make us recognize here a special grace of God, through 
the intercession of Mary, our kind, sweet Mother, to 
whom we must ever repair, invoking her with love and 
confidence. 

" Such is the simple and conscientious account of the 
event given me, the undersigned, by the person herself, 
in answer to my questions, in the presence of an intelli- 
gent, reliable individual who saw all, having several 
times dressed the arm, and who, by reason of her skill 
and long experience, was well calculated to judge of the 
danger. 

" In attestation of which, etc. 

" PoiKSEL, Vicar General. 
" February U, ISSSr 

These details are confirmed by two letters of Madame 
and Mademoiselle Joubert, by the testimony of the 
Superior of the Daughters of Charity of Limoges, and 
that of M. Dumonteil, a lawyer and friend of the family. 



COI^YERSIO^S AKD CURES WROUGHT liT SWITZERLAND. 

Letter from Sister Boubat, Superioress of the Daugh- 
ters of Charity in Chesne : 

"February 12, 1835, 

" I have not great miracles to recount to-day, but the 
facts I give are certainly very striking traits of protec- 
tion. However, I shall tell them just as they are, and 
let you judge of them for yourself. Those of which I 



130 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

was not an eye-witness have been told me by very reliable 
parties who were. 

"1st. A woman who had been sick a long time, and 
given up by the doctors, received, one evening, the 
Miraculous Medal, and was restored to her usual health 
that night; feeling perfectly well, she said to her hus- 
band next morning that she would get up and prepare 
breakfast. He treated this as nonsense, and when she 
really did arise, his astonishment was great, and beyond 
all bounds when he found that her health was fully 
restored. 

"2d. In the same village, a young mother had two 
children, one six the other eight years old. The latter 
was attacked by a violent malady, described to me as a 
convulsion, and died in a few days. The younger had a 
similar attack, and seemed on the verge of death. The 
poor mother was in the depths of grief, when some one 
thought of offering her a medal. She received it as a 
treasure. It was evening; she put it on the dying child, 
who soon fell asleep, and slept soundly the whole night. 
In the morning he awoke perfectly cured ! This good 
woman afterwards came to me to get medals for herself 
and some others. Oh! I wish you could have seen her 
as she wept for joy whilst expressing to me, with all 
simplicity, the transports of her soul! Never will I 
forget it, so deep was the impression it made upon me. 

" 3d. A child five years old had been racked for sev- 
eral months by a fever, which resisted all efforts to 
check it. One day, he was in his grandmother's arms 
when the paroxysm began. This woman, full of faith, 
applied the medal ; the child soon grew better, and the 
fever never troubled him again. 

" The attending physician was a relation ; on seeing 



THE MIRAC CLOUS MEDAL. 131 

him after this, the child ran towards him, exclaiming 
with all the animation and artlessness of his age : ' I 
am cured, but it was not you who cured me, it was the 
medal.' He repeats these words nearly every time he 
sees the doctor. 

" 4th. A young man, on his death-bed, filled all his 
friends with serious apprehensions for his salvation. 
After several vain efforts of the most charitable zeal, the 
cure induced him to accept a medal, and very soon the 
dying man expressed a wish to confess. He expired in 
the most edifying dispositions. 

^'5th. Three sinners obstinately refused to assist at 
the exercises of a mission given in their parish, and even 
sought to oppose it. One of the missionaries persuaded 
them to accept a medal, and as soon as they had received 
it, a great change was visible. They not only made the 
mission, most devoutly, but became its zealous advocates. 

'* I get these details from a very venerable cure, who 
gave them to me himself. 

'- 6th. There came to me recently a woman from the 
neighboring mountainous district, who said without any 
previous explanation : ' You cured one of my daughters 
whom all the physicians had given up ; I now wish you 
to giv3 me the same thing.' I tried at once to recollect 
what medicines I had prescribed, and asked question 
after question concerning the nature of the malady, so 
as to know what remedy I had dispensed. After puzzling 
my brain to discover, she told me it wa^ a piece, thus 
suddenly reminding me that I had given a medal to a. 
young woman from that place, who came to consult me 
about her fail:ng health. To verify the fact, I sent 
word for the young woman to come to see me. 

" I pass over in silence a multitude of other events 



132 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

which, without being termed miracles, are none the less 
real graces ; and in my eyes one most precious and great 
grace for us is, that the Blessed Virgin deigns to make 
use of our poor little house to propagate deyotion to her. 
Oh ! if you could see these good mountaineers of every 
age and sex come with the greatest confidence and most 
touching simplicity, asking for n^ medaillot — a medal. 
It has affected me deeply, and I cannot sufficiently 
express my gratitude to our tender and Immaculate 
Mother. 

"Even Protestants have askel us for these medals, 
and I am assured it was with perfect sincerity. The 
pastors in Savoy are also very zealous in propagating 
this devotion to Mary. Since reading the notice, they 
have mentioned it from the pulpit to their parishioners, 
many of whom have, in consequence, procured the 
medal. Likewise, do we see young men about to enter 
the army fortify th?mselves with it, and persons under- 
taking a voyage wearing it as their safeguard ; indeed, 
every one has recourse to it as the universal remedy for 
soul and body." 



CURE OF SISTER HYACIIN'THE, A RELIGIOUS OF CALVARY. 

It is the Mother General of the Community who has 
given us these details. Her letter is dated February 
7th, 1835. 

"I am overwhelmed with joy; our poor patient is 
perfectly cured by virtue of the Miraculous Medal. I 
could say our patients, for our prayers were offered both 
for the paralytic and that young person whom I told 
you had been sick eleven months ; she was able to remain 
out of bed only a few hours each day; whepiever she 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 133 

could go to Mass, and that was rarely, she had to be 
assisted, and the support of an arm /was necessary when 
she approached the Holy Table. Since Thursday she 
walks alone and eats without experiencing the slightest 
symptom of her former infirmity, except a little weak- 
ness. I hope the Lord will finish His work and restore 
her to perfect health; but let us speak of our dear 
Sister. 

^^The following is a copy of the account I wrote of 
this marvel to our holy Bishop day before yesterday, 
after Mass : 

"' I acquaint Your Grace with an incident of God's 
great mercy, displayed to our Community in the suiden 
cure cf one of our choir religious, named Hyacinthe, 
aged forty-seven years. This good Mother, the 14th of 
last January, had a stroke of paralysis. It did not 
aflfect her head, but immediately fixed itself in the left 
side, which became motionless and devoid of feeling. 
We hastenel to summon the physician, who bled her 
freely in the arm; next day we tried leeches, medicines, 
a blister on the neck, and three days after one upon the 
paralyzed limb, but all of no avail. The poor patient, 
as well as ourselves, must submit to the decrees of Him 
who strikes and heals at will. At the end of fifteen 
days I was inspired with the thought of making a novena 
in honor of the Immaculate Conception, the medal of 
which, called the miraculous, we all w^ear. On the 
fourth day of the novena, as we were about to recite the 
prayers around her bed, the good Mother desired Holy 
Communion. She was taken to the choir by three per- 
sons ; after receiving, the limb felt a little better, and 
she could return with the aid of two persons only. Her 
confidence in the Mother of God increased daily ; yester- 

13 



134 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

day she asked permission to come down on the last day 
of the novena, and this mornmg, with the assistance of 
a cane and some one to support her, she came down and 
had the happiness of receiving Holy Communion. Im- 
mediately after, we finished the no vena prayers, just at 
the end of which she was seized with a pain in the para- 
lyzed arm, followed by an icy chill and then a sensation 
of extreme heat. She came to me with both arms lifted, 
exclaiming, ^'I am cured I" And perfectly cured she 
w^as, being able to walic and use her limbs as freely as if 
she had never felt a symptom of paralysis. 

"'To give you an idea of our joy and gratitude, Mon- 
seigneur, would be impossible. The patient fainted, and 
I came very near doing the same ; it was with difficulty 
I could continue our prayers of thanksgiving, so mar- 
velous did it seem that the Lord should have granted 
this favor to our Community, under the government of 
one of His most unworthy servants.' 

"I send you this copy, Avhich we had kept, of the 
letter. 

"In the same letter I asked Monseigneur's permission 
to have a Te Deum chanted at the end of Benediction. 
His Grace hastened to send word that he not only per- 
mitted but ordered it, which order was joyfully complied 
with. The Vicar General, our Superior, wrote, asking 
me to defer our Vespers half an hour, as he wished to 
assist at the Te Deum. Several other ecclesiastics also 
came, and saw our healed ones blessing God. Since that 
day our good Mother Hyacinthe follows the rules, com- 
plies with all her duties, and has never felt the least 
return of her malady. 

"This miracle created great excitement in our city; 
the laborers who were working at the house having 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 135 

learned it on the spot, immediately spread the news; the 
evening previous, they had seen our poor Sister dragging 
her limb, a cane in hand, and almost carried by two 
persons, and next morning they beheld her perfectly 
cured! These men, who have seldom much religion, 
sang the praises of God's power, and asked me to give 
them medals. I gave a medal to each with great pleas- 
ure. Clergymen have come to learn the particulars of 
this event, and I let the miraculously cured herself 
recount the wonders of the Lord. 

^* I must not omit informing you that the physician 
having vainly exhausted all remedies, had been nine days 
without seeing the patient; and the very eve of her 
recovery he told one of our boarders that the disease 
having settled itself he believed our afflicted one might 
be able to walk, but she could never use her arm again. 
On coming next day to visit his other patients, he was 
surprised beyond expression Avhen she appeared before 
him perfectly cured. Wishing to get his candid opinion 
on the subject, I remarked that probably it was not real 
paralysis, but only a numbness. ^It was a strongly 
marked case of paralysis,' he answered, ^and there is 
certainly something supernatural in her recovery.' 

'^In thanksgiving we continue the novena prayers, but 
preface them with the Laudate, 

" Make such use of this letter as you may deem advisa- 
ble. If you insert it in the notice, you are at liberty to 
name our city and house. Oh ! how we long to spread 
abroad the knowledge and love of God's power, signally 
displayed in answer to our invocation of the Immaculate 
Mother of His Divine Son. 

"Sister St. Marie, 

'' Superioress of Calvary of Orleans.'' 



136 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



. CURE OF MADAME LEBOiT (DIJOK). 

Note. — ^'The venerable lady upon whom this cure 
was wrought belongs to a highly honorable family of 
Dijon, and her personal character is yery well calculated 
to inspire the utmost confidence," says L'Ami de la 
Beligiony in its issue of April ITth, 1835. Moreover, 
the letter she wrote, March 12th, to one of her friends, 
and which she was anxious should be transmitted to us, 
is accompanied by the certificates of the pastors of 
St. Michael of Dijon, of Dampierre and Beaumont-sur- 
Vingeanne, also of five members of the municipal council, 
and several other very reliable persons, some of them 
members of her family; more than this, it is followed 
by a detailed account given by the medical attendant, 
who had charge of her case for sixteen years. 

"Dijo7i, March 12, 18S5, 
"Madame and Dear Friend : 

" You ask me the details of the miraculous manner in 
which it has pleased God to restore me to health. Well ! 
it might be summed up in these few words : I implored 
Mary to obtain my recovery, and she did obtain it 
instantly ; having said this, you know all, but you desire 
me to recall the circumstances of my sickness and my 
experience subsequent to the cure. I give them as 
follows: 

" You doubtless remember that, for more than twenty 
years, I could not walk, in consequence of an abscess on 
the intestines, which left me in such a state of sensibility 
that ever after a walk of more than a hundred steps I 
was exposing myself to the most serious accidents. 
Neither are you ignorant of the fact that, nearly fifteen 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 137 

months ago, by reason of influenza, a second abscess 
formed, and so increased the irritability that I hovered 
between life and death, and even when at my best I was 
scarcely able to drag myself from one room to another. 
But you have probably never heard that, since the 1st of 
last December, my condition was so critical that, with 
great dijKculty, could I remain out of bed three or four 
hours at a time, which made me, as well as those around 
me, think my end Wiis near and I would not survive the 
spring. 

'* This w^as my condition, dear friend, Avhen some one 
mentioned to me the medal of the Immaculate Virgin, 
and urged me to get it. I was a long time deciding to 
do so, for I considered it presumptuous to solicit the cure 
of an infirmity the physicians had pronounced incurable. 
At last, having thought, on the one side, that the more 
desperate the malady, the greater God's glory should 
He deign to cure it ; and, on the other, that He had 
WTought the most wonderful miracles for those who were 
least w^orthy, I decided to mention it to my confessor. 
I did so, and he encouraged me to make the novena. 

" The 2d of February, Feast of the Purification, the 
first day of the novena and one ever memorable for me, 
I was taken to church in a carriage ; my daughter, sole 
confidante of my intentions, assisted me to the Blessed 
Virgin's altar, where, after hearing Mass as well as my 
infirmity would permit, I received Holy Communion. 
Scarcely had I knelt to make an act of adoration, when 
I was obliged to take my seat. A Sister of Charity, 
whom I did not know was there, for I had not hoped to 
receive the medal just yet, put it on my neck. Imme- 
diately, I got on my knees to beg the Mother of the 

12* 



138 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

afflicted to intercede with her divine Son for the restora- 
tion of my health, should He foresee that it would be 
conducive to God's glory and her honor, to my salvation 
and the happiness of my husband and children. Scarcely 
had I pronounced a few words, petitioning our Lord to 
graciously hear His holy Mother s prayer, ere Mary had 
interceded and God in His great mercy had hearkened ; 
I w^as cured, Madame, entirely cured. ... I finished 
all the prayers of thanksgiving after Communion and 
those of the novena on my knees, and, without expe- 
riencing the slightest inconvenience, my malady had 
disappeared and I have never felt the slightest symptom 
of it since. I walked, unassisted, to the church door, 
sent away the carriage and returned home on foot. 

"I have given you a detail of the facts, but to express 
the feelings that filled my heart on re-entering my house 
would be impossible; my joy, my astonishment, were 
boundless ; I could hardly realize it myself. Cured in 
an instant! The thought was overpowering! It seemed 
as if I must be in a dream, but my husband's astonish- 
ment, my mother's, and that of the servants, who, seeing 
the great change wrought in me, although they were 
ignorant of the means, could not forbear exclaiming: 
' But a miracle must have been worked upon you ! ' 
convinced me that I was not asleep. 

"Since that time I walk as well as any one; scarcely 
was my novena finished ere I could go from one end of 
the city to the other. It has not been six weeks since 
my cure, and I have already walked more than three 
miles at a time, and could have accomplished twice as 
much. You see, Madame and dear friend, that the 
miracle is a most striking one. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 139 

" I now beg of you, as well as all other pious souls, to 

unite heartily with me in thanking God and His august 

Mother. 

" Your ever devoted 

"Elis. M. Darbeaumoxt Lebon." 
The physician's certificate ends thus: "Whatever may 
have been the cause of a cure, heretofore regarded as 
impossible by all the doctors who attended Mme. Lebon, 
it should be considered none the less certain and posi- 
tive, for the evidence of the fact is indubitable. 

"Wherefore, I sign the present attestation, which I 
declare sincere and true. 

" Four:n'ier, Doctor. 
^'Dampierrey March 19, 1885^ 



CURES WROUGHT AT SMYRIsTA Ai^D C0>^STANTIi^OPLE. 

Extract of a letter from M. Le Leu, Lazarist mis- 
sionary : 

" Constantinople, March 16, 1835. 

"It has been a long time since I proposed writing you 
something about the medal. In my eyes, one of the 
greatest miracles it has ever worked is the rapidity of 
its propagation and the confidence it inspires. By our 
demands upon you for medals, you may judge of their 
eflect in this country. We could dispose of thousands 
and yet not satisfy the innumerable calls we have for 
them. At Smyrna, it is the same. We had occasion to 
send a few into the interior of Asia, and the Blessed 
Virgin showed herself no less powerful or beneficent 
there than in Europe. At Angora, an old man was 
deprived of the use of all his limbs, and had neither 
walked nor worked for years; he lived in frightful 



140 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

poverty, and sighed for death, for he was especially 
grieved at being so long a burden upon a family in indi- 
gent circumstances. (In this country there are numbers 
of Armenian families very devoted to the Blessed Virgin, 
and this was one of them.) He had no sooner heard of 
the Miraculous Medal, than he solicited the happiness 
of obtaining and wearing it. In these countries the 
Faith has retained its primitive simplicity ; this recipient 
of a medal does not content himself with praying before 
it, or hanging it around his neck, but he kisses it with 
profound respect and applies it to the affected part; the 
Blessed Virgin cannot resist such confidence, and the 
good old man instantly recovers the use of his limbs — 
he now w^orks and supports himself. 

" Here is another incident : A young woman belong- 
ing to a respectable and very pious family had, for a 
long time, been a prey to a disease, the nature of which 
neither the French, Greek nor Turkish physicians could 
understand. Its symptoms were most violent pains in 
the side, which prevented her walking, eating or sleep- 
ing, and which sometimes disappeared, only to return 
with renewed violence. Having heard of our medal, this 
lady felt interiorly urged to employ it for her recovery, 
but believing herself anw^orthy of obtaining a direct 
miracle, she besought the Blessed Virgin to enlighten 
the physician and make known to him the proper rem- 
edy. Thereupon, she went to the country. At the end 
of several days, she was astonished to see her physician, 
who exclaimed as soon as he saw her : ' Madame, good 
news ! I have found the remedy for your disease. I am 
sure of it; in a few days you will be perfectly well. I 
do not know w^hy it is, but your case has constantly 
occupied my mind since your departure, and by a careful 
study of it I have at* last discovered the cause of the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 141 

disease and the manner of treating it.' The lady recog- 
nized at once that this knowledge came from above, and 
she had not implored Mary in vain. To-day she is in 
excellent health. It was from the mouth of her mother 
I received these details. ' Monsieur/ exclaimed this 
good mother, ^how happy I am at my poor daughter's 
recovery I It is the Blessed Virgin who has restored 
her to me. If you could only get me a few more of these 
medals; I am overwhelmed with requests for them.' 
The physician himself published the details I have just 
given. So persuaded is he of the efficacy of the medal 
that he calls it his final remedy, and advises his patients 
to wear it whenever he is at a loss concerning their 
malady. And the Blessed Virgin has rewarded his 
faith ; for one of his ow^n daughters, a most pious per- 
son, but in miserable health, has just experienced its 
beneficial efifects. 

'^I could mention numberless other incidents, as manv 
conversions as cures, but one more will suffice for to-day. 
Not long ago the mother of a family had every symptom 
of an attack of apoplexy; she had already lost con- 
sciousness, when her son, a very pious young man, who 
wore one of these medals, took it off his neok and put it 
around hers. He then ran for a doctor and a priest. 
On reaching the house they were all three astonished to 
find that she had quite recovered. That evening the 
son asked his mother for the medal, and she returned it, 
but a moment after was stricken with another attack. 
The protect'on of the Blessed Virgin seemed to have 
been withdrawn with this sign of her poAver. He imme- 
diately put the medal on her neck again, this time to 
remain, and she has been well ever since. 

"Oh! do not delay, I beg you, in sending us the 
medals w^e have asked of you." 



142 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



co]^yersio:n" akd cure of a:n' old ma^t at castera- 

LES-BAIi^S. 

Note. — These details are sent us and attested by 
M. Belle '", clerk of registration at Auch, and by other 
very reliable persons. 

" In the early part of March, 1835, an old man in the 
parish of Castera-les-Bains (Gers), fell dangerously ill. 
The venerable parish priest, M. Barere, hastened to visit 
him, hoping he might persuade the poor creature to cast 
himself into those arms that were extended on the cross 
for all sinners. Our patient, who had not been to con- 
fession for long years, received him like an infidel as he 
was, refused all religious assistance, and ended by say- 
ing : ' M. cure, I would rather lose my speech than 
comply with your wishes I ' The charitable pastor 
retiring, though very reluctantly, now thought of the 
Miraculous Medal he wore, and, taking it off, gave it to 
one of the household with instructions to put it in the 
patient's bed ; advising, however, in case the ruse were 
discovered, no allusion to the subject, so as to spare the 
unhappy one all occasion of invective against religion. 
But, oh ! marvelous to relate ! a little while after, the 
dying man awakens as if from a profound slumber, and 
earnestly begs that the cure be sent for to hear his con- 
fession. At this news, the good pastor flies to his lost 
sheep, who receives him with every expression of joy, 
begs his pardon, and asks to receive the Sacrament of 
Penance. It would be superfluous for us to dwell at 
length upon the sentiments and language of the chari- 
table minister of religion. He was so touched by his . 
penitent's dispositions, that he did not hesitate to take 



THE ^IIRACULOUS MEDAL. 143 

him the Holy Viaticum next morning. Many of the 
faithful accompanied the Blessed Sacrament to the sick 
man's chamber; confessing again, he abjured his errors 
before all the assistants, and earnestly entreated them to 
pardon the scandal his past conduct had given them. 
Every one was affected to tears, and it was in the midst 
of this universal emotion that he received the good God, 
with the deepest sentiments of humility and compunc- 
tion, and recommending himself to the prayers of all 
present. In the course of the following night, fearing 
he might be carried off by a spell of weakness, he 
requested Extreme Unction, and received it with the 
same evidences of faith and piety. This conversion was 
followed by his perfect recovery, and the good old man 
now blesses Divine Providence, which, through Mary's 
protection, rescued him from the borders of a frightful 
abyss into which his infidelity would have plunged him 
forever. 

"The undersigned, who got these details from the 
mouth of the cure of Castera, vouches for their authen- 
ticity. He has neither added to nor taken from them 
in the slightest, knowing full well that the Blessed 
Virgin has no need of falsehoods to prove her power and 
goodness. It is, then, on his Avord of conscience he 
gives this fact, which none of the inhabitants of Castera 
and the neighboring country would deny, even were he 
incredulous." 



144 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



CURE OF ROSALIE MORYILLIERS, ACK]S"OWLEDGED AS 
MIRACULOUS BY ALL THE PARISH. 

"Ha7igest {Somme). 

"I have mentioned to you the cure wrought by the 
Miraculous Medal upon a person aged fifty years ; the 
fact is incontestable. Kosalie Morvilliers, the recipient 
of this favor, had never been free from suffering since 
her seventh year; an affection of the nerves caused almost 
constant palpitations of the heart and severe headaches, 
which, however, did not hinder her performing some 
slight work without aggravating the malady. But about 
five years ago, she was afflicted by an unmistakable attack 
of epilepsy, which threw her family into the greatest 
consternation. Henceforth, she was obliged to keep her 
bed, and saw no one but her most intimate friends; the 
very sight of a face that was not familiar was sufficient 
to throw her into dreadful convulsions for several hours. 
Independent of any external cause, these paroxysms 
usually came on three times a day, and so violent were 
they, that it was with great difficulty she could be kept 
in her room; she uttered most frightful cries, her 
features were horribly distorted, her mouth covered with 
foam, and, indeed, according to the testimony of those 
who usually witnessed the attacks, it was some time 
before she regained consciousness. 

" Such was her condition when some one gave her a 
Miraculous Medal. She received it with the greatest 
confidenc ^, and immediately applied it to that part of 
her head where the pain was most acute ; the pain dis- 
appeared immediately. From that moment she felt 
urged to make a novena in honor of the Immaculate 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 145 

(Jonception for the cure of her epilepsy. But diffidence 
in mentioning the matter to her director made her defer 
the execution of this pious design six weeks. At length, 
she yielded to her desires, saying she felt fully persuaded 
that this novena would ensure her recovery through the 
Blessed Virgin's intercession, and her confidence was 
not misplaced. The cure immediately began the novena, 
engaging in it the sodality of the Holy Family. Whilst 
at Mass on the morning of the last day, the 17th of Mary's 
month, the patient was seized with the most violent 
attack possible, the worst she had ever had, although 
during the novena, the paroxysms had increased in inten- 
sity. Suddenly it ceases. A number of persons begin 
to pray and recite the chaplet; the patient, regarding 
them with a smile, gently falls asleep. A few minutes 
after, she opens her eyes and exclaims : ' I am cured ! I 
am cured! The Blesssd Virgin has just cured me of 
epilepsy ! Oh ! how good she is, how powerful ! It 
seems to me as if there had just been a general revolu- 
tion throughout my body. I feel confident, my friends, 
that this disease has been banished from my system for- 
ever.' 

" It was very easy for the assistants to believe that 
some extraordinary change had really been wrought in 
her, for her countenance presented not the slightest 
vestige of the attack. She now desired to communicate, 
and oh! with what transports of faith, gratitude and 
love she received the good God ! 

"The noise of this cure soon reached the neighboring 
villages. How beautiful yet. Monsieur, is the simplicity 
of the faith in these rural districts! Henceforth, every 
one wished to wear the medal. 

"This event took place on the 17th of May, at nine 

13 



146 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

o'clock in the morning. Since that time the patient 
has not felt the slightest symptom of epilepsy. She 
leaves her room, walks about the garden, and receives 
visitors indiscriminately, without experiencing any ill 
effects. However, the Blessed Virgin did not cure all 
her infirmities; she still has the nervous affection that 
existed before the epileptic attacks, but I should observe 
that as the novena was made solely for the cure of epi- 
lepsy, the Blessed Virgin has obtained all that w^as 
asked of her. 

"This, Monsieur, is the exact statement. Some, no 
doubt, would attribute the cure to natural causes; as for 
ourselves, we, like the patient, feel convinced that it was 
owing to Mary's powerful intercession. The cure agrees 
with us, and so do all who glory in the truths of religion. 
Honored, then, be the power and goodness of Mary 
conceived Avithout sin ! " 



CURE OF A DAUGHTER OF CHARITY AKD ANOTHER 
PERS0>q" (DIOCESE OF MOULIIS'S). 

The following letter w^as sent by a gentleman of 
unquestionable veracity to the Journal dii Boitrionnais, 
and published in its issue of June 6, 1835 : 
" Monsieur : 

"We are all Mary's children; at the foot of her 
Divine Son's cross did her maternal heart adopt us as 
her own. All ages have felt the salutary effects of her 
powerful protection; our fathers have admired them, 
we ourselves admire them, and our days are filled w4th 
marvels. Even recently has she appeared, shedding 
torrents of grace upon a privileged kingdom, and this 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 147 

kingdom is France. The vision is verified, for the age 
which saw it has also witnessed the multiplication of 
countless miraculous cures and conversions. 

"And shall Bourbonnais, our dear country, be excepted 
in the distribution of Mary's favors ? Oh ! no ; it also 
shall have a share in this harvest of glory. The truly 
astonishing rapidity with which the thousand Miracu- 
lous Medals brought to our city have been disposed of 
is to me a sufficient guaranty of our hopes, and it would 
keep one's pen in daily use to note the wonderful traits 
of Mary's protection. 

" 1st. Sister Chapin, of St. Joseph's Hospital, was for 
more than tvvo years racked by pains and a fever that 
defied all medical skill. 

"This angel of earth lamented her inability to fulfil 
the duties of her noble vocation ; far from abating, her 
charity, zeal and resignation seemed to increase with her 
gradually declining health, Avhich now excited our seri- 
ous fears. Having vainly exhausted all the resources of 
medicine, she turnel her back upon art and nature that 
she might address herself to faith alone. Full of confi- 
dence in the Miraculous Medal, she began a novena to 
Mary for the recovery of her health. Before the novena 
was ended, both pains and fever had disappeared, and 
henceforth, she began a new existence, her strength 
returned, and she is happy to prove herself by deeds 
(fulfilling with ease the most painful duties) what her 
virtues have ever proclaimed her, a true daughter of St. 
Vincent de Paul. 

" 2nd. Yesterday, again, was witnessed in our Bour- 
bonnais, another wonderful trait of Mary's protection. 
Here are the facts: On Monday, June 1st, at eight 
o'clock in the evening, in the parish of Montilly, near 



148 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

the borders of Allier and the castle of Beau-Kegard, a 
woman was stricken with a violent rush of blood to the 
head ; the lamentations and piercing cries of the family 
attracted their neighbors. Two alarming crises suc- 
ceeded; they were followed by a third, which was 
thought to be mortal. The patient, after violently 
struggling against the combined efforts of four men to 
restrain her, fell motionless and apparently lifeless ; her 
limbs were stiff and chill, her face a livid blue, her fea- 
tures distorted, her eyes fixed, her respiration insensible, 
death seemed imminent. This frightful attack had 
lasted about half an hour, when some one present 
thought of the Miraculous Medal; she approaches the 
dying w^oman and lays the medal upon her lips. At 
that instant the latter arouses from her slumber, she 
breathes, she clasps her hands as if thanking the person 
who had restored her to life, she recognizes all around 
her, speaks to them and thanks them for their kind 
attentions. 

" The next morning, Tuesday, it was not at the gates 
of death she was to be found, but in the streets of Mou- 
lins, where I saw her myself and spoke to her. 

"Pardon me, divine Mary, if among a thousand 
striking traits of your power and goodness, I dwell upon 
some which are comparatively slight, it is only because 
of their recent occurrence in our very midst. Happy 
shall I esteem myself to awaken among my brethren a 
passing tribute to Faith, that living, salutary Faith, 
whose efficacy I have experienced, and whose truths I 
long to see planted and nourished in all hearts! 

"Deign to accord, etc." 

We have learned that Sister Chapin's recovery is per- 
manent. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 149 



CUKE OF MARIE LACROIX (DIOCESE OF LANGRES). 

Note. — It is M. Barillot, Vicar General, who sends 

lis this account: 

"Bishoiwic of Langres, June 20^ 1835. 
" Monsieur : 

"M. Eegnault, cure of Ormoy, canton of Chateau- 
Villain, in our diocese, an excellent pastor and judicious 
priest, writes me the subjoined letter of the 19tli inst. : 

" ^ A very extraordinary' thing has just taken place in 
my parish. A young woman aged twenty went blind in 
consequence of a fall; her hip Avas displaced, and she 
lost all use of her limbs, except the arms. For three 
months she was at a hospital of Bar-sur-Aube, under 
treatment for these severe afflictions, but in yain. At 
last, judging her case hopeless, the physicians sent her 
back to her parents at Ormoy. Here, as at Bar-sur-Aube, 
she endured for three months incredible sufferings, not 
even being able to turn herself in bed or change her 
position in the slightest. Her recovery was now despaired 
of by all, and lately the minister received a petition 
(with the accompanying certificates of the two physi- 
cians who had attended her at Bar-sur-Aube) asking her 
admission into the hospital of Quinze-Vingts. Mean- 
while, this young woman, who had always appeared to 
me very pious and submissive to God's will, having 
received a Miraculous Medal, immediately begins a 
novena. Seven days elapse, and her sufferings, far from 
diminishing, are intensified; on the eighth she is bathed 
in a profuse perspiration, after which she suddenly rises, 
dresses herself, and walks through the streets to church, 
to the great astonishment of all the people, who, seeing 
her, cannot restrain their tears. 

13^ 



150 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

'" L questioned her closely, but did not express my 
opinion on the subject. I went to Bar-sur-Aube to get 
additional information ; the physician declares it aston- 
ishing, especially when we consider her former hopeless 
condition. The hospital Sisters, the cures of Bar-sur- 
Aube, the patients, all say it is truly a miracle. The 
people of Ormoy and even of the vicinity, who come to 
see her, wonder that I do not men Lion it from the pulpit. 
I beg of you to let me know how to act in the aifah', and 
also that you w^U speak to the Bishop about it.' 

'•The Bishop has since sent word through me to the 
cure of Ormoy, to publish this miraculous occurrence to 
his parishioners; he has also charged me with forward- 
ing you a copy of the good cure's letter, leaving to your 
discretion the use you may make of it. 
^•I am, etc., 

'- Barillot, Canon, Vicar General." 

Before printmg this, we wished to ascertain if the 
cure were permanent, and the Vicar General sent us the 
following response from the cure of Ormoy: 

" The cure is permanent ; for several months past the 
young woman has been with the Ursulines of La Cha- 
pelle, who consider her physically able to share in the 
labors of the house; her condition having been attested 
by three doctors. Her sudden recovery, as above men- 
tioned, leads us to believe that it was surely super- 
natural. I was far from meriting this favor which has 
been granted my poor parish. I hope the Blessed Vir- 
gin will finish her work. 

"Novemler 3, 1835:' • 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 151 

CURES WROUGHT i:Nr THE CHABLAIS DISTRICT (SAYOY). 

" The Borders of Lake Geneva, Jicne 18, 1835, 
'' Monsieur : 

" The country purged of Calvin's heresy by the labors 
of Geneva's holy bishop, is not a stranger to the bless- 
ings figured by the medal's mysterious rays. This 
wonderful instrument of Mary's liberality has been 
propagated with astonishing rapidity, though only a 
few months since we heard of it in our midst. I con- 
sider it a pious obligation to offer you a few small stones 
towards the construction of that temple of glory now 
in process of erection, to the honor of her, who has 
lately proved herself more powerful and merciful on 
earth than ever before. I am a young villager living 
amidst my family; I do not announce miracles to you, 
but merely recount facts just as I have seen or heard 
them. I could have subjoined a list of signatures, but 
I did not judge it necessary, the docile, religious heart 
deeming them superfluous, and the skeptic, fraudulent, 
like the facts. On a perusal of the first few phrases in 
each incident, persons living in the vicinity will recog- 
nize the individuals concerned, and thereby be more 
deeply impressed. 

"1st. In the month of July, 1824, Mile. C, aged 
twenty-nine years, bade, as she thought, a last adieu to 
her family; she and some other generous companions 
were going to one of the large cities in southern Italy to 
consecrate themselves there to the service of the sick 
and poor. After a few months' novitiate in a religious 
house devoted to works of this nature, she was attacked 
by one of those debilitating, wasting maladies that phy- 



152 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

sicians are at a loss to define. Attributing it to the 
climate, tlie Superiors, after twenty-two months' inef- 
fectual treatment at the novitiate, sent her to breathe her 
natal air. But change of air proved vain also, and the 
doctors at last ceased their visits, judging the re-estab- 
lishment of her health an impossibility. About six 
years ago, she had improved sufficiently to walk a few 
steps beyond her chamber, and even remain in the open 
air some minutes, but amelioration w^as illusory, and 
since 1830 she had not been able to leave her couch of 
suffering except for a few instants. Many times during 
these last five years w^as she apparently on the verge of 
death, and that for several consecutive days, always, 
however, retaining her hearing and intellectual faculties, 
since she could respond by signs to the priest who visited 
her. It w^as he w4io gave me these particulars. Her 
condition had become such that it was judged advisable 
to administer the Last Sacraments. This house was now 
a school of edification, where Christians might study the 
price of sufferings and the heroism of patience. Finally, 
about the end of last April, this poor creature, so tor- 
tured for the past eleven years, conceived a hope of relief 
through the Miraculous Medal, but. mistrusting the 
somewhat extraordinary impressions the thought made 
upon her imagination, it w^as only from obedience she 
could be induced to commence a novena. The sole exer- 
cises consisted of repeating, three times a day, the invo- 
cation : ' Mary ! conceived without sin, pray for us 
w^ho have recourse to thee ! ' On Wednesday, April 24th, 
the second or third day of the novena, she felt an irre- 
sistible desire to arise. It w^as yet very early in the 
morning; a little child assisted her to dress. Finding 
that her limbs support her, she begins to think it must 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 153 

be something miraculous, and, filled with joy, she wishes 
to announce the news to her mother, who is in an adjoin- 
ing room. Arrived at the door, she is seized with fright, 
and precipitately turns back; but, being reassured of 
her newly restored strength by the facility with which 
she reaches her own chamber, she overcomes herself, 
and, retracing her steps, seeks the embraces of her 
mother, her sister and brother. Her unexpected appear- 
ance fills them with great emotion, and abundant tears 
attest the depths of their joy and gratitude. A clergy- 
man, who often visited this lady, soon heard rumors of 
her recovery, but gave no credit to them. Meeting her 
mother on the street not long after, she burst into tears 
at sight of him, and was unable to express the cause of 
her emotion. Suspecting it, he went immediately to the 
house, and saw for himself what a miracle had been 
wrought. With I.Ille. C, he unites in blessing her 
powerful protectress, the Immaculate Mary. 

^' Since that time, April 24, to the present date, June 
18th, Mile. C. rises about seven o'clock, hears Mass on 
her knees, employs herself in various duties during the 
day, makes visits and walks of half an hour's or even an 
hour's duration, and continues Avell, even her complexion 
begins to assume a healthy tinge. Her legs are still a 
little swollen, and she cannot yet take much nourishment. 

" The sudden appearance of this person, whom every 
one had known to be seriously afflicted for eleven years, 
created an extraordinary sensation. All eyes were fixed 
upon her, and many persons even followed her. This 
took place in the capital of the province. 

"2d. In the month of August, 1833, my sister, at the 
sight of a child who barely missed falling through an 
open trap door, Avas suddenly attacked by frightful ner- 



154 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

Yous coiiYulsions, which henceforth returned daily, and 
even as often as fifteen times a day. It was only at the 
end of two months that remedies, and a four weeks' 
strict hospital treatment, succeeded in checking them. 
Last year, they manifested themselves again in the month 
of February, but disappeared, leaving her a prey to great 
weakness, and a fever that kept her in bed four weeks. 

"In Ihe February of this year, the nervous convul- 
sions returned, and Avith a frequency and force that 
were truly alarming. The patient wasted visibly, the 
paroxysms were renewed seven and ten times a day, and 
were of a most frightful character; the circulation of ]:er 
blood seemed checked, her feet and hands were deathly 
chilled, she jerked her head with violenc3 and pre- 
cipitation, an agitated cry escaped her breast; the attack 
lasted from three to six minutes, and left her completely 
exhausted. The witnesses of this painful spectacle were 
affected to tears. She was taken to a skillful physician, 
who after seeing her in one of these convulsions, pro- 
nounced the case hopeless, saying, 'it baffled him, he 
could not understand it.' However, he prescribed reme- 
dies. Meanwhile, the first medals arrived in our midst. 
On Shrove Tuesday, my sister had five attacks, which 
she assured me Avere the worst she had ever had. Next 
day, w^earing the medal, she began a novena, and the 
two convulsions she had that day were the last; never 
since has she felt the slightest symptom (and that with- 
out employing the prescribed remedies), neither has she 
had a sign of the fever, which last year replaced the 
less violent convulsions. This cure was wrought in an 
insensible, but very efficacious manner, the first day of a 
novena made through the medal. My sister immediately 
resumed the manifold duties of a laborious household. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 155 

She attributes, and we also, her recovery to Mary alone. 
Thousands of times be love and glory to this good 
Mother ! 

"3d. In the Chablais district, on the frontiers of the 
canton of Geneva, lived a poor widow, the mother of 
quite a large family. This good Avoman, about sixty 
years old, had a natural predisposition to paralysis. At 
the age of forty-eight, an attack of this disease deprived 
her of the use of her left arm. At intervals since then, 
she has had spells of illness so serious and so protracted, 
that at least a hundred times she seemed on the verge of 
the tomb. She never consulted a physician, but ani- 
mated with a lively, persevering faith, she employed only 
supernatural means. ^God and the Saints are the only 
good doctors,' she would say, and 'God and the Saints' 
rewarded her confidence. She has recovered from these 
hopeless maladies in an extraordinary manner. On the 
first of last March, her left foot lost the power of sup- 
porting her body in walking, doubtless owing to her 
natural predisposition to paralysis. Persons informed 
on the subject have given the following description of 
the convulsive movements of this poor woman's foot: 
suspended, it preserved its natural position, but on put- 
ting it to the ground, it immediately lost its balance ; 
her body was bent, her knee turned out, the sole of her 
foot exposed, and the left side of her foot was the founda- 
tion of support for the left limb in walking. She went 
thus to church, distant about four minutes' walk ; but 
even in that short space of time, the convulsive move- 
ments of the foot were sometimes such that she was not 
able to keep her balance, but fell to the ground. Every 
one pitied her, she was always calm and perfectly re- 
signed. Her children had made for her an iron brace 



156 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

which reached to the knee, but after a trial, she was 
obliged to discard it, the remedy causing more suffering 
than the disease. During the Lenten season, some 
charitable persons advised her to seek Mary's assistance 
through the Miraculous Medal. The good widow did 
so, and wore her medal with the utmost confidence. On 
Holy Saturday, she perceived that her foot had become 
steady ; the next day, Easter, without any remedies hav-. 
ing been used, it resumed its natural position, and since 
that time, though a little Aveaker than the right, not 
once has it given way or turned. She attributes her 
recovery to the Blessed Virgin, whom she invoked by 
wearing the medal, so justly styled miraculous. 

^'I could cite many other less striking cases; one time 
it is a hardy peasant who attributes to Mary's interces- 
sion relief from violent pains; another time, a little 
child, who in a few days, is completely cured of a large 
tumor under its arm, accompanied by fever; a mother 
who tells me how her daughter's ill health is sensibly 
improved by the application of the medal ; or a Protestant 
girl, who, after wearing it, abjures heresy, etc. Nearly 
all the children of our village wear the Miraculous 
Medal around their neck, they recite the invocation, 
they kiss the precious image and give it to tlieir little 
sisters and brothers in the cradle to kiss. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 157 



III. 

Graces oMai7iecl fro^ti 18S6 to 18S8 in France, Italy, 

Holland, etc. 

COKYERSIOK AKD CURE OF M. GAETAN (BOULOGKE). 

This account was sent me by the cure of Boulogne, 
February 8, 1836. 

"In my parish, a young man named Gaetan U , 

aged twenty-seven years, was leading a life of criminal 
intimacy with a woman. Several years after abandoning 
his mother and brother, that he might be under no 
restraint in his shameless course, he was prostrated by 
a serious pulmonary attack. M. Jean Pulioli, an excel- 
lent physician, undertook the case ; but the violence of 
the disease overcame his skill, and the patient (still in 
the house of the bad character with whom he lived,) was 
reduced to such a deplorable state of exhaustion, that 
he could not move himself. From the beginning of his 
sickness he had insisted that he would not be worried 
by a priest. But the disease making very rapid 
progress, the doctor believed it His duty to warn a priest 
of his condition. My chaplain went immediately to see 
him, and earnestly entreated him to put an end to this 
scandalous state of affairs by marrying the woman, but 
all in vain. I then paid him a visit, and besides 
remarking in him neither any intention of marrying 
her nor of separating from her, I perceived from the 
excuses he gave, that his soul was enshrouded in impene- 
trable indifference. Having uselessly exhausted all 
efforts to effect a change, I concluded it w^ould be better 
to leave him awhile to quiet and serious reflection, and 

14 



158 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

return later to know his decision. I urged him to seek 
the mediation of that refuge of sinners, the Blessed 
Virgin, and slipping the Miraculous Medal under his 
pillow, I left. There was no necessity for my returning 
to learn his decision, he sent his mother for me, with 
whom he had become reconciled in the meantime ; after 
informing me of the very just reasons he had for not 
marrying the woman, he asked me if I would not request 
her to leave, a commission I willingly accepted. She 
consented, and immediately abandoned the house. The 
sick man's peace and joy at this were indescribable; 
when I showed him the medal, he kissed it most fer- 
vently and impulsively, notwithstanding his state of 
exhaustion. Then, with every mark of sincere repen- 
tance, he confessed, received the Holy Viaticum and 
Extreme Unction, for we expected each moment he 
w^ould breathe his last. This occurred January 19, 
1836. Interiorly, he enjoyed unspeakable peace, a favor 
he always attributed to the Blessed Virgin. From this 
time he began to improve, and in a few days his health 
was completely re-established. He continues to perse- 
vere in his good resolutions, and full of the tenderest 
afiFection for his celestial Benefactress, he still reverently 
wears the medal I gave him, often kissing it with truly 
filial love. 

" Monsieur, I was a witness of the above-mentioned 
fact; I send it to you, not only with the permission of 
the newly converted and cured, but at his request, and 
I hope that the knowledge will redound to the honor 
and glory of the Omnipotent God, who, through the 
intercession of the Blessed Virgin, has wrought this 
double miracle. 

'* I subjoin the certificate of the physycian who attests 
the disease and its cure.'' 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 159 



CURE OF A JUDGE AT i^-APLES. 

The judge of the civil tribunal of IsTaples, M. Joseph 
Cocchia, seriously debilitated by a chronic disease of 
the bowels, was afflicted with most violent pains, accom- 
panied by a spasmodic sensation that^ continually 
increasing, banished sleep and appetite, and perceptibly 
diminished his frame. This was followed by a bilious 
gastric fever, long and obstinate, of fifty days duration. 
When freed from the fever, the sick man found himself 
in a frightful state of emaciation and exhaustion; signs 
of inflammation in the bowels, g.nd such extreme irrita- 
tion that the least jolt induced fever, made skillful 
physicians fear lest these were the symptoms of an incu- 
rable malady still more deplorable. Whilst in this 
pitiable condition, there reached the sick man's ears 
accounts of the prodigies Divine mercy had wrought in 
favor of those who wore the medal ; he eagerly asked 
for one, and received it with faith ; henceforth, he had 
no longer any need of medical assistance, for he recov- 
ered the strength and perfect health he now enjoys. 



CURE OF F. p. DE MAGISTRIS. 

M. F. Paul de Magistris, aged seven years, was attacked 
about the middle of November, 1835, by a bilious gastric 
fever, which, by reason of accompanying circumstances, 
threatened to shorten his life. After three weeks' illness, 
his nervous system was also attacked, and he became a 
prey to a state of profound drowsiness that resulted in 
the loss of reason and speech. His afflicted parents, 
seeing the obstinacy of the disease, notwithstanding all 



160 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

efiPorts of medical skill to the contrary, considered the 
case hopeless, and their child lost to them. On the 
evening of January 9th, the cure administered Extreme 
Unction, bereving, as did all the assistants, that the 
little sufferer had but a few hours to live. A young 
person, who came to the house, having mentioned the 
Miraculous Medal brought from France by the priests of 
the Congregation of the Mission, it was immediately 
procured, and, with confidence in its healing powers, 
applied to the child, whilst all present knelt around his 
bed and recited the Ave Maris Stella, Scarcely had 
they finished, ere he was considered out of danger. 
With renewed confidence in the medal, it was resolved 
to begin a novena in honor of the Blessed Virgin. 
During its progress, the disease diminished perceptibly, 
and the child has now entirely recovered. Its parents, 
as well as other persons of credit and veracity, among 
them the attendant physician, attest that, having wit- 
nessed his deplorable condition, they feel convinced his 
recovery was a miracle, resulting from the application 
of the medal. 

February 22, 1836. 



CURE OF A DROPSICAL MAi^ (SWITZERLAND). 

"Suleurey January 19f), 1886. 

^^Baptiste, a w^ood sawyer, whom you knew during 
your sojourn in this city, was confined to his bed two 
whole months by an attack of the severest form of dropsy 
on the chest. One of our best physicians, who attended 
him at the beginning of his sickness, having told Bap- 
tiste's wife that the case was a hopeless one, the family 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 161 

decided to consult another, M. Gougelmann, at Attyswill, 
a league from Soleure. After seeing the patient, he also 
gave the same opinion, and the poor wife's distress was 
beyond expression. A pious lady, witnessing her grief, 
gave her a Miraculous Medal. The sick man's arms, 
legs, and whole body were greatly swollen. His breath 
was short, and he had scarcely any powder of motion ; 
his back, and his elbows upon which he was obliged to 
lean, were a mass of sores. In this pitiable state, death 
might be expected any moment. His confessor having 
come to visit him, brought the Notice of the miracles 
wrought through the Miraculous Medal. The sick man 
on receiving it began to read it aloud, greatly to the 
astonishment of his wdfe and the priest, who were both 
witnesses that he had been almost past the power of 
speech but a few minutes before. And he continued 
reading thus until he had finished the little book (it was 
one of the first editions). This was the evening of Jan- 
uary 19. His wife, overcome with fatigue, fell asleep 
for a few moments, his children were in an adjoining 
room expecting at any instant to hear the sad news of 
their fiither's death. He slept a little towards three 
o'clock in the morning, and on awaking found himself 
so well that it was impossible to resist the desire of 
rising from his bed and throwing himself on his knees 
before a crucifix, in thanksgiving to Our Lord and His 
divine Mother. His wife awoke, and not seeing him in 
bed, called to know where he was. ^I am well; the 
Blessed Virgin has cured me,' was the answer of Bap- 
tiste, whom she perceived kneeling before the crucifix. 
The children, hearing the noise, hastened to their father's 
presence, believing him about to breathe his last, but 
judge of their surprise at finding him restored to health, 
u* 



162 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and his sores perfectly healed ! Imagine, if you can, the 
joy of this poor family, and the happy effects the news 
of this wondrous cure produced upon the many who 
heard it. Baptiste has had excellent health ever since.'' 



CL^RE OF FRAIS^COIS WEKMAKERS, OF BOIS-LE-DUC 
(HOLLAND). 

The Noord Brabander, a Holland journal, printed at 

Bois-le-Duc, contains in number 68 the following account 

of an extraordinary cure, which is attributed to the 

Blessed Virgin: 

"BoiS'U'Duc, June 6th, 18S6. 

^'The 25th of last April, Eranqois Wenmakers, a young 
apprentice, aged fourteen years, fell from a height of 
about sixteen feet. An affection of the brain and an 
almost complete paralysis of the lungs, larynx and 
oesophagus w^ere the result; he was not in a condition to 
take any medicine into his stomach, or even to swallow 
the least liquid, and he was deprived of consciousness. 
One of the physicians, feeling worried at his fixed stare, 
advised the administration of Extreme Unction; and 
yet another, the eve of his recovery, declared him on the 
verge of death. The sick man moreover, had become 
nearly blind the last few days. On the 1st of May, 
advantage was taken of a lucid interval, to give him the 
Holy Viaticum; and on the 4th of the same month, he 
received Extreme Unction from one of the chaplains of 
St. Jean. His parents, who immediately after his fall, 
had hung a medal of the Immaculate Conception around 
his neck, seeing there was now no hope of his recovery, 
except in the divine goodness and the intercession of the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 163 

Blessed Virgin, began, on the 16th of May, a novena in 
honor of the Mother of God. Three days after, about 
six o'clock in the morning, the patient suddenly asked 
his mother if the medal around his neck were blessed. 
She answered yes, regarding the question as the effect of 
delirium. He immediately kissed it, and sat up for the 
first time since the fall, for heretofore he had been 
stretched out helpless on the bed, and, for some days 
past, had been deprived of the use of his limbs. ' Some- 
thing tells me,' he exclaimed, ^that I must get up, that 
I am cured ! ' The astonishment of those present may 
easily be imagined. The mother called his sisters, who 
repaired to the room with an elder girl, and they, seeing 
thafc he stoutly persisted m declaring himself cured, 
persuaded his mother to let him rise. He did. indeed 
get up, and pointing to a picture in the room, represent- 
ing the medal, he said: ^It is this good Mother who has 
cured me.' From that moment the boy's health was 
perfectly re-established, and his intellectual faculties 
were brighter than ever. 

"Eeflections here are superfluous. Glory to God and 
her who thus rewards the confidence of her servants ! 
The parents and their child will ever remember the- 
blessing they have received, and never cease to publish 
it!" 



CURE OF ROSALIE DUCAS, OF JAUCHELETTE (BELGIUM). 

Eosalie Ducas, of Jauchelette, near Jodoigne, aged 
four years and a-half, was, on the 9th of November, 
1835, suddenly struck with total blindness without the 
slightest premonitory symptoms; there was- no disease, 
no weakness, she was in apparently perfect health. Not 



164 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

only was the least light, but the least breath of air so 
painful, that her face had to be kept constantly covered 
with a cloth four doubled. This poor child's sufferings 
night and day, were heart-rending! At last the mother 
herself was taken sick. Some pious individual pro- 
cured her a blessed medal of the Immaculate Conception. 
She took it and commenced a novena. Another medal 
was put on the child's neck, the 11th of June, 1S36, 
about six o'clock in the evening; at midnight, the little 
one ceased its moans, on the fourth or fifth day of the 
novena, it opened its eyes. The mother and father 
redoubled their prayers to the Blessed Virgin, and on 
the ninth day, towards evening, the child recovered its 
sight entirely, to the great astonishment of the neigh- 
bors and all who were witnesses of the occurrence. 

" The cure of Jodoigne-la-Souveraine, Avho had given 
the medal, has himself seen the child who lives not more 
than half a league distant; he positively asserts that it 
lias perfectly recovered its sight, and that not the 
slightest vestige of the attack remains, which fact is 
well known, and contributes not a little in exciting 
devotion to the Immaculate Mary.*' 



COKYERSIOK OF THE FATHER OF A FAMILY (BELGIUM). 

" There are still in existence here some families Avho, 
persistently recognizing in the present clergy only a 
purely civil power, hold themselves utterly aloof, live 
in a state of schism, and comply with none of the duties 
of religion. 

"One of these miserable creatures was afflictel with 
a virulent cancer on the side of his face, which for a 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 165 

long time had been eating away the flesh. The malady 
increasing, I believed it my duty to visit him and offer 
the consolations of my ministry. I saw him several 
times, he was suffering greatly; the oesophagus was 
exposed, the right side of his emaciated face presented 
only a deep sore, the eye, starting from its socket, hung 
suspended over a terrible disfigured mouth ; his tongue 
caused him acute pain; his condition was pitiable indeed, 
especially as he seemed determined to die impenitent. 
He was a rough, blunt man, who Avanted to hear nothing 
about priests or Sacraments. In vain was he reminded 
of our Lord's bountiful kindness and the rigors of His 
justice, nothing touched him; to all expostulations his 
invariable reply was : ' God's mercy is great, I will con- 
fess to God, the Blessed Virgin, to St. Barbara and the 
good Saints.' He was the counterpart of those men to 
whom Jesus Christ said : 'In peccato vestro morietiiini — 
you shall die in your sin.' 

"His relations and numerous friends endeavored both 
by prayers and entreaties to snatch him from perdition, 
but on the other side visited daily and sustained by his 
old associates in impiety, he persisted in dying as he had 
lived, in schism. 

'' In the meantime, I was obliged to be absent several 
days. This period was for him one of Divine mercy. 
A lady of the parish made a last attempt to recall him 
to God, by bringing him one of those medals of the 
Immaculate Conception called miraculous. She sent it 
to him with the request to wear it and put all his confi- 
dence in the Blessed Virgin. The sick man took the 
medal, kissed it respectfully, and put it under his pillow. 
In giving it to him, his daughter had taken care to 
acquaint him with its origin and advantages, at the same 



166 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

time urging him, as usual, to make his confession. 
^ Leave me in peace/ was the wretched father's reply, 
and she could say no more. N"ext day, a neighboring 
cure was sent for to administer Extreme Unction to 
another person in the parish. .He came, and forgetting, 
as it were, the one for whom he had been sent, he 
thought only of the cancerous patient. * I felt,' he 
afterwards told me, ^an inexplicable and irresistible 
desire to visit him, I could not have returned without 
seeing him.' He asks some one to announce his arrival 
to the sick man ; this person speaks to the latter, and 
urges him to confess. ^The cure of P. is here,' she 
adds, ^and would like to see you, if you have no objec- 
tion,' 'Well, yes, let him come.' The cure went to him 
immediately ; at first there was a slight air of resistance 
about the patient, but it vanished, the hour of grace had 
come, he confessed with every indication of true repen- 
tance, and received Extreme Unction with an indescrib- 
able peace and joy, that never faltered during the four 
remaining days of his life. The Holy Viaticum could 
not be administered because he was not able to 
swallow. 

'•At noon, on the 18th of last May, the month conse- 
crated to Mary, he died, aged seventy-eight. 

" Except his former companions in irreligion,. this 
conversion was a subject of rejoicing to the parish, and 
doubtless it will rejoice all the servants of Mary who 
hear of it. May this example, among thousands, inspire 
sinners with great confidence in the Blessed Virgin, 
propagate devotion to her, and multiply the medal styled 
miraculous ! 

" I have thought it a duty to give these few details, 
for the purpose of making known the truly visible effects 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 167 

of the protection of the Mother of God, and the ever 
impenetrable springs of grace in regard to man. 

" I have the honor to be, Monsieur, with great 
esteem, &c." 



cure of mlle. aktoikette vait ertryck 
(bois-le-duc). 

" The protection of the Blessed Virgin, which for the 
last few^ months has shown itself so powerful in a neigh- 
boring kingdom, has also wrought Avonders in Bois-le- 
Due. Mary has here likewise given equal proofs of her 
maternal bounty when w^e have implored her inter- 
cession. 

"Mile. Antoinette Van Ertryck, aged twenty-five 
years, was for more than twenty months deprived of the 
use of her limbs ; they were stiff and paralyzed, almost 
without feeling, and stretched motionless on a sort of 
bench made for the express purpose. Medicine afibrded 
no relief. In this sad condition, wearing a blessed medal 
of the Immaculate Conception, she thought of making 
a novena in honor of the Feast, to recover her health. 
On the last day of the novena, she made a fervent com- 
munion. Even after the departure of che priest, who 
came to administer the Blessed Sacrament, there seemed 
no change for the better, but she felt a shiver through 
all her body, like the impression often experienced from 
sudden cold. Just whilst finishing the last prayers, 
however, she seemed to hear an interior voice saying to 
her: ^You are cured.' On attempting to move, she 
found that her limbs had become flexible, and she wa& 
able to walk. The miracle was wrought on Saturday,. 
May 16th. The next day, Sunday, she went to church 



168 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

to return thanks for this blessing to the common Mother 
of all the faithful. The people of our city, always dis- 
tinguished for their veneration for the Blessed Virgin, 
and their confidence in her intercession are not wanting 
in gratitude, and this new favor will but increase their 
devotion to Mary Immaculate. 

" The duration of the malady, the inutility of medical 
skill, and her astonishing sudden cure are attested by 

the doctor. 

"A. BoLSius, M. D." 



CURE OF A YOUKG GIRL AT CRACO^V, POLAKD. 

Extract from a letter of the Countess Lubinska : 

"March mii, 18S7. 

'-1 took into my service, the 20th of last December, a 
young girl whose excellent qualities elicited my deepest 
interest. 

"After being with me some months, she began to 
suffer most acute pains in the head; the remedies we 
employed affording no relief, the attending physician 
advised her to keep her bed, and did not conceal from 
her his opinion that these pains proceeded from the 
humor flowing constantly from her ears, and which 
seeming to be upon the brain, threatened her life, or at 
all events, her reason. 

" What confirmed this opinion was the fact that when- 
ever she walked rapidly or stooped, she was forced by 
the pain to throw her head back, as she assured me 
various times during her sickness. The continued suf- 
fering induced her, at last, to follow the physician's 
advice, and consent, if necessary, to the operation of 
trepanning. I shuddered at the very idea, and made her 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 169 

promise to ascertain if a delay of ten days would be 
attended with any serious consequences. Upon a nega- 
tive answer from the physician, I stopped all medicines 
and determined to try the efficacy of the Miraculous 
Medal. This was on a Saturday, and the very day 
observed by her as a strict fast, in thanksgiving to the 
Blessed Virgin for having miraculously cured her of a 
mortal typhus, after her mother had dedicated her to 
Mary. Her confidence in Mary was great ; and as I did 
not give her the medal for some hours after promising 
it, she told one of her friends, as I have since learned, 
that her impatience to receive it was almost beyond 
bounds, and assured her that she would not have hesi- 
tated between it and two thousand francs had she been 
allowed a choice, and we must remember that this girl 
was very poor. To display more clearly the miraculous 
nature of the cure, God permitted her sufierings to 
increase to such a degree that very day, that notwith- 
standing her patience and resignation, it seemed as if 
she really could not endure them much longer. Know- 
ing her lively faith and confidence, I deemed it unneces- 
sary lo enter into a detailed account of the salutary 
effects of the medal; I gave it to her; she immediately 
made with it the sign of the cross upon her poor head, 
repeated the invocation and fell asleep amidst excessive 
sufferings. On awaking she w^as perfectly cured, and 
has never since experienced the slightest symptom of 
the disease. 

"Filled with sentiments of the deepest humility and 
the most lively gratitude, the miraculously cured now 
wishes to consecrate herself to God in the religious life. 

'•^Blessed a thousand times be God and the Immaculate 
Marj^, and may we ever appreciate siich boundless 
mercy!". is 



170 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



CO]N'VERSIOK OF M. REa:isrAULT, MAYOR OF POITIERS.--1837 

The followino- account was sent ns by the abbe of 
Chazelle : 

"Poitiers, June mii, 18S7. 

" J\r. Kegnault, mayor of Poitiers, had exercised his 
functions since the year 1830. In some difficulties, 
occurring during his administration, with the bishop 
and several of the clergy, he had shown himself just 
and equitable. His charity to the poor was well 
known. But far different are these moral virtues, which 
generally receive their recompense here below, from 
the Christian virtues so seldom rewarded, except in 
a better world! M. Eegnault never appeared at church, 
except when his presence as mayor was necessary. A 
prey for some time to a grave malady, he continued 
to exercise his functions as long as possible, imposing 
upon himself for that purpose many sacrifices, and 
displaying an admirable zeal; but, vanquished by the 
disease, he w^as at length forced to suspend his duties, 
and, since the 1st of last January, to resign altogether. 
The cure of St. Hilaire, having learned the alarming 
state of his parishioner's health, hastened to visit him, 
and offer the consolations of his ministry, but in vain. 
He repeated his visits. He was received into the house, 
but not taken to see the patient. He now sent word to 
the latt.r that he was at his command, and would come 
immediately when sent for. Meanwhile, the disease 
made such rapid progress that there was no longer any 
hope of recovery. Several of his friends, interested in 
his salvation, Avere grieved to see him so near death 
without the slightest preparation for it. One of them 
brought him a Miraculous Medal, and, not being able to 



THE MIRACCJLOUS MEDAL. 171 

see him herself, she asked a woman about the house to 
give it to him for her. The woman did so, and, fearing 
he might reject it with contempt, she begged him to 
receive it for the donor's sake. He took it, saying : ^ It 
is a medal of the Blessed Virgin ; I accept it respect- 
fully, God is not to be trifled with.' And, putting it 
under his pillow, he sent a kind message of thanks to 
the lady who had given it. Some moments after, he 
takes it out, contemplates it, and kisses it respectfully. 

" Having placed his temporal affairs in order, he now 
expresses a wish to do the same with his conscience, and 
requests his attendants to send for the parish care. The 
latter hastens to the sick man's bedside. ' I have made 
you come in a hurry,' says the patient, ' I want to have 
a conversation with you.' After this conversation, he 
asks the cure to return next day, as he wishes time to 
prepare himself for the grand action he contemplates. 
^ The step I am about to take,' he adds, ' I do with full 
knowledge and entire conviction.' The cure of St. Hilaire, 
with whom, as mayor, he had just had a law-suit, sug- 
gested that he make his confession to some other priest ; 
he answered that he wished no one but his pastor. Next 
day, the cure returned, and as he addressed his penitent 
by the title of M. the Mayor : ' Do not call me that,' 
said M. Eegnault ; • ' you are now my father, I am your 
son, I beg you to address me thus.' The cure paid him 
frequent visits, and as the disease continued to progress, 
he suggested administering the Holy Viaticum and 
Extreme Unction. ' I have not been confirmed,' replied 
the pious patient, ' I ardently desire to receive Confirma- 
tion.' The bishop was soon informed, and, readily 
forgetting all subject of complaint, and thanking God for 
this unexpected change, the venerable prelate went at 



172 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

once to the sick man. The happy dispositions of the 
latter touched him deeply, and he administered to him 
the Sacrament of Confirmation the very day of his 
receiving Extreme Unction and the Holy Viaticnm. 

" It is impossible to give an idea of M. Kegnault's faith 
and truly angelic fervor during this ceremony, or the 
deep impression made upon him at seeing Monseigneur 
enter his chamber. It was Saturday, January 21st, the 
eve of Septuagesima Sunday. Monseigneur addressed him 
in a few words full of unction and charity, and to inspire 
him with hope, reminded him of the very touching 
parable of the next day's Gospel, the laborers in the 
Father's vineyard, who coming at the last hour received 
the same recompense as those who had borne the heat 
and burden of the day. All the assistants were deeply 
affected at this edifying spectacle^ and many were moved 
to tears. The bishop, on leaving, charged the cure to 
testify again to M. Kegnault how great consolation he 
had experienced at this happy change, and how much 
he had been edified at his piety during this touching 
but long ceremony. 'As first magistrate of the city,' he 
answered, with a peaceful smile, 'I ought to set good 
example to those under my administration.' The cure 
sought by repeated visits to sustain this new-born piety, 
already tried most severely by the excruciating suffer- 
ings of the malady, sufferings which the patient bore 
with calmness and resignation, offering them to God in 
expiation of his past offences. To recompense his services 
to the city during his administration, the government 
bestowed upon him the cross of honor. The cure could 
not refrain from congratulating him. ' I do not know,' 
was the modest answer, *I do not know what I have 
done to merit it,' and when reminded of his services to 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 173 

the city, 'Oh I do not speak of them/ said he, 'such 
things might awaken self-love ! ' What immense pro- 
gress virtue makes in the soul in a very little while ! It 
was in these happy dispositions he died, the 2d of the 
following February, Feast of the Purification. The 
w^hole city of Poitiers, we might say, assisted at the 
funeral. The bishop, the authorities, and a host of other 
distinguished personages came to pay their tribute of 
gratitude and admiration to his memory, and the prefect 
congratulated the cure of St. Hilaire on so wonderful a 
conversion." 



MARYS PROTECTIOl^ OF A LITTLE CHILD (PARIS). 

Madame Kemond, living number 70, rue Mouifetard, 
held at her chamber window, on the second story, one of 
her children, aged twenty-two months. Fainting sud- 
denly, she fell back into the room, and the child was 
precipitated upon the pavement below. Immediate 
death might naturally have been expected as the inevita- 
ble consequence of such a fall; but no, wonderful to 
relate, the child was not injured. After reading the 
Archbishop's circular (upon the occasion of the conse- 
cration of the church of Notre Dame de Lorette), in 
which he recommends all the faithful to wear the Miracu- 
lous Medal, the pious parents had hastened to procure 
one and put it on their child. The Immaculate Mary did 
not fail to reward their piety. On picking the poor little 
creature up, and examining it, not even the slightest 
bruise was discovered. As the mother was a long time 
recovering from her swoon, it caused great anxiety, 
and several physicians were called in to see her. They 
also saw the child, and declared its escape wonderful 

15* 



174 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

indeed. But by way of precaution, they applied a few 
leeches to it, and a poultice to one knee which seemed 
to be the seat of some slight pain. The child had been 
eating an instant before this terrible fall, which, strange 
to say, occasioned no vomiting, and immediately after 
being picked up it took all the little delicacies offered 
it. Every one declared this occurrence a miracle, and 
the innocent little creature itself seemed to proclaim it, 
by kissing the medal and pressing it to its lips, espe- 
cially when the subject Avas mentioned, as we ourselves 
witnessed when the father showed him to us the 25th of 
June, 1837. 

"The mother recovered perfectly, and she never ceases 
to thank the Immaculate Mary for the double protection 
she considers due the medal." 



THE AHCHC0KFRATERNIT7 OF 

NOTRE DAME DES VICTOIRES. 

Scarcely six years since the apparition of 1830, and 
already the designs of Providence were realized ; the 
Miraculous Medal had awakened devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin, belief in the Immaculate Conception had 
penetrated all classes of society, and the innumerable 
favors accorded those Avho fervently recited the prayers 
revealed by Mary, had clearly proved how she prizes this 
first of all her privileges. But so far, her servants 
remained isolated, having no bond of union, no central 
point where they could meet; the majority of those who 
wore the medal as the livery of the spotless Virgin, knew 
neither the place, the mode, nor date of its origin. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 175 

God was now about to complete the work, by giving 
to this devotion, an organization and fixed exercises 
which favored its development, and increased the efficacy 
of prayer, by the power of association. 

Towards the end of the year 1836, a man was raised 
np to execute the divine plans ; this man was M. Dnfriche 
Desgenettes, cure of Xotre Dame des Victoires, Paris. 
From 1820 to 1832, in charge of St. Francis Xavier's 
Church, he numbered among the religious establish- 
ments of his parish, the Mother House of the Daughters 
of Charity, where the Blessed Virgin had appeared. 
He w^as one of the nio*st earnest in thanking God for 
this grace, and most eager to piopagate the medal. It 
was his desire that the privileged chapel should become 
a pilgrim shrine, but this desire not being realized, he 
w^as chosen by Providence to supply the substitute. 

Let us quote his own Avords, relating how he Vv^as led 
to found the Archconfraternity of the Holy and Immacu- 
late Heart of Mary. '' There was in Paris, a parish 
scarcely known even to many of the Parisians. It is 
situated in the centre of the city, between the Palais 
Eoyal and the Bourse, surrounded by theatres and places 
of dissipation, a quarter swallowed up in the vortex of 
cupidity and industry, and the most abandoned to every 
species of criminal indulgence. Its church, dedicated 
to Notre Dame des Victoires, remained deserted even on 
the most solemn festivities. . . . No Sacraments 
were administered in this parish, not even io the 
dying. ... If, by dint of novel persuasion, the cure 
obtained permission to visit a person dangerously ill, it 
was not only on condition of waiting until the patient's 
faculties Avere dimmed, but also on another almost 
insuperable condition, that of presenting himself in a 



176 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

secular habit What benefit were such visits ? They 
were merely a useless torment to the dying." ^ 

Such was the parish confided to M. Desgenettes. With 
the hope of recalling to God, even a few strayed souls, 
the poor cure, for four years, employed every means that 
the most active zeal could suggest, but in vain. Sad 
and grieved beyond measure, he thought of quitting this 
ungrateful post, when a supernatural communication 
revived his drooping courage. 

On the 3d of December, Feast of St. Francis Xavier, 
thoroughly penetrated with the inutility of his ministry 
in this parish, he Avas saying Mass at the Blessed Vir- 
gin's altar, now the altar of the Archconfraternity. . . . 
After the Sancfus, he distinctly heard these words pro- 
nounced in a very solemn manner: "Consecrate thy 
parish to the most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.'' 
They did not strike his ears, but seemed to proceed from 
an interior voice. He immediately recovered peace and 
liberty of spirit. After finishing his thanksgiving, fear- 
ing to be the dupe of an illusion, he endeavored to 
banish the thought of Avhat was apparently a super- 
natural communication, but the same interior voice 
resounded again in the depths of his soul. Keturned to 
his house, he begins to compose the statutes of the 
association, with a view of delivering himself from an 
importunate idea, and scarcely does he take his pen in 
hand, ere he is fully enlightened on the subject, and the 
organization of the work costs him nothing but the 
manual labor of the writing.^ 

The statutes prepared, are submitted to Mgr. de 
Quelen who approves them, and the 16th of the same 

1 Manual of the Archconfraternity, edition of 1853. p. 84. 

2 Manual of the Archconfraternity, p. 7. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 177 

month, an archiepiscopal ordinance erects canonically 
the Association of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of 
Mary for the conversion of sinners. The first meeting 
took place on Sunday, the 11th of December. In an- 
nouncing it at High. Mass, the pious pastor expected to 
see in the evening not more than fifty or sixty persons at 
most. Judge of his astonishment on finding assembled 
at the appointed hour, a congregation of about five hun- 
dred, a large proportion of whom are men! What had 
brought them? The majority were ignorant of the 
object of the meeting. An instruction explaining the 
motive and end of the exercises made a deep impression; 
the Benediction Avas chanted most fervently, and there 
was a notable increase of fervor during the Litany of the 
Blessed Virgin, especially at the thrice repeated invoca- 
tion: '' Refugium peccatoriLm^ ova pro nobis,*'' The 
cause was gained, Mary took possession of the parish of 
Notre Dame des Victoires. 

The good cure still doubted ; to assure himself that 
the association was truly the work of God, he demanded 
a sign, the conversion of a great sinner, an old man on 
the borders of the tomb, who had several times refused 
to see him. His prayer was granted, the old man re- 
ceived him gladly, and became sincerely converted. It 
was not long before new graces showered upon his 
parish increased M. Desgenette's confidence, numberless 
sinners changed their lives, indifierent Christians became 
practical and fervent, the offices of the Church were 
attended, the Sacraments frequented, the apparently 
extinguished Faith was relighted, and this parish, lately 
so scandalous, soon became one of the most edifying in 
Paris. 

The Confraternity of the most Holy and Immaculate 
Heart of Mary was not to embrace one parish only. 



178 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

God willed that it should extend throughout France, 
and even the entire world. M. Desgenettes, ^vho under- 
stood this design, addressed himself to the Sovereign 
Pontiff, and obtained, April 24th, 1838, a brief, erecting 
the association into an Archconfraternity, with the 
power of affiliating to itself other associations of the 
same kind throughout the Church, and granting them a 
participation in the spiritual favors accorded it. From 
this day, the Archconfraternity developed wonderfully, 
and became an inexhaustible source of graces. The 
church of Notre Dame des Victoires was henceforth 
numbered among the most celebrated sanctuaries in the 
world. At all hours may the faithful be seen around its 
altars in the attitude of prayer and recollection. The 
re-unions which take place every Sunday present a 
touching spectacle, a dense crowd composed of persons 
of every condition, who, after fervently chanting Mary's 
praises, listen attentively to a long series of petitions 
received in the course of the week from all quarters of 
the globe. 

These present a picture of all the miseries, all the 
sufferings, all the corporal and spiritual necessities pos- 
sible ; to which are added numberless acts of thanks- 
giving for benefits obtained through the associates' 
prayers. These petitions are so multitudinous that they 
cannot be announced except in a general manner and by 
categories ; they actually amount, each week, to the num- 
ber of twenty-five or thirty thousand, and, for the entire 
year, form a total of a million and a half. At the time 
of its founder's death, the Archconfraternity numbered 
fifteen thousand afiiliated confraternities in all quarters 
of the globe, and more than tw^enty million associates. 
At the beginning of this year, 1878, the affiliate I con- 
fraternities amount to 17,472. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 179 

A bulletin, issued monthly, gives an account of the 
progress of the Archconfraternity, the exercises which 
take place at Notre Dame des Victoires, the graces 
obtained, etc. The first nine numbers were published 
by M. Desgenettes himself, but at irregular intervals ; 
they are full of interest and edification. 

Amidst the w^onderful success of his work, the ven- 
erable pastor, far from seeking any of the glory, thought 
only of humbling himself; regarding his share in it as 
naught but that of a simple instrument, he confesses 
even his resistance to the inspirations of grace, his 
doubts, his incredulity;^ he Avill not admit that he may 
be called the founder of this work of mercy ; it is God 
who has done all, it is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 
that has opened to poor sinners a new source of graces, 
as for himself, he was not even the originator of the idea. 

These sentiments reveal the soul of a saint ; the true 
servants of God are always humble of heart, and the 
good they accomplish is in proportion to their self- 
abasement. 

In his deep gratitude to God, the pious cure never 
forgot the bond attaching Xotre Dame des Victoires to 
the chapel of the Daughters of Charity; he always 
loved this blessed sanctuary; it was there Mary had 
concealed the source of those vivifying Avaters which 
flowed through his parish ; it was there this Mother of 
divine grace had promised those benedictions which the 
Archconfraternity reaped so abundantly. To preserve 
the remembrance of this mysterious relation, he desired 
that the medal of the association should be the Miracu- 
lous Medal. Henceforth, the influence of this medal 
became confounded with that of the Archconfraternity, 

^ Manual of the A rchconf raternit j^ page 86. 



180 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL, 

the extraordinary graces attributed to the former were 
often due the associates' prayers, and reciprocally, for 
example, the conversion of M. Eatisbonne. In this case, 
as in many others, two equally supernatural means 
united to obtain the same result. 

It is related that M. Desgenettes, seeing the Daughters 
of Charity frequently around the altar of the most Holy 
Heart of Mary at Notre Dame des Victoires, would 
sometimes say to them: *^ My good Sisters, I am much 
pleased to see you in my dear church, but know that 
your own chapel is the true pilgrim shrine, it is there 
you have the Blessed Virgin, there she manifested her- 
self to you.'' * ^ >K**>K*>K 

The Miraculous Medal, as revealed to Sister Cathe- 
rine, bears on the reverse the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and 
Mary, the first crowned with thorns, the second pierced 
by a sword. These are symbols which all comprehend. 
Are they not, at the same time, a prophetic sign ? 

We are permitted to recognize here a foreshadowing of 
that devotion which would be rendered by the Archcon- 
fraternity of Notre Dame des Victoires, to the most Holy 
and Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

We may likewise see pre-figured, that later develop- 
ment in our day, of devotion to the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, a devotion born in France, and which the entire 
nation wishes to proclaim amidst pomp and grandeur, 
by the construction of a splendid monument, that from 
the heights of Montmartre, shall overlook all Paris. 

Thus by a mysterious gradation, the medal of the 
Immaculate Conception has conducted us to the Immacu- 
late Heart of Mary, and the Heart of the Mother has 
introduced us into the Heart of the Son, the adorable 
Heart of Jesus, that Heart which has so loved men, and 
which saves nations as well as individuals. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 181 



IV. 



Graces Obtained from 1838 to 18Jf2, in Greece, America, 

China, etc. 

CURE WROUGHT li^ SAKTORIis" (GREECE) — 1838. 

Letter of M. N., Priest of the Mission, in Santorin : 
"Mme. Marie Delenda, wife of M. Michel Chigi, son 
of the Vice-Consul from Holland to Santorin, for seven 
years had suffered most excruciating pains, inducing 
such a state of nervous sensibility, that she was unable 
to bear the least excitement. She had had several 
children, but they all died before birth and receiving 
baptism. The physicians consulted, declared unani- 
mously, that her disease was incurable, and that none of 
her children would ever come into the world alive. 
Greatly distressed at such a sad prospect, she had 
recourse to the Miraculous Medal, and obtained from it 
what medical skill was unable to effect ; her next child, 
born not long after, was a fine, live, healthy one. Her 
husband, as pious as herself, was transported with joy 
and gratitude. ^ Behold!^ said he to the attendant 
physician, and conducting him to an image of the Imma- 
culata Mary, ' Behold our Protectrice, our Liberatrix, 
the Mother of our child ! ' The physician knelt, said a 
prayer and retired. Since then, the mother's health is 
good ; at least she has had no relapse of her former 
apparently incurable disease, which recovery is sufficient 
to attest the protection of Mary Immaculate. Full of 
gratitude, the two spouses have never ceased to urge the 
erection of the altar and inauguration of the image of 
Mary Immaculate, in fulfillment of their promise. 

16 



182 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

"Several other miraculous cures have also been 
wrought there through the invocation of Mary Immacu- 
late. I am assured of this; four of them are well 
attested, and really marvelous. The bishop, the clergy, 
the people of Santorin, are all ready to affirm my asser- 
tions, and not one of them but would be more likely to 
exaggerate than detract from my account. When 
Monseigneur went to visit the Chigi family after the 
birth of their child, he asked to S3e the image, and 
looking at it, said : ' This is the second miracle wrought in 
Santorin by the Immaculate Virgin. The first is known 
to me through the confessional, and consequently, I 
cannot divulge it.' 

" It was on the 28th of May, the inauguration of the 
image of the Immaculate Conception took place. Mon- 
seigneur himself officiated in the translation, after the 
High Mass and procession terminating the Forty Hour's 
Devotion at the cathedral. The image Avas placed upon 
an altar prepared] for the purpose, in the court-yard of 
the donor's house. From the altar to the outer door, a 
very prettily decorated arched pathway was formed by 
means of drapery, and upon the threshold, was a 
triumphal arch. All the pavement, not only in the 
court but even to our church, was covered with flowers 
and fragrant grasses. Monseigneur, preceded by the 
clergy, and followed by all the Catholics and a number 
of Greek schismatics, repaired to the place where the 
image was exposed. Having incensed it, he intoned the 
Ave, Maris Stella, and the procession began to move. 
The clergy with the cross at their head commenced to 
defile. Then came two young girls bearing each a 
banner of white silk, whereon w\as depicted the spotless 
Virgin, these were suspended diagonally at the entrance 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 183 

of the sanctuary. Next, Avere two more young girls 
holding extended, the front of the altar representing the 
reverse of the medal, and finally, the image borne by the 
donor and one of his nearest relatives. Monseigneur 
walked immediately after, and behind him, Mme. Chigi 
holding her child in her arms and accompanied by her 
sister. The people were not in the ranks of the procession, 
but ranged along each side, that they might readily see 
the image and kiss it as it passed, which they did with 
so much eagerness and enthusiasm that there was con- 
siderable danger of its meeting with an accident. This, 
however we averted by many precautions, and at length 
reached the church. At the entrance, another very 
beautiful triumphal arch had been erected, surmounted 
by a large representation of the reverse of the medal 
upon a floating banner, bearing the inscription : ^Ave, 
Maria ImmaciilataJ The church door was decorated 
with drapery, likewise the interior of the walls, which 
were also hung with flowers, verdant crowns and gar- 
lands. The image was now placed upon a temporary 
throne, which had been prepared until a more suitable 
one could be erected. Another High Mass was cele- 
brated, at the end of which the children chanted alter- 
nately with the choir t\iQ ' Te Mariam laudamus,^ this 
being the first time it was ever heard in this country. 
The other individuals I have already mentioned as having 
been cured through the Immaculate Mary's intercession, 
made each one a votive offering to her image. One gave a 
veil, another a pretty golden cross, which decorated the 
Blessed Virgin's bosom during the ceremony; a third 
proposed having a silver crown made in fulfillment of 
her vow, but she was advised to give something else, 
since several others in unison had already promised a 
most beautiful golden crown." 



184 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



CURE OF MLLE. ELISE BOURGEOIS. 

Letter of the Superior of the Daughters of Charity, 

in Troyes: 

"Troyes, March U'h, 18Jf.2. 

"In 1838, we had in our work-room a young woman, 
named Elise Bourgeois, aged eighteen years, who, after 
great suifering, was attacked by an anchylosis in the knee. 
For seven months and a half she suffered excruciatingly, 
and her malady had reached the crisis. Her limb had 
shrunk up about two inches, and she could not walk with- 
out the aid of a cane or some one's arm. On the 8th of 
April, which was Monday in Holy Week, one of our 
young Sisters told me that the Notice contained an 
account of a Christian Brother, whose foot on the point 
of being amputated, was cured by the sole application of 
the Miraculous Medal, one night when his sufferings 
were greater than usual. I now reproached myself for 
having allowed this poor child to be so long afflicted, with- 
out our once thinking of having recourse to Mary for her 
recovery ; and ascending to the work-room, I related to 
the children this account of the Christian Brother, and 
told the young woman to arouse her faith, to put all her 
confidence in Mary Immaculate, to apply the medal to 
her knee, and commence a novena with her companions. 
All Tuesday night her sufferings were great indeed, she 
said it seemed as if all her bones were dislocated. Nor 
was she able to obtain a moment's repose the next day. 
There now issued from a little hole which had formed 
in her knee, a quantity of serous matter. The day fol- 
lowing, she arose with much difficulty, and was taken to 
the chapel where she heard Holy Mass. At the eleva- 
tion, she placed her sound knee upon the bench, saying 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 185 

most fervently to the good God : ' Since Thou art present, 
deign to cure me, that I may be entirely Thine.' She 
immediately felt something like the touch of a hand, 
which replaced the bones in their natural position, and 
lengthened the shrunken limb ; but she did not yet dare 
rest upon it, for fear of injury. At the end of Mass, she 
knelt to receive the priest's benediction, and in spite of 
herself, she rested her weight upon the afflicted knee. 
She remained in the chapel with her companions to say 
her prayers and thank the Blessed Virgin for the great 
favor just obtained. From that time she has never suf- 
fered the slightest pain in the limb, and it appears 
perfectly sound. 

"As soon as the children perceived that she was cured, 
they declared it a miracle, and all hearts were filled 
with the deepest emotion and gratitude. Elise now 
asked permission to go to the cathedral to confession ; 
a request I granted reluctantly, although she assured me 
she was not suffering in the slightest, yet she had not 
been out for seven months and a-half, and I could 
scarcely realize her recovery. Several Masses of thanks- 
giving were said in our chapel, during the first of which 
we had the Blessed Sacrament exposed, and the Te Deum 
chanted. The noise of this miracle soon spread through- 
out the city, and several persons came to see the healed 
one. She also requested permission to go to the house 
of one of her uncles, who had a very impious neighbor, 
that had been informed of her miraculous recovery, but 
who had also been told that he need not believe until 
he had seen Elise for himself. He was perfectly con- 
vinced, acknowledged it beyond denial, and said that in 
thanksgiving, a Te Deum should be chanted in the 
cathedral. 

16* 



186 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

^'I forgot to say, that our physician had seen this 
young woman two months before her recovery and pro- 
nounced the disease incurable. I had also had her 
examined by a surgeon, who ordered much blistering, 
but without expscting a cure.'' 

Accompanying this letter are the signatures of seven 
Sisters of Charity and twenty-three other individuals, 
witnesses of the miracle. 



A TRAIT OF PROTECTIO:^". (TEXAS). 

The following was sent us by Mgr. Odin, Vicar Apos- 
tolic of Texas, in a letter dated April lltli, 1841. 

'^ I had, in the city of Nacogdoches, an opportunity 
of witnessing how Mary Immaculate loves to grant the 
prayers of those Avho put their trust in her. A Mary- 
land lady, on leaving her native State to settle in Texas, 
had received a Miraculous Medal; her confessor, on 
giving it to her, exacting the promise, that she would 
never omit the daily recitation of the little prayer, 
' Mary ! conceived without sin, pray for iis who have 
recourse to thee! ' and assuring her at the same time that 
this good Mother would never allow her to die without 
the last consolations of religion. She faithfully com- 
plied with her promise. For four years she was confined 
to her bed, and often, it was thought, at the point of 
death, but her confidence in Mary, always inspired her 
with the hope of receiving the last Sacraments ere leav- 
ing this world. As soon as she heard of our arrival, we 
were summoned to her bedside; she received the Holy 
Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and expired a few days 
after, filled with gratitude for her celestial Benefactress. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 187 

CURES AND INCIDENTS OF PROTECTION. (CHINA). 

In a letter of July, 1838, Mgr. Eameaux, Vicar Apos- 
tolic of the provinces of the Kiang-Si and Tche-Kiang, 
in sending us the invocation of the medal translated into 
Chinese, says, that the Chinese have a great devotion to 
this little prayer, and always follow the Ave Maria by a 
recitation of it. He also informed us, that Mgr. de 
Bezy, Vicar Apostolic of the Hou-Kouang, and M. 
Perboyre, Missionary Apostolic, Avould transmit to us 
'several accounts of miraculous marks of protection. 
We received these accounts some months later, and 
quote them as follows : 

" 1st. In the province of the Hou-Kouang, a Christian 
had been racked by a terrible fever for two months, 
accompanied by constant delirium. Three physicians 
had attended him, but in vain. Finding himself on the 
verge of death, he sent for me to administer the Last 
Sacraments. I gave him the Holy Viaticum, but 
deferred Extreme Unction, seeing that my duties Avould 
retain me in that locality some time longer. I made 
him a present of the medal, and advised a novena, 
assuring him, that if it were for the benefit of his 
soul, he would te restored to health. He began 
the novena; on the seventh day, the fever left him, 
and on the eighth he had recovered his usual strength. 
On the ninth day of the novena he came to see me, 
and assured me that he was perfectly well. I reminded 
him of thanking the Blessed Virgin for so great 
a favor, and he promised to recite with his friends 
the Eosary in her honor. But our Christian, pre- 
occupied with various affairs that his sickness had 
interrupted, forgot the promise. Five days after, he had 



188 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

a relapse. This made him conscious of his fault ; he 
approached the Sacraments again, and began another 
novena. Though he continued to grow worse from day 
to day, I still had great hopes that the Immaculate Mary 
would come to his assistance, and I assured him of his 
recovery before the end of the novena. My confidence 
was not deceived; he recovered entirely, to the great 
astonishment of all the Christians. This time his grati- 
tude was effectual, and the fever did not return. 

'^2d. In Tien-Men, a village of the same province, the 
Christians, numbering about two hundred, are distin- 
guished for their piety and a great devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin. For eight years, successive inundations 
had reduced these Christians to extreme poverty ; but 
this year, at the first sign of an overflow, they had 
recourse to Mary Immaculate by means of the medal, 
and soon the waters retired without doing the slightest 
harm to the Christian territory, whilst that of the 
pagans Avas devastated. And our Christians now return 
most grateful thanks to their good Mother for the abun- 
dant harvest they have just gathered. 

" 3d. The following account was sent us by M. Per- 
boyre, in a letter of August 10th, 1839. The reader will 
learn, with interest, that this is the same mis^Pnary who, 
arrested a month after for his religion, so generously 
confessed the Faith one whole year amidst the most 
frightful tortures, and at last consummated the sacrifice 
by his glorious martyrdom, September 11th, 1840. 

" Whilst I w^as giving a mission to the Christians of 
the Honan province, November, 1837, they brought to 
me a young woman who had been afflicted with mental 
aberration for about eight months, telling me she was 
very anxious to confess, and, though she was incapable 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 189 

of the Sacrament, they begged me not to refuse her a 
consolation she appeared to desire so earnestly. Her 
sad condition of mind precluded all idea of her deriving 
any benefit from the exercise of my ministry, but I heard 
her out of pure compassion. In taking leave of her, I 
placed her under the especial protection of the Blessed 
Virgin — that is, I gave her a medal of the Immaculate 
Conception. She did not then understand the value of 
the holy remedy she received ; but, from that moment, 
she began to experience its beneficial efl^ects, her shat- 
tered intellect improving so rapidly that, at the end of 
four or five days, she was entirely changed. To a com- 
plete confusion of ideas, to fears that kept her ever in 
mortal agony, and which, I believe, were the work of the 
demon, succeeded good sense, peace of mind and happi- 
ness. She made her confession again, and received Holy 
Communion, with the most lively sentiments of joy and 
fervor. This especial instance of Mary's generosity will 
doubtless surprise you little, you who know^ so well that 
the earth is filled with her mercy ; but your hearts will 
be excited anew to fervent thanksgiving for this partic- 
ular favor, which is the principal reason of my acquaint- 
ing you with it. " 

1st. Letter from a Missionary of Macao, dated August 

25th, 1841 : 

"A widow who had but one son, reared like herself in 
paganism, saw him suddenly fall under the power of the 
demon ; his paroxysms were so furious that all fled before 
him, and he ran through the fields uttering the most 
lamentable cries. Anyone that attempted to stop hirn 
was immediately seized and thrown to the ground. His 
poor mother was in despair, and almost dying of grief, 



190 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

when Divine Providence deigned to cast upon her a look 
of compassion. One day when he was unusually tor- 
mented, the young man fled hither and thither like a 
vagabond, not knowing where he went ; everyone tried 
to stop him, but he brutally repulsed all who lay hands 
on him. The most merciful God permitted a Christian 
to be among the number of those who witnessed this 
spectacle. Animated with a lively faith, and touched at 
the unfortunate creature's sufferings, the Christian told 
all who were pursuing the demoniac to desist, that he 
unaided could arrest him, that he would quiet him, and 
restore him docile and gentle to his mother. This lan- 
guage astonished the pagans, but they did as requested, 
although thinking the Christian ran a great risk. Our 
good Christian wore the Miraculous Medal of the Immacu- 
late Mary; taking it in his hands he approached the 
possessed, and showing it to him he commanded the 
demon to flee and leave the young man in peace. The 
demon obeyed instantly, and the young man seeing the 
medal in the Christian's hands, humbly prostrated him- 
self before the miraculous image, without knowing what 
it was. The pagans, Ava'ching from a distance, were 
greatly astonished. The Christian now commanded the 
young man to rise and follow him, and still holding in 
his hand the medal, which was as a magnet attracting 
the young pagan, he thus conducted him to his mother. 
' Mother/ he exclaimed, to her great consolation, as soon 
as he saw her, ' Do not weep any more, I am freed from 
the demon; he left me as soon as he perceived this 
medal.' Imagine the poor mother's joy, on hearing 
these words ! She was perplexed to know whether it 
was a dream or a reality ! The Christian reassured her, 
and recounted all that had passed, adding, that her son 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 191 

would never be possessed again, if she renounced her 
idols and became a Christian. She promised sincerely, 
and they immediately began to divest their altar of its 
false gods. Then the Christian, feeling assured they 
would be faithful when instructed in the truths of 
religion, withdrew, laden with the thanks of both mother 
and son fur the inestimable service he had just rendered 
them." 

2cL Extract of a Letter from M, Faivre, Priest of the 
Mission in the Province of Nanlcin, Mciy 6th, 18Jfl: 

" The two great means God uses for the accomplish- 
ment of good in this Mission are our Lord's cross and 
the Immaculate Mary's protection. As to the most 
powerful protection of Mary conceived without sin, we, 
have experienced it so often, and in so especial a manner, 
both as regards ourselves and the w^elfare of the Mission, 
that it would be tedious to recount in detail, even if I 
wished to do so, all the favors we have received at her 
maternal hands. 

" Seeing the Blessed Virgin's clemency towards us and 
our Christians, we have done all we could to honor her 
and advance her honor among the Christians, by seeking 
to inspire them with the most lively confidence in this 
good, holy Mother. On the Feast of the Assumption, 
1839, we consecrate! this Mission to her, and ever since 
it has been called Mary's Diocese. We have given as 
a rule to our virgins especial devotion to the Immaculate 
Conception. We have established Mary Immaculate 
patroness of the seminary Providence has created in this 
Mission. (This seminary now numbers six scholars who 
lead lives of regularity and edification, and make rapid 
progress in the study of Latin.) One of our virgins, 



192 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL, 

already advanced in age, had been for several years con- 
fined to her bed, without the slightest hope of recovery, 
the thirteen physicians who had been successively con- 
sulted having declared her malady incurable. Seeing 
her end approach, she asked for the missionary, that she 
might receive the Last Sacraments. He came, and 
administered the Sacraments of the dying, exhorting her 
to accept death in a spirit of conformity to the will of 
God. She replied that she was fully resigned to His 
holy will, and had no hope of deriving any benefit from 
human means, but she felt convinced that if she could 
get a Miraculous Medal, her health would be restored. 
The missionary, seeing so much faith and confidence, 
gave her the one he wore, having no other convenient 
just then, and lecommended her to make a novena in 
honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed 
Virgin. All the family joined her in making the 
novena, and from the fifth day she was entirely cured. 
The attending physician, who was a pagan, coming to 
see her at the end of the novena, was utterly surprised 
to find her so well, and he eagerly inquired what extra- 
ordinary reme^^y had been employed to effect such a 
change.' She replied that she had used no remedies, 
but the Lord of Heaven had restored her health. The 
physician returned, filled with veneration for the Lord 
of Heaven, who had displayed such great power ; and 
the virgin, in expression of her gratitude to the Immacu- 
late Mary, her august Benefactress, donated three 
hundred piastres to repair a chapel dedicated to Mary.'' 



THE MTKACULOUS MEDAL. 193 



CONVERSION OF M. RATISBONNE, AN ISRAELITE. 

Rome, I842. 
M. Alphonse Eatisbonne belonged to a Jewish family 
of Strasburg, distinguished in the world as much for its 
social position as the universal esteem in which it was 
held; he himself was a member of a society for the 
encouragement of labor, contributing thus to the benefit 
of his unfortunate brethren. Towards the end of the 
year 1841, he became affianced to a young Jewess, Avho 
united in her person all those qualities calculated to 
assure his happiness. Before entering upon this new 
state of life, he decided to take a pleasure trip to the 
East, visiting on the way some of the most remarkable 
cities of Italy. There was nothing, he thought, inter- 
esting to him in the Eternal City, so from Naples he 
would direct his course to Palermo ; but Divine mercy 
called him, though he did not recognize the voice ; he is 
constrained, as it were, by a secret design of Heaven, to 
change his determination, and visit Rome. It was in 
this centre of Catholic unity that the^God of all patience 
and goodness awaited him, it was here that grace was to 
touch his heart. But what were his dispositions ? Thou, 
Lord, knowest them ! . . . Ilis hatred of Cath- 
olicity was very far from suggesting a thought of his 
ever embracing it. He felt for our holy and sublime 
religion that violent animosity wdiich could not contain 
itself, which chafed at anything reminding him of 
Christianity, and which had uveii grown more rancorous 
since his brother M. Theodore Ratisbonne's abjuration 
of Judaism and reception of Holy Orders. He could 
not pardon this desertion, and his implacable hatred 
increased with time. But the innocent object of his 



194 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

aversion never ceased to supplicate Heaven to shed a ray 
of divine light upon the deluded brother, who loaded 
him with indignation and contempt. Made sub-Director 
of the Archconfraternity of Notre Dame des Victoires, 
he often implored the associates' prayers for this brother's 
conversion. 

Such were M. Eatisbonne's sentiments when he 
entered Kome. He had scarcely arrived ere he thought 
of leaving; everything he saw in the Holy City 
urged him to hasten from it, everything excited him to 
declaim against Avhat shocked and vilified his belief. . . . 
He was not proof, however, against a s^^ecies of emotion 
in visiting the church of Ara Coeli; but it was an emo- 
tion which lost all its influence, (if influence it could be 
said to have exerted upon this heart buried in the shades 
of death,) when he understood that it was the general 
effect produc3d by the first sight of this remarkable 
monument. So, far from giving way to it, he hastened, 
on the contrary, to affirm that it was not a Catholic emo- 
tion, but an impression purely religious. In traversing 
the Ghetto, his hatred against Christianity was still 
more infiamed at witnessing the misery and degradation 
of the Jews; as if the chastisement of that deicidal 
people had been inflicted by the children of the Church, 
as if this people had not called down upon itself the 
vengeance of innocent blood ! 

Before leaving Kome, M. Ratisbonne was to visit one 
of his childhood's friends, an old schoolmate with whom 
he had always kept up an intimacy, although their reli- 
gious belief was so widely at variance. This friend was 
M. Gustave de Bussiere, a zealous Protestant, who several 
times had endeavored to proflt by their intimacy, by 
persuading M. Eatisbonne to embrace Protestantism, 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 195 

but the latter was immovable, and the two friends, after 
useless discussions, usually ended by a renewal of their 
faith in two words, expressing most emphatically how 
invincible each deemed himself. ^^ Headstrong Jew!" 
said one; '^ Enraged Protestant!" replied the other. 
Such was the result of these conversations, which never 
succeeded in shaking the opinion of either, or dissipating 
any of their deplorable errors. This opposition of 
principles, however, did not estrange their friendship. 
M. Katisbonne called to see M. De Bussiere, and was 
admitted by an Italian servant. He inquired for M. 
Gustave de Bussiere, but this gentleman was absent, and 
by a providential mistake the servant introduced him 
into the salon of M. Theodore Bussiere, Gustave's 
brother, whom M. Eatisbonne had seen but once. It 
was too late to withdraw, and though somewhat dis- 
concerted at the mistake, he stopped to exchange a few 
words of courtesy with his friend's brother. M. De Bus- 
siere had had the happiness of abjuring Protestantism, 
and he was a zealous advocate of the Faith he had so 
lately learned to prize. He knew that M. Eatisbonne 
was a Jew ; he received him with affectionate eagerness, 
and the conversation naturally turning upon the various 
places of interest in Eome visited by the young French 
traveler, it soon drifted into a religious discussion. 
M. Eatisbonne' did not disguise his real sentiments, he 
expressed his animosity against Catholicity, his inalter- 
able attachment to Judaism and to the baron De Bus- 
siere's solid arguments, his only replies were the frigid 
politeness of silence, a smile of pity, or new protesta- 
tions of fidelity to his sect, repeating thai: a Jew he was 
born and a Jew he would die ! 

It wa3 then that M. De Bussiere. not the least discour- 



196 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

aged by M. E.itisbonne's emphatic language, and impelled 
by a secret impulse of grace, thought of offering him the 
Miraculous Medal. Doubtless this idea appears rash to 
many, and many would have banished it as a veritable 
folly, but the simplicity of faith teaches us to discern 
things by a very different light from that in which they 
are revealed to the world. Filled with this holy fear- 
lessness of the Saints, M. De Bussiere presents the young 
Jew a medal of the Immaculate Conception. "Promise 
me," said he, '- to always wear this little image, I beg 
you not to refuse me." M. Eatisbonne, unable to con- 
ceal his astonishment at so strange a proposition, rejects 
it instantly with an expression of indignation that would 
have disconcerted any other than his new friend. " But," 
continues our fervent Catholic undismayed, " I cannot 
understand the cause of such a refusal, for, according to 
your view of things, the wearing of this object must be 
to you a matter of total indifference, whilst it would be 
a real consolation to me if you would condescend to my 
request." " Ah ! I will comply, then, if you attach so 
much importance to it," replied the other with a hearty 
laugh ; " I should not be sorry, moreover, to have an 
opportunity of convincing you that Jews are not so 
headstrong as they are represented. Besides, it will give 
me an interesting chapter to add to my notes and impres- 
sions of travel." And he continued to jest on the subject 
in a manner rather painful to the Christian hearts around 
him. 

During this debate, the good father of the family had 
told his two little daughters (interesting children, whom 
an eminently religious education had already imbued 
with sentiments of piety), to put the precious medal on 
a cord. They did so, and gave it to their father, who 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 197 

hung it around the young Israelite's neck. Encouraged 
by this first success, he w'shes to go still farther. He 
attempts nothing less than binding M. Ratisbonne him- 
self to ask the favor and protection of Mary, of Mary 
whom he despises without knowing, Mary whose image 
he receives most reluctantly! M. De Bassiere presents 
him a paper upon which is written St. Bernard's power- 
ful invocation, the Memorare, . . . This time, the 
Jew can still less dissimulate his displeasure, it seems 
tried to the utmost; but the baron feels himself actuated 
by a secret impulse, that urges him to persevere in his 
solicitations, and conquer. He repeats his request, and 
even goes so far when he presents the prayer as to beg 
M. Ratisbonne to take a copy of it for him, as he has but 
one: M. Ratisbonne, convinced that resistance is useless, 
rather than repeat his refusal prefers acceding to the 
request, and thus ridding himself of such vexatious im- 
portunity. '-Agreed," said he, '-that you take my copy and 
I keep yours." And, hastening to this indiscreet zealot, 
he retired, murmuring to himself : " I really wonder 
what he would say if I were to insist upon his reciting 
the Jewish prayers ? I must admit that I have, indeed, 
met a striking original ! " It was thus he left this house 
of benediction and salvation, ignorant of the treasure 
he bore w^ith him, the key of Heaven that had been 
given him ; the image of the Mother of holy hope he 
wore upon his heart, and whose blessed effects he would 
so soon experience. 

M. De Bussiere, deeply grieved at the young Jew's 
levity, united with his family in conjuring the God of 
mercy to pardon the words of one who knew not what 
he said ; and he recommended his dear children to lift 

17* 



198 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

up their hands to the Eefuge of Sinners, supplicating 
her to obtain the gift of Faith for this poor soul in the 
shades of darkness and error ! . . . Mary ! your 
tender love graciously welcomed these prayers of the 
innocent, they penetrated your maternal heart, and soon 
obtained the object of their desires. The zeal of this 
devout servant of the Queen of Heaven was not confined 
within the narrow limits of his own family circle. . . . 
Going, that evening, according to a pious custom in 
Eome, to keep watch before the Blessed Sacrament with 
the prince B. and some other friends, he also engaged 
their prayers for the young Israelite's conversion. . . . 
Lst us follow attentively all the details preceding the 
ever memorable day which was to crown M. De Bus- 
siere's pious efforts. Let us not forget that a generotis 
Christian, elevated by a lively faith above the vain preju- 
dices of the world, and docile to the secret inspirations 
of grace, becomes the instrument of Providence in pro- 
curing God's glory and the salvation of a soul. 

Meanwhile, M. Eatisbonne was making arrangements 
to leave Eome; he had already fixed upon the day of his 
departure, and had come to say good-bye to his friend 
and acquaint him with his intention of starting the next 
evening. '' Going ! " replied M. De Bussiere ; " do not 
think of it. I want you to grant me just eight days 
longer; our conversation of yesterday occupies my 
thoughts more than ever ; let me entreat you to prolong 
your stay, and let us go to the diligence office to counter- 
mand your order." It was in vain. M. Eatisbonne 
declined, saying he had already decided to go, and had 
no motive for deferring his departure. Under the pre- 
text of a very imposing ceremony which was to take 
place at St. Peter's, M. De Bussiere forced, rather than 
persuaded him to remain a few days longer. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 199 

We shall not here enter into a detailed account of 
what passed between them from the moment M. De 
Bussiere's constancy gained the last triumph — that is, 
from the 16th of January to the 20th — inasmuch as 
there was not the slightest sign of the happy change, 
either in the language or conduct of M. Ratisbonne, 
towards the new friend divine Providence had given 
him, in spite of himself. He could not, however, avoid 
receiving this new friend's civilities, or refuse to be 
accompanied by him in visiting the various places of 
note in the Eternal City. M. De Bussiere, full of hope 
against all human hope, allowed no opportunity to 
escape of enlightening his young friend; but not one 
consoling response could he obtain, M. Eatisbonne, by 
jest and raillery, always avoiding the arguments he 
would not take the trouble to refute, always ridiculing 
Catholicity, and thus afflicting the heart of the servant 
of Jesus Christ by responding coldly to the assiduity of 
his zeal, the serious nature of his propositions. " Make 
your mind easy; I will think of all this, but not at 
Rome. I am to spend two months at Malta; it will 
serve to while awav the time.'' He was astonished at 
the imperturbable tranquillity with which M. De Bus- 
siere persevered in trying to convince him; he could not 
understand that union of serenity (which religion alone 
iaspires) with that ardent desire (that he doubtless 
attributed to obstinacy) of leading him to a new belief, 
for which, according to his own words, he felt more 
aversion than ever. To him this tranquillity appeared 
incomprehensible. M. De Bussiere did not hesitate to 
express his belief in the triumph of his cause; for 
instance, in passing the Scala Sanda with the young 
Israelite, as he pointed it out he bared his head respect- 



200 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

fully and said aloud, as if in a voice of prophecy, "Hail, 
holy staircase ! here is a man who one day will ascend 
your steps on his knees." This was on the 19th. M. 
Eatisbonne's only response was a disconcerting peal of 
laughter, and the two friends separated again, without 
the slightest religious impression having been made upon 
the Israelite, although, unknown to human ken, he was 
on the eve of the brightest day of his life. 

During this short interval, M. De Bussiere tasted the 
bitterness of losing one of his dearest friends. M. De 
La Ferronays died suddenly on the evening of the 17th, 
leaving to his family and all who knew him the sweet 
hope that he had bid adieu to this perishable life only 
to enter upon the joys of a blissful immortal one. 
Doubtless this event contributed to the young Israelite's 
speedy conversion, for whilst on earth M. De La Ferro- 
nays had prayed for him, and we have every reason to 
believe that he soon became his advocate in heaven. M. 
De Bussiere had informed this dear friend of his hopes 
and the means employed for gaining the young Israelite 
to Jesus Christ, and he had received the consoling- 
answer: "Do not be uneasy; if you have succeeded in 
making him say the Memorare, he is yours." .... 
Such was the admirable confidence of this fervent 
Christian in the powerful protection of the most com- 
passionate Virgin Mary ! 

Yet notwithstanding the bitterness of the sacrifice 
Heaven had just demanded of the Baron De Buss.iere, 
he found it hard to part from this young man whom he 
longed to conquer to the Faith, and the resignation of 
his grief was a new prayer attracting the Divine meroy. 
Immediately after leaving him on the 19th, he went to 
prostrate himself beside the remains of his virtuous 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 201 

friend, begging that friend's assistance from the heights 
of heaven in obtaining what had been already recom- 
mended to his prayers on earth. 

Thursday, 20th. — M. Ratisbonne's dispositions are not 
changed in the least; he never raises his thoughts above 
terrestrial things, the religious discussions of the pre- 
ceding days have not even fixed his attention, or appa- 
rently not excited in his soul the slightest anxiety. As 
to his false belief, he never dreams of taking one step 
towards a knowledge of the truth ; M. De Bussiere is 
not with him to continue the conversation on religion, 
and he dismisses the subject from his mind. Leaving 
the cafe, he meets one of his fellow-boarders ; they dis- 
course of balls and other frivolous amusements in such 
a way as to convince one that he was surely not engrossed 
with anything serious. It was then noon, and two hours 
later the young Jew had seen the light, two hours later 
he eagerly desired the grace of holy baptism, two hours 
later he believed in the Church I . . . Who is like 
to Thee, my God ? Who can thus, in an instant, 
triumph over human reason, and force it to render 
homage to Thy sovereign truth ? . . . Ah ! it is 
Thyself, Thyself alone. Lord, it is the prerogative of 
Thy mercy to work such prodigies I Let us return to 
our Israelite. 

It is one o'clock ; M. De Bussiere must repair to the 
church of St. Andrew delle Fratte to make some arrange- 
ments for the funeral ceremonies of M. De La Ferronays, 
which take place on the morrow. He sets out, and on 
the way happily meets M. Ratisbonne, who joins him, 
with the intention of taking one of their usual walks, 
when M. De Bussiere had fulfilled the imperative duty 



202 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

that required his immediate attention. . . . But the 
moment of grace has come. They enter the church, 
where various decorations already announce the morrow's 
ceremonies ; the Israelite inquires the meaning of them, 
and M. De Bussiere, having replied that they were for 
the funeral obsequies of M. De La Ferronays, the inti- 
mate friend he had just lost, begs him to wait there an 
instant, whilst he goes into the house to execute a commis- 
sion with one of the monks. M. Eatisbonne then glances 
coolly around the church, seeming to say by his air of 
indifference, that it is not worth his attention. We must 
remark that he was then at the epistle side of the altar. 
M. De Bussiere returns after an absence of about twelve 
minutes, and is surprised at not seeing his young com- 
panion. Could he have grown weary of Avaiting in a 
place that inspired only repugnance and disgust ? . . . 
He knew not, and sought M. Eatisbonne. What was his 
astonishment at finding him on the left hand side of 
the church, kneeling, and apparently wrapt in devo- 
tion ! ... He could scarcely believe his eyes, and 
yet it was no mistake. ... It was in the chapel of 
the archangel St. Michael that the prince of darkness 
had just been crushed. ... A great victory already 
rejoiced all Heaven. . . . The young Jew was van- 
quished. 

M. De Bussiere approaches, but he is not heard; he 
touches his friend, but he cannot distract him; he 
touches him again, but still no response; he repeats it a 
third or fourth time, and at last M. Eatisbonne turns to 
answer, and his tearful countenance, his utter inability 
to express Avhat has passed, his hands clasped most 
fervently, partly reveal the heavenly secret. " Oh ! how 
M. De La Ferronays has prayed for me ! ^^ he exclaims. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 203 

This is all he says. Never did M. De Bussiere enjoy a 
more consoling surprise. The bandage of error blinding 
the young Israelite had fallen, and M. De Biissiere's heart 
was filled with the most lively gratitude to God. . . . 
He raises his young friend, who was completely over- 
come by this celestial visitation ; he takes him and 
almost carries him out of the church. . . . He is all 
eagerness to know the details. ... He asks M. Eatis- 
bonne to reveal the mystery, and begs him to say where 
he wishes to go. "Lead me," replies the new Paul, 
completely vanquishtd, "lead me where you will. . . . 
After w^hat I have seen, I obey." . . . And not being 
able to say more, he draws forth the unknown treasure 
he had been w^earing upon his heart for four days. He 
takes the dear medal in his hands, he covers it with 
kisses, he waters it abundantly with tears of joy, and 
amidst his sobs escape a few words expressive of his 
happiness, but which a profound emotion almost prevents 
his articulating. " How good is God ! What a plenti- 
tude of gifts I What joy unknown ! Ah ! how happy 
I am, and how much to be pitied are they who do not 
believe ! " And continuing to shed torrents of tears over 
.he miseries of those whom Faith has never enlightened, 
he already feels the holy desire of seeing the kingdom of 
Jesus Christ extended throughout the world. He can 
scarcely himself understand such a transformation, and 
amidst the various feelings surging through his heart, he 
interrupts his tears, his exclamations and his silence, to 
ask M. De Bussiere if he does not think him crazy. . . . 
Then answering his own question, " No," he continues : 
" I am not crazy. . . . I know well what I think and 
what passes Avithin me. ... I know that I am in my 
right mind. . . . Moreover, everybody knows that I 



204 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

am not crazy! " By degrees, these firs' transports of emo- 
tion give place to a more composed frame of mind ; he 
can at last express his new desires, his new belief, and 
he asks to be conducted to the feet of a priest, for he 
craves the grace of holy baptism. . . . Already favored 
with the most lively Faith, he aspires after the happiness 
of confessing his Divine Master in the midst of torments 
and recalling the sufferings of the martyrs he had seen 
represented upon the walls of St. Etienne le Rond ; he 
wishes to shed his blood in attestation of his Faith as a 
disciple of Jesus Christ. . . . Meanwhile, he has told 
M. De Bussiere nothing of the sudden blow that van- 
quished him, and he refuses to tell except in the presence 
of God's minister; "for what he saw he ought not, he 
could not reveal except on his knees.'' 

Father De Villefort, of the Society of Jesus, is chosen 
to receive the neophyte and hear this consoling secret, 
which will reveal the excess of Divine mercy towards 
the soul of the young Israelite. M. De Bussiere himself 
conducts him to the Reverend Father, who welcomes 
him tenderly. . . . Then, in the presence of M. De 
Bussiere, M. Ratisbonne takes in his hand the medal, 
the dear pledge of the Immaculate Mary's protection, 
and again covers it with respectful kisses, mingled with 
a shower of tears. He endeavors to overcome his emo- 
tion, and exclaims in a transport of joy: "I have seen 
her I I have seen her ! " Conquering his feelings, he 
continues his narration, interrupted from time to time 
by the sighs of an overburdened heart. 

" I had been in the church but an instant, when sud- 
denly I was seized with an inexplicable fear. I raised 
my eyes, the whole edifice had disappeared from my view, 
one chapel alone had, as it were, concentrated all the 




APFAlilTlOy OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL 

To 3f. Ratisbonne, January 20, lSJ^-2, in the Church of St. 
Andrew, delle Fratte, in Rome. ''She did not speak one word to 
me;' said M. Ratishonne, ''hut I understood it aUy 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 205 

light, and in the midst of this effulgence there appeared 
standing upon the altar the Virgin Mary, grand, bril- 
liant, full of majesty and sweetness, such as she is 
represented upon the medal — an irresistible force 
impelled me to her. The Virgin made me a sign with 
her hand to kneel, and she seemed to say: ' It is well.' 
She did not speak to me, but I understood all.'' 

He ceased, but this short account eloquently revealed 
the abundant favors with which his soul had just been 
inundated. Reverend Father De Villefort and the pious 
baron listened with a holy joy, mingled with an invol- 
untary feeling of religious awe, at thoughts of the 
infinite power Avhich had just triumphed by such a 
striking manifestation of mercy. . . . The mystery 
was revealed, but M. Eatisbonne, now the disciple of the 
most humble of Masters, a God annihilated, expressed a 
wish to have the wonderful vision kept a profound secret; 
he even earnestly entreated that it should be, but Father 
De Villefort considered it wiser not to yield to the 
neophyte's modesty, God's glory, the Immaculate Mary's 
honor, demanding that such a miracle should be pro- 
claimed. I\r. Eatisbonne's humility gave way to obedience. 
In the brief narration just quoted, one thing especially 
had struck the Eeverend Father, " She did not speak to 
me, but I understood all ! " What, then, had he under- 
stood, he who, having hitherto lived in the shades of 
darkness, found himself in an instant instructed in 
heavenly know^ledge ? What, then, had he understood, 
lie who was suddenly recalled from the bosom of death 
which he loved, to a new life which but a short time 
previous he had solemnly declared he would ever ignore, 
'a Jew he Avas born and a Jew he would die?' What 
had he understood, he the young Jew, so lately head- 
is 



206 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

strong in his belief, an avowed enemy of Catholicity, but 
who now humbly prostrates himself at the feet of our 
Lord's minister to retract his word's and renounce his 
own will, for he declares that, after what he has seen, he 
obeys ? . . . What has he understood ? What has 
he seen ? He has seen the Mother of divine grace, the 
bright aurora of the Sun of Justice ; he has understood 
the gift of God, the eternal truth . . . the unity of 
the Church, its infallibility, the sanctity of its morals, 
the sublimity of its mysteries, the grandeur and eleva- 
tion of its hopes. . . . He has understood Heaven, 
and henceforth everything is changed for him, every- 
thing is renewed within him, lie is no longer the same. 
His desires, projects, thoughts, earthly affections, where 
are they in the brilliancy of this celestial radiance ? 
Vain prejudices of error, where are they ? . . . The 
Immaculate Mother of Jesus has rent asunder the band 
that veiled the young Israelite's eyes, and the shades of 
error are dissipated, the blind man sees the light, and 
his joy is inexpressible, for he knew not till then the 
true gifts, the blessings promised the children of the 
true Church. * ^k * * * * * 

M. Eatisbonne had heretofore been completely ignorant 
of the truths of Catholicity, he acknowledges that he 
had never read even one book calculated to enlighten 
him on the subject, his hatred of Christianity kept him 
aloof from all that might change his views in regard to 
it. He blasphemed without examining the object of his 
blasphemy, he judged Avithout hearing, he despised 
without investigating. . . . And behold! in spite 
of himself, in an instant, in defiance of all his past 
protestations, he bends, he falls, he is conquered! 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 207 

Eejoice, Mary! for the dew of grac3 has not 
descended upon an ungrateful soil. . . . No ; not in 
vain at your mysterious school^ has he learned all this 
privileged soul of your love, this heart that your incom- 
parable beauty, your ineffable bounty have vanquished 
for Jesus Christ ! 

We see, indeed, that, from the moment his eyes are 
opened to the light, he adores the mysteries he formerly 
despised, loves what he hated, venerates what he ridiculed, 
and proves himself as humble and submissive to the 
Church as the most fervent Christian. That very day, he 
goes to the basilica of St. Mary Major, in tribute of grati- 
tude to her who had just descended from Heaven, to bring 
him the gift of Faith, and its attendant blessings ; thence 
he repairs to St. Peter's, to declare in that sanctuary dedi- 
cated to the Prince of the Apostles, his belief in the 
truths that Peter taught. M. De Bussiere, who found a 
pious delight in offering to God this conquest of grace, 
accompanied him on his holy pilgrimage, and conversed 
intimately with him, they had but one heart and one 
soul. A new Paul, Eatisbonne, in what he experienced, 
at the moment the Blessed Virgin gently forced him to 
prostrate himself at her feet, to receive the light of 
Heaven, recognized the strength of Him who vanquished 
His persecutors. . . . The profound emotion, the 
holy awe that filled the neophyte on entering a church, 
declared more fully the secrets that had been revealed 
to him. . . . Penetrated with the liveliest faith for 
the great Sacrament of love, he could not approach the 
altar, he was overwhelmed at the thought of the Eeal 
Presence of the God who resides in the Most Holy 
Sacrament. He considered himself vmworthy to appear 
in this august Presence, as he was yet stained with 



208 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

original sin, and M. De Bussiere relates, that he took 
refuge in a chapel, consecrated to the Blessed Virgin, 
exclaiming : " I have no fears here, for I feel myself 
under the protection of a boundless mercy." Mary ! 
you opened your maternal heart, and there he concealed 
himself, knowing that divine justice yields to mercy, 
when the guilty soul has found and invoked with con- 
fidence the Kefuge of Sinners. ... So great was 
the fervent neophyte's happiness when in the temple of 
the Lord, that he was unable to find words expressive of 
his happiness. "Ah!'' said he in a holy transport, 
"how delightful it is to be here! How great reason 
have Catholics to love their churches and to frequent 
them! How zealous they should be in ornamenting 
them ! How sweet to spend a lifetime in these holy 
places ! They are truly nob of earth but of Heaven! '' 
Ah ! are we not confounded and abashed by the fervor 
of him who has just been born into the truth ! What 
would he think of the coldness, the levity, the ingrati- 
tude of the majority of Christians? . . . Let us 
acknowledge it to our confusion ; there is a Host who 
dwells in our midst, and whom we know not; we who 
eat at His table, who feed upon His own flesh, the Bread 
descended from Heaven, and behold ! a young Israelite, 
instructed but a few hours in the wonders of God's 
love, teaches us how we must conduct ourselves in the 
presence of this Host, and with what sentiments our 
hearts should then be filled. 

Next day, the news of this wonderful conversion had 
spread through Kome ; every one was anxious to learn 
something about it, and collected with pious curiosity 
the various statements in circulation; every one wished 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 209 

to see the newly converted and hear his account. . . . 
. General Chlabonski even went to M. De Bussiere's house. 
^' So you have seen the image of the Blessed Virgin," 
said he, accosting the neophyte. '- The image ? " 
answered the latter, "ah ! it was no image, but herself I 
saw; yes, M. her real self, just as I see you now ! " We 
must here remark that to the Church alone, appertains 
the power of judging and qualifying this vision; but 
every one was impressed with the fact, that mistake or 
illusion seemed impossible, considering the young 
Israelite's character, education, prejudices and horror for 
Christianity; moreover, in this chapel there was neither 
statue, picture nor any representation whatever of the 
Blessed Virgin. And Ave love to quote here the words 
of a wise man, w^ho, referring to the event, says, "that 
without one grain of exaggeration, just as it happened, 
just as all Eome narrates it, the unexpected fact, the 
public fact of this conversion, considering all the cir- 
cumstances, would of itself be a miracle, if a miracle 
had not caused it." 

M. Katisbonne reluctantly gave the details of what 
he had seen. When questioned closely as to what took 
place at the moment he found himself environed by this 
celestial effulgence, he answers ingenuously that he 
could not account for the involuntary impulse causing 
him to leave the right hand side of the church for the 
chapel on the left, especially as he was separated from it 
by the preparations for the morrow's ceremonies ; that, 
when the Queen of Heaven appeared before him in all 
the glory and brilliancy of her immaculate purity, he 
caught a glimpse of her incomparable beauty, but imme- 
diately realized the impossibility of contemplating it, 
that urged by the desire, three times had he endeavored 

18* 



210 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

to lift his eyes to the face of this Mother of mercy, 
whose sweet clemency had deigned to manifest herself 
to him, and three times, in spite of himself, had his 
gaze been stayed at sight of the blessed hands, whence 
escaped a torrent of graces. "I could not,^^ he told us 
himself after his arrival, " I could not express what I 
saw of mercy and liberality in Mary's hands. It was 
not only an effulgence of light, it was not rays I dis- 
tinguished, words are inadequate to depict the ineffable 
gifts filling our Mother's hands, and descending from 
them, the bounty, mercy, tenderness, the celestial sweet- 
ness and riches, flowing in torrents and inundating the 
souls she protects." 

In the first moments of his conversion, M. Eatisbonne 
gave vent to some of those thoughts which strongly 
pre occupied him, those outpourings of a fervent heart 
which happily, are still preserved. " my God ! " he 
exclaimed in a transport of astonishment and gratitude, 
" I, who only half an hour before was blaspheming ! I, 
who felt such violent hatred against the Catholic 
religion! . . . Every one of my acquaintances knew 
full well, that to all human appearances, it was impos- 
sible for me ever to think of changing my religion. My 
family was Jewish, my betrothed, my uncle were 
Jewish. In embracing Christianity, I know that I 
break away from all earthly hopes and interests. . . . 
And yet I do it willingly; I renounce the passing happi- 
ness of a future which was promised me; I do so without 
hesitation, I act from conviction; . . . for I am not 
crazy, and have never been ; they well know it. . . . 
Who, then, could refuse to believe me, and believe in the 
truth ? . . . The most powerful interests enchained 
me to my religion, and consequently all should be con- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 211 

vinced that a man who sacrifices everything to a profound 
conviction must sacrifice to a celestial light, which has 
revealed itself by incontrovertible evidence. What I 
have affirmed is true. I know it, I feel it; and what 
could be my object in thus betraying the truth and 
turning aside from religion by a sacrilegious lie ? . . . 
I have not said too much; my words must carry convic- 
tion.^' 

The Baron De Bussiere had the consolation of enter- 
taining at his own home the new son Heaven had given 
him; the young Jew remained there until the retreat 
preceding his baptism. It was right and just, indeed, 
that this friend should gather the first bloom of a heart 
refreshed by the dew of grace, that he should be the 
happy witness of the wonders wrought in that soul 
. . . M. Eatisbonne himself had need of a confidant, 
some one that understood him thoroughly, and to whom 
he could communicate the emotions of his heart . . . 
It was in moments of sweet intimacy, when alone with 
his friend, that he could give full vent to his feelings, 
and, in unison with him, admire the loving designs of 
divine Providence, and the means that had dissipated 
such deplorable errors. He bewailed the blindness in 
which he had lived ! . . . '^ Alas ! " said he, " when 
my excellent brother embraced Catholicity, and after- 
wards entered into the ecclesiastical state, I, of all his 
relatives, was his most unrelenting persecutor. 
I could not forgive his desertion* of our religion — we 
were at variance, at least; I detested him, though he had 
none but the kindest thoughts for me. . . . However, 
at the time of my betrothal, I said to myself that I must 
be reconciled to my brother, and I wrote him a few cold 
lines, to which he replied by a letter full of charity and 



212 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

tenderness. . . . One of my little nephews died 
about eighteen months ago. My good brother, having 
learned that he was seriously ill, asked as a personal 
favor that the child be baptized before its death, adding, 
with great delicacy, that to us it would be a matter of 
indifference, whilst to himself it would be a veritable 
happiness, and he hoped we would not refuse. I was 
infuriated at such a request ! 

" I hope, oh ! yes, I hope that my God will send me 
severe trials, which may redound to His honor and 
glory, and convince all that I am actuated by con- 
science." . . . What generosity of heart ! What 
knowledge! His eyes are scarcely opened to the 
truths of Catholicit}^, ere he embraces them in their 
full extent. ... He knows already that the cross is 
the distinctive mark of the children of the Church, of 
God's elect, and this cross which so many Christians 
drag reluctantly after them, he greets, he awaits, he 
desires. . . . Moreover, it had been shown to him in 
a\ery mysterious manner ; for he relates that the night 
preceding his conversion there was constantly before his 
eyes a large cross without the Christ, that the sight 
really fatigued him, although he considered it of no 
importance. "I made," said he, ^-incredible efforts to 
banish this image, but in vain. It was only later, when 
having, by chance, seen the reverse of the Miraculous 
Medal, he recognized the exact sign which had strnck 
him. 

Divine Providence, looking with a loving eye upon 
this young convert, directed his steps, and in these early 
days of his conversion, led him to a venerable Father 
who was to give him very precious counsel, upon the life 
of abnegation and perpetual sacrifice he had embraced. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 213 

This servant of the Lord, immediately lay before him 
the importance of the step he had taken, the trials 
awaiting him, the temptation that would most assuredly 
beset his path, and without fearing to shake his con- 
stancy, he read him a few verses of the second chapter 
of Ecclesiasticus, upon the trials testing the virtufe of 
the true servant and friend of God. With pleasure we 
quote here a part of this good priest's instructions: 

" My son, when thou comest to the service of God, 
stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for 
temptation. Humble thy heart and endure ; incline thy 
ear, and receive the words of understanding; and make 
not haste in the time of clouds. Wait on God with 
patience; join thyself to God and endure, that thy life 
may be increased in the latter end. Take all that shall 
be brought upon thee ; and in thy sorrow endure, and in 
thy humiliation keep patience. For gold and silver are 
tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of 
humiliation. Believe God, and He will recover thee ; 
and direct thy way, and trust in Him. Keep His fear, 
and grow old therein." 

M. Eatisbonne listened in respectful silence to these 
words of life; he cherished the remembrance of them, 
and the eve of his baptism, he asked the Eeverend Father 
to pub them in writing that he might meditate upon 
them the rest of his days. ... It was accomplished, 
the joys of earth were sacrificed to the glory of bearing 
the cross of Jesus Christ. . . . He was initiated 
into heavenly secrets by reason of those favors the Imma- 
culate Mary had conferred upon him. . . . He 
already felt the strength that God communicates to the 
soul, resolved to share the sorrows of its divine Master. 

Ten days elapsed between the happy moment of the 



214 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

young Israelite's sudden comprehension of the truth, 
and his baptism. The Mother of Mercy had brought 
him from Heaven, the torch of Faith; in enlightening 
his intelligence, she had touched his heart; he sighed 
after the happy day, when the Church would admit him 
among the number of her children, and it was on the 
31st of January, this tender Mother opened to him all 
her treasures, clothed him with innocence, called down 
upon him the plenitude of the gifts of the Spirit of love, 
and invited him to the banquet of Angels that she might 
give him the Bread of life. 

The Gesu was the church selected for this solemn 
ceremony. Long before the appointed hour, it was filled 
with a devout, eager multitude, all anxious to get as 
near as possible to the holy altar. Nothing disturbed 
the beauty or serenity of the occasion, no cloud dimmed 
the brightness of this heavenly festival, which inundated 
truly Christian hearts with the purest joys. 

M. Ratisbonne, clothed in the white robe of the cate- 
chumen, appeared about half-past eight, accompanied by 
the Reverend Father Villefort, (whose consoling duty it 
had been to prepare the neophyte for this beautiful day), 
and the Baron De Bussiere, his god-father. They con- 
ducted him into the chapel of St. Andrew, where the 
touching ceremony was to take place. An object of the 
most profound curiosit}^, the fervent neophyte, wrapt in 
recollection, awaited with angelic serenity, the solemn 
moment. . . . The pious Romans gave vent to their 
feelings by words and gestures, kissing their chaplets in 
an effusion of grateful love for Mary Immaculate, the 
cause of our joy. . . . They pointed out one to 
another the zealous baron, whom divine Providence had 
chosen to give the Miraculous Medal to the young 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 215 

Israelite. " He is a Frenchman," they repeated, " He 
is a Frenchman ! Blessed be God I " 

His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar, Avas to receive M. 
Ratisbonne's profession of Faith. He appeared at nine, 
clothed in his poatifical robes, and commenced the 
prayers prescribed for the baptism of adults. 

The prayers terminated, His Eminence went in pro- 
cession with the clergy to the foot of the church ; the 
young Israelite was conducted to his presence. " What 
do you ask of the Church of God ?" " Faith,'' was the 
immediate answer. " What name do you wish ? " 
'' Mary," said the neophyte, in a tone of tender grati- 
tude ; Mary, who had opened to him the path of salva- 
tion; Mary, who was to conduct him into the new life; 
Mary, who will one day introduce him into the City of 
the Saints, whence she descended to lead him to the 
divine fold. . . . Then followed his profession of 
Faith, his solemn promises. ... He believes all, he 
promises all, he accepts all, he wishes to be a Christian, 
he is already one at heart. . . . His desires are 
gratified, the vivifying waters are poured upon his head, 
the grace of holy baptism has invested him with all the 
rights of his eternal heritage, the spirit of darkness is 
confounded. Behold the child of God, the brother of 
Jesus Christ, the new sanctuary of the Spirit of love, 
the favorite of the Queen of Heaven, the friend of 
Angels and the well-beloved son of Mother Church ! 

It was on this occasion that the Abbe Dupanloup, who 
happened to be in Eome at the time, celebrated before 
an immense audience the infinite mercies of God and 
the Immaculate Mary's miraculous protection of a child 
of France. We cannot refrain from inserting here a few 
fragments of the account printed at Rome. It is well 
calculated to increase devotion to Mary : 



216 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

'' How admirable are the thoughts and ways of divine 
Proyidence, and how deplorable the lot of those who 
neither comprehend nor bless them. For such, the life 
of man is only a sad mystery, his days a fatal series of 
events, man himself a noble but miserable creature, cast 
far from Heaven upon this land of tears, to live here in 
perpetual darkness, to die in despair, oblivious of a God 
who heeds neither his virtues nor his sorrows. 
But, no ; Lord, Thou art not forgetful of us, and life is 
not thus ; despite our infinite misery, thy Providence 
watches over us, it is far above the heavens; more bound- 
less than the sea— it is an abyss of power, wisdom and 

" Thou hast made us for Thyself, Lord, and our hearts 
are never at rest until they repose in Thee ! We feel an 
insatiable need, which stirs the depths of our being, 
which consumes us, and when we yield to it, we inevita- 
bly find Thee : 

" I bless Thee especially, I adore Thee, when from the 
depths of Thy eternity. Thou dost remember compas- 
sionately the lowliness of our being, the dust of which 
we are fashioned; when from the heights of heaven, 
Thou dost cast a glance of pity and love upon the most 
humble of Thy children; Avhen, according to the 
Prophet's expression, ' Thou dcst move heaven and 
earth,' and work innumerable marvels to save those who 
are dear to Thee, to conquer one soul ! 

"0, you, upon whom, at this moment, all eyes are 
bent Avith inexpressible emotion, with the tenderest love ; 
for it is God, it is His mercy we love in you, in you 
whose presence in this holy place ins^Dires these thoughts, 
tell us yourself what were your thoughts and ways, by 
what secret mercy the Lord pursued and reclaimed you ? 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 217 

For who are you ? What do yon seek in this sanc- 
tuary ? What are these honors you seem to bear ? What 
is this white robe in which I see you clothed ? Tell us 
whence you came and whither you were going ? What 
obstacle has suddenly changed your course ? For walk- 
ing in the footsteps of Abraham, your ancestor, whose 
blessed son you are this day, like him, blindly obedient 
to the voice of God, not knowing whither your journey 
tends, you suddenly find yourself in the Holy City 
. . . The Lord's work was not yet accomplished ; 
but it is for you to describe to us the rising of the Sun 
of truth and justice upon your soul, for you to picture 
its brilliant aurora. . . . Tell us why you enjoy, like 
ourselves, perhaps more keenly than ourselves, the good 
word, the virtues of the future and all our most blessed 
hopes. . . . Tell us, for we have the right to know, 
why you enter into possession of our goods as your 
heritage ? Who has introduced you among us, for yes- 
terday we knew you not, or rather we knew you. . . . 
Oh ! yes, I shall tell all ; I know the joy that will fill 
your heart at my revealing your miseries as well as the 
celestial mercies. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

''You did not love the truth, but the truth loved 
you. To the purest and most ardent eff'orts of a zeal 
that sought to enlighten you, did you oppose a dis- 
dainful smile, an indifiTerent silence, a subtle response, a 
haughty firmness, and sometimes blasphemous pleasan- 
tries. patient God ! God, who lovest us in spite 
of our miseries I Thy mercy has oftentimes a depth, 
a sublimity, a tenderness and, allow me to say it, a 
power and delicacy that are infinite ! 

"Suddenly a rumor is circulated throughout the Holy 
City, a rumor that consoles all Christian hearts, he who 

19 



218 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

blasphemed yesterday, who this morning even ridiculed 
the friends of God, has become a disciple of Christ; 
celestial grace has touched his lips, he utters now only 
words of benediction and sweetness, the most vivid 
lights of the evangelical law seem to beam from his 
eyes; we may say that a celestial unction has taught 
him all things. Whence does he receive this enlighten- 
ment of the eyes of the heart, that heart which sees all, 
which has understood all? God! Thou art good, 
infinitely goo ], and I love to repeat those sweet words, 
so lately on the blessed lips of him, whose memory is 
henceforth ineffaceably impressed upon our hearts. We 
wept over him a few days ago, we still regret him, but 
we have dried our tears. ^ Yes, Thou art good, and the 
children of men have truly called Thee the good God!' 
(Last words of M. de La Ferronays.) Thou dost set 
aside the laws of nature, Thou dost account nothing too 
much to save Thy children ! When Thou dost not come 
Thyself, Thou dost send Thy angels! ... God! 
shall I here relate all ? I ought to enjoin reserve upon 
my speech. . . . But who is she? Qum est ista'^ I 
cunnot say the word, and yet I cannot be silent. 

''Hail Mary! You are full of grace; Ave, gratia 
plena, and from the plentitude of your maternal heart, 
you love to bestow your gifts upon us. The Lord is 
with you, Dominus tecum, and it is through you He is 
pleased to descend to us! And now to praise you 
worthily, I must borrow the images of Heaven or speak 
the inflamed language of the prophets! For, Mary! 
your name is sweeter than the purest joys, more delight- 
ful than the most exquisite perfumes, more charming 
than the harmony of angels, in corde jiiiihis; more 
refreshing to the faithful heart than honeycomb to the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 219 

wearied traveler, mel in lingua ; more encouraging and 
cheering to the guilty but repentant heart than the 
evening dew to the leaves parched and shriveled by the 
mid-day sun, ros iJi lieria. You are beautiful as the orb 
of nighfc, pulchra itt luna; you, who guide the bewil- 
dered traveler; you are brilliant as the aurora, aurora 
eonsurge7is ; fair and pure as the morning star, stella 
matutina; and it is you who precede the dawn of the 
Sun of Justice in our hearts. 

"0 Mary! I can never portray all your loveliness and 
grandeur, and it is my joy to succumb beneath the 
weight of so much glory!* But since I speak in the 
midst of your child i-en, your children who are my 
brothers, I shall continue to proclaim your praises from 
the depths of my heart's affection. ... At your name, 
Mary, Heaven rejoices, earth quivers with joy, hell 
fumes with impotent rage. . . . ls"o, there is no 
creature so sublime or so humble, that invoking you, 
will perish. Those august basilicas, erected by the 
piety of mighty nations, those golden characters, those 
rich banners worked by royal hands, likewise the modest 
offerings of the sailor in your lowly chapels, in the 
crevices of the rock, on the shores of the sea, or even 
your humble picture which martyr's hands have traced 
upon the catacombs, all attest your power in appeasing 
the tempests of divine wrath, and attracting upon us 
heavenly benedictions. 

"0 Mary, I have seen the most savage wilds of nature 
smile at your name and blossom into beauty; the pious 
inhabitants of the deserts celebrate your glory, the 
mountain echoes, the torrent billows, vie with one 
another in repeating your praises. I have seen great 
cities bring forth and cherish, under the shadow of your 



220 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

name, the purest and most noble virtues. I have seen 
youth, with generous impulse, confident ardor, and the 
inexpressible charm of virtue irradiating its countenances- 
prefer your name and the happiness of celebrating your 
festivals to all the enchantments of the world and its' 
most brilliant destinies ! I have seen old men, after a 
godless life of sixty or erghty years, rise upon their 
couch of pain, to remember at the sound of your name- 
the God who had blessed their early infancy; you were 
to them as a pledge of security and of peaceful entrance 
into the Eternal City! Mary, who are you then? 
Qii(B est ista .^ You are the Mother of our Saviour, and 
Jesus, the fruit of your womb, is the God blessed from 
all eternity. You are our Sister, soror nostra es ; though 
a child of Adam like ourselves, you have not participated 
in our sad heritage, and our woes excite your deepest 
and most tender compassion. 

"0 Mary! you are the masterpiece of the Divine 
powder ! You are the most touching invention of God's 
goodness! I could not say more — you are the sweetest 
smile of His mercy! God, give eyes to those who 
have them not — eyes that they may see Mary and under- 
stand the beautiful light of her maternal glance; and to 
those who have no heart give one, that they may love 
Mary; for from Mary to the Word Eternal, to the Beauty 
ever ancient and ever new, to that uncreated Light 
which strengthens the feeble sight and appeases every 
desire of our souls, from Mary to Jesus, from the Mother 
to the Son, there is but a step! ^ ^ ^ ^ 

'' Our dearly beloved brother — and I am happy to be 
the first to call you thus — behold under what favorable 
auspices you enter this new Jerusalem, the tabernacle of 
the Lord, ^the Church of the living God, which is the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 221 

pillar and ground of truth.' But before delivering 
your heart to these emotions of joy, there is one severe 
lesson it should learn this day; and smce I am destined 
to be the first to announce to you the words of the 
Gospel, I shall conceal from you nothing of the austerity 
it inculcates. ^ You have understood all,' you say; but 
let me ask if you have understood the mystery of 
the cross. Ah I be careful, for it is the foundation of 
Christianity. I speak now not only of that blessed 
cross which j-ou lovingly adore, because it places before 
your eyes Jesus crucified in expiation of your sins, but 
borrowing the emphatic language of an ancient apologist 
of our Faith, I shall say to you : ' This is no question of the 
cross that is sweet for you to adore, but of the cross to which 
you must soon submit.' Ecce cruces jam non adorandm, 
sed siiheimdcB, Behold what you must understand if 
you are a Christian and what baptism must disclose to 
you ! . . . Moreover, in vain Avould I endeavor to 
dissimulate the truth, by saying that your future may 
reveal no crosses; I see them in store for you. No doubt, 
we must venerate them afar off, but it is infinitely better 
to bend beneath their weight when laid upon us, and 
courageously carry them. I shall be mistaken, if the 
evangelic virtues are not increased and fortified in your 
soul by patience. And blessed be God for it! You 
have been introduced into Christianity through Mary 
and the Cross! ... It is an admirable mode of 
introduction ! And again I repeat, blessed be God for 
it ! For I say to you, He has given you ears to hear and 
a heart to feel this language! Son of the Catholic 
Church you will share your Mother's destiny ! Look at 
Eome, Eome where you have just been born into the 
Church ; her heritage here below, is always to combat 

19* 



222 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and always to triumph. Moreover, nothing astonishes 
her; and after eighteen centuries of combats anil 
victories, it is here, in the centre of Catholic unity, at 
the foot of the Apostolic See, that focus whence daily 
emanate the most yivid and purest rays of Faith, pierc- 
ing the shades of paganism, error and Judaism, that the 
Church has poured over your forehead the beneficent 
water of celestial regeneration. What do I say ? It is 
Peter himself, the Moses of the new law, worthily repre- 
sented by the first Vicar of his august Successor, who has 
struck for you the mysterious rock, the immovable stone. 
Petra erat Christus, whence gush forth those waters 
springing up unto eternal life. 

'- But I have said enough ; I retard your happiness. 
Heaven, at this moment, regards you with love, the 
earth blesses you and Jesus Christ awaits you; go 
forward then ; angels have commenced the feast, and 
the friends of God continue it with you here below ! 
And even he who seems dead in our eyes, and whose 
heart is living in the hand of the Lord ! you know him, 
his supplications and prayers have been poured forth in 
your behalf; the solemn moment has now arrived! 
Abraham, Isaac, Israel, the patriarchs and prophets 
from their heavenly abode encourage you, and Moses 
blesses you, because the law in your heart has developed 
into the Gospel ; mercy and truth sustain you, justice 
and peace attend you, repentance and innocence crown 
you. . . . And finally, it is Mary who receives and 
protects you ! 

" Mary ! it is a necessity and a duty for us to repeat 
once more this prayer, this cherished prayer, and I know 
that not one of all the multitude here assembled, but 
will fervently repeat it with me : ' Kemember, most 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 223 

pious Virgin Mary, that no one ever had recourse to thy 
protection, implored thy aid or sought thy mediation, 
without obtaining relief. Groaning under the weight of 
our sins, Ave come, Virgin of virgins, to cast ourselves 
in thy arms, and do most humbly supplicate thee. 
Mother of the Eternal Word, to remember the just, 
remember sinners, remember those who know thee, and 
those who know thee not ; remember our woes and thy 
mercy.' I shall not say remember this young man, for 
he is thy child, the sweet and glorious conquest of thy 
love, but I shall say, remember all those dear ones for 
whom he offers this day, the first prayers of his Catholic 
heart; restore them to him in time and eternity. ^ ^ ^ 
"And since I am a stranger here (no, let me recall my 
words, no one is a stranger in Home, every Catholic is a 
Eoman), but since we were both born on the soil of 
France, I think my prayers find an echo in the hearts of 
all who hear me, when I say : remember France, she is 
still the home of noble virtues, generous souls, heroic 
love. . . . Kestore to the Church in France her 
pristine beauty.'^ 

The Holy Sacrifice terminated the imposing ceremony. 
Our new Christian, overwhelmed beneatli the weight of 
so many favors, had to be assisted to the Holy Table^ 
where he received the Bread of Angels as the seal of hi& 
celestial alliance. Inundated with happiness, the tears 
gushed from his eyes, and after receiying, it was neces- 
sary to assist him to his place. ... A number of 
pious Christians participated in the divine banquet, to 
which the Church so tenderly invites all her happy 
children, and the admirable spectacle of a blessed union 
with their new brother, was another edifying episode of 
this memorable day. 



224 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

The Te Deumv^hioXi followed, that most fervent hymn 
of gratitude, arising from every heart and mingling with 
the sonnd of all the bells, was not less impressive. " I 
pray God," wrote a witness of this ceremony, '^ never to 
let the memory of what I experienced during these three 
hours be effaced from my heart; such an impression is, 
beyond doubt, one of the most precious graces a Chris- 
tian soul can ever receive." 

Clothed with innocence, enriched with the gifts of 
Heaven, admitted to its joys, buried in the sweet trans- 
ports of gratitude and love, M. Eatisbonne could not 
relinquish immediately his dear solitude. He had made 
one retreat, as a preparation for the reception of these 
three grand Sacraments, and he was filled wuth ineffable 
consolation ; feeling now the necessity, tlie imperative 
duty of returning thanks to his Benefactor, he wished to 
commence a second retreat, so that afar from the world, 
he might be deaf to the confused noises of its frivolous 
joys, and amidst the silence of a sweet peace, celebrate 
the Lord's magnificence, chant hymns of gratitude, taste 
in secret and at leisure the gifts which had b3en 
imparted to him, and the new treasures he possessed. 

Another grand consolation was in store for him. He 
sighed after the happy moment when he could prostrate 
himself at the feet of the Sovereign Pontiff, and there 
testify his submission to and love lor that holy Church 
who had just admitted him into the number of her 
cherished children. An audience was granted him. 
The two friends, M. Eatisbonne and the Baron de Bus- 
siere, were conducted into the presence of His Holiness 
by the reverend Father General of the Society of Jesus. 
Having bent the knee thre? times before the Vicar of 
Jesus Christ, they received in unison, that holy and 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 225 

desirable benediction, which many pious Christians 
esteem themselves happy in obtaining, after long and 
wearisome journeys. They were welcomed with truly 
paternal tenderness by the venerable Pontiff, who con- 
versed some time with them, and loaded them with 
tokens of his favor. M. Eatisbonne knew not how to 
express his admiration for the great simplicity, humility 
and goodness of this worthy Successor of the Prince of the 
Apostles. "He was so exceedingly kind," has M. Eatis- 
bonne told me several times since, " as to take us into 
his chamber, where he showed me near his bed, a mag- 
nificent picture of my dear medal, a picture for which 
he has the greatest devotion. I had procured quite a 
number of Miraculous Medals. His Holiness cheerfully 
blessed them for me, and these are the weapons I shall 
use in conquering souls for Jesus Christ and Mary." 

The Holy Father crowns all his favors, by presenting 
M. Eatisbonne a crucifix, a precious souvenir Avhich the 
young Christian will ever cherish, clinging to it in his 
combats and his sorrows, as a weapon that must assure 
him the victory over hell. A new soldier of Jesus 
Christ, he needs no other arms than the cross and Mary 
Immaculate, signal protectors that will guide him in 
the ways of justice, and one day, usher him into the 
light of eternal felicity. 

Shortly after his second retreat, M. Eatisbonne made 
preparations for his return to France, and bade adieu to 
the Holy City, though not without the sweet hope of 
again offering there his tribute of fervent thanksgiving. 
We have seen and conversed with him many times. The 
first emotions of a boundless and almost unparalled 
happiness are past, but the fruits remain; daily does the 
precious gift of Faith strike deeper root into this soul 



226 THE MIEACULOUS MEDAL. 

regenerated by the waters of holy Baptism; and the 
divine life, which was communicated to him on the day 
of his baptism^ our new brother nourishes by the 
frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, and a with- 
drawal from all worldly society; for whilst awaiting the 
manifestations of the Lord's will in regard to his future, 
he feels the necessity of preserving, in the secrecy of a 
peaceful and recollected life, the treasures he has 
received. . 

M. Eatisbonne's conversion, publicly styled a miracle, 
excited too much interest and comment for the Holy 
See to allow it to pass unnoticed. The Sovereign Pon- 
tiff ordered a canonical examination according to the 
rules of the Church. The Cardinal Vicar prescribed an 
investigation. Nine witnesses were examined; all the 
circumstances Aveighed, and after a favorable conclusion, 
the most eminent Cardinal Patrizzi, "pronounced and 
declared the 3d of June, 1842, that the instantaneous 
and perfect conversion of Alphonse Marie Katisbonne, 
from Judaism to Catholicity, was a true and incontrover- 
tible miracle, wrought by the most blessed and powerful 
God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary. For the greater glory of God and the increase of 
devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Eminence 
deigns to permit the account of this signal miracle, not 
only to be printed and published but also authorized." — 
A picture commemorative of the apparition of the 
Blessed Virgin to M. Ratisbonne, a representation of the 
Virgin of the medal, was placed in the chapel of 
St. Andrew's Church, Avhere the miracle had taken 
place. 

A few days after his return to France, M. Ratisbonne, 
in token of his gratitude, and with the intention of 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 227 

obtaining his family's conversion, felt urged to erect a 
chapel under the invocation of Mary Immaculate, in the 
Providence orphanage of the Faubourg St. Germain, 
Paris. The laying of the corner stone took place May 
1st, 1842, and the sanctuary was finished and dedicated 
May 1st, 1844, with great solemnity, in the presence of 
the founder of the house, M. Desgenettes, cure of Kotre 
Dame des Victoires, the Baron de Bussiere, M. Etienne, 
Superior General of the Priests of the Mission and 
daughters of Charity, M. Eugene Bore, then a simple 
layman, but afterwards M. Etienne's immediate suc- 
cessor, the abbe de Bonnechose, later an Archbishop and 
Cardinal, and m:;ny other distinguished persons. 

The pious convert often repaired to this sanctuary to 
mingle his prayers with those of the Daughters of 
Charity and their dear orphans; and many times has 
he also enjoyed the ineffable consolation of celebrating 
the Holy Sacrifice and thanking his celestial Benefac- 
tress, before the beautiful picture of the Immaculate 
Conception placed above the high altar, as a souvenir of 
the miracle of St. Andrew delle Fratte, for M, Eatis- 
bonne is now a priest. K"ot content with leading a pious 
life in the world, he has renounced forever the joys and 
hopes of time to embrace the ecclesiastical state, w^hich 
consecrated him unreservedly to God. For several 
years past he has been associated with his l^eloved 
brother Theodore in the order of Our Lady of Sion, 
the object of which congregation is the conversion of 
Israelites. 



228 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



V. 

Graces OMamed from ISJ^S to 1877, in France, Germany^ 

Italy, America, 

CURE OF A LITTLE GIRL (PARIS) — 1843. 

This account was sent iis in the month of January, 
1877, by the very person who was cured : 

"About the 15th of December, 1843, a little girl, 
Zenobie de M., just one year old, was attacked, at the 
same time, by water on the chest, a disease of the bowels, 
and cerebral congestion. Dr. Flandrin, a friend of the 
family was called in immediately, and gave the child 
every attention, but his skill was powerless, and the 
family was plunged in the deepest grief. The child's 
eldest sister alone cherished a faint hope in the depths 
of her heart ; she had intended consecrating herself to 
God in a religious state, and had always regarded the 
birth of this little one as a gift of Providence, sent to 
take her place in the family, and console her afflicted 
parents. God will not, she thought, take back the 
child. In her room was a picture representing the appa- 
rition of the Miraculous Medal; she knelt before it, 
begging the child's recovery, and renewing her promises 
of embracing a religious life should the petition be 
granted. This generous offering she kept a secret. A 
little while after, the doctor came and declared the child's 
case hopeless, and moreover, its recovery not desirable as 
it would remain imbecile, paralyzed or blind. He pro- 
posed, however, a consultation with M. Blache, physician 
of the Necker hospital, who prescribed energetic treat- 
ment, but said, ' this child cannot live.' 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 229 

The poor mother, deeming it inadvisable to cause the 
little creature unnecessary suffering, gently laid it in the 
cradle, saying with the faith and resignation seen in 
none but a Christian mother : * The Lord gave it to me, 
the Lord wishes to take it away, may His holy will be 
accomplished ! ' In the afternoon, one of the aunts came 
to accompany the elder sister to church, and whilst their 
prayers ascended to the Most High, more for the mother 
than the child, this mother obeys spontaneously a super- 
natural impulse, and taking the Miraculous Medal as a 
last hope, she applies it to the body of the child, and 
repeats with confiJence the invocation: '0 Mary! con- 
ceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to 
thee!^ The plaintive cries ceased, and Avhen M. Flan- 
drin came that evening to see if the little one were 
still alive, he was greatly surprised to perceive a faint 
improvement since morning, the Avhole body covered 
with a gentle perspiration, and the little paralyzed arm 
able to move in any direction. ' But what a pity,' said 
he, ' the child will be blind,' which indeed it seemed to 
be already, as a light passed several times before its 
eyes produced no effect whatever. 

" The mother who had not yet mentioned her secret, 
waited until all had left the room, then taking her dear 
medal, she lay it upon her infant's eyes and repeated the 
invocation. After a sound sleep of about twenty-four 
hours, little Zenobie awoke, recognizing all around her, 
and smiling upon all, her sight was restored ! 

" The child's father, penetrated with faith and piety, 
said: ^Assuredly, God alone has restored our child to 
us ; henceforth, she shall be called Marie, that she may 
ever bear in mind to whom she is indebted for life.' An 
attack of measles now supervened and finished the work, 

20 



230 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

according to the doctor, by absorbing the water on the 
brain, and throwing out npon the surface of the skin 
the heretofore internal malady. A small gold cross, 
having engraven upon it the memorable date of this 
miraculous cure, Avas hung around the neck of little 
Marie, Avho is now a Daughter of St. Vincent de Paul.'' 



C0l!^YERSI0X OF A CAPTAIN IK THE AUSTRIAJST ARMY. 

Letter from the Superioress of the Daughters- of 
Charity, at the Hospital of Gratz (Austria), 1860 : 

After the war in Italy, a Polish regiment passed 
through Gratz ; the captain, attacked by a violent hem- 
orrhage, was obliged to stop at the general hospital, in 
charge of the Daughters of Charity. Their constant 
and unremitting attentions did not retard the progress 
of the disease, and his life was in imminent danger. 

Full of consideration, gratitude and politeness for 
those who nursed him, he nevertheless expressed great 
displeasure whenever they approached him on the sub- 
ject of religion ; he had requested to be spared the visits 
of the chaplain of the regiment, and as to the hospital 
chaplain, he dared not present himself. It was necessary 
to keep the patient very quiet, and avoid all worry, for 
the least excitement might cause a mortal hemorrhage. 

A Sister, who had been watching by his couch one 
night, left, in mistake, a little book containing an account 
of favors obtained through the Blessed Virgin's inter- 
cession. The sick man took the book and read a few 
pages ; another Sister coming into his room, he showed 
her a passage, and said, putting his hand to his forehead 
with a significant gesture : " Here, Sister, just read this 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 231 

nonsense ; as for myself, I cannot understand how any 
one can write such books — if I may dare, let me beg you 
to take this away." 

Vain was every effort to reach his heart by pleasant 
distractions, by engaging his attention or his interest ; 
he was insensible to all. A few days after the occurrence 
just mentioned, a Sister ventured to offer him a medal of 
the Blessed Virgin suspended to a cord, so that he might 
wear it if he wished. He was too polite to refuse the 
present, but he let it remain just where the Sister had 
put it. His servant, though a devout Christian, dared 
not speak to him of receiving the Sacraments, and, 
although the patient expected to leave the hospital soon, 
it was very evident to all else that the fever w^as daily 
sapping his strength and rapidly conducting him to the 
tomb. Much grieved at his condition, and especially his 
impenitence, the Sisters determined to make one last 
effort to save this soul. And what was it ? They wrote 
the Blessed Virgin a note, as follows : " Grant that, by 
some means, most holy Mother, he may accept your 
medal, prepare him yourself to receive the Sacraments, 
and assist him at the hour of death. Mary! con- 
ceived without sin, pardon our temerity, we attach this 
note to your statue, and leave it there till you deign to 
hear our prayers." 

The chief physician of the hospital said, one day, to 
the Sister on leaving this patient's room : '' The captain 
will die without the Sacraments, he seems inflexible." 
^^Oh! as to that," she replied, "the Blessed Virgin will 
not fail to overcome his obstinacy." Three or four days 
elapsed ; one morning the sick man requested the Sister 
to put the medal around his neck, which she did 
most joyfully. In the afternoon, he called her again : 



332 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

" Sister," said he, '' I beg yon to send for the chaplain 
of my regiment to hear my confession, so that to-morrow 
I may receive the Holy Encharist and Extreme 
Unction." The Avorthy priest was happy to answer the 
summons; he remained a long time with the sick man, 
and next morning, after celebrating Mass at the altar of 
the Immaculate Conception, he administered to him the 
Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction. We were all 
edified at the dying man's piety. He cherished his 
medal with religious fidelity, often asking for it and 
kissing it tenderly. A few days after reeeiying the Last 
Sacraments, he rendered his soul to God, saved, as we 
have every reason to hope, by the intercession of Mary 
conceived without sin. 



CONYERSIOi^ OF A HARDENED SINNER. 

A letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of 
Charity at Issoudun, 1862: 

In the month of August, 1862, a 3'oung man aged 
twenty-nine, and Avho had been married several years, 
was dying of consumption. Vainly did his friends 
endeavor to turn his thoughts to eternity ; every idea of 
religion seemed extinguished in his heart, and he posi- 
tively refused to see the priest. A pious acquaintance 
informed the Sisters of his deplorable state ; one of them 
went immediately to see him. She met with a cool 
reception, but was not the least disconcerted, and spoke to 
him very kindly, proposing to send him a physician, and 
adding, that she would supply all necessary medicines 
and nourishment. ^^I need neither doctors nor medi- 
cinces,^' was the reply, " I am going to die, and I ask 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 233 

only that you will let me die in peace." His poor wife, 
who was present, holding their little child in her arms, 
said to him with tears: "Accept Sister's offer, and 
perhaps yon will recover,^* but he made no answer; and 
the Sister now turning to his wife, endeavored to console 
her, by promising to send the doctor and return soon 
herself. The doctor came and met with no better recep- 
tion. In a few days the Sister presented herself again, 
and was received as before, all her advances eliciting no 
response save a frigid silence; but naught discouraged, 
she returned day after day, though her reception was 
always the same. As the young man grew worse, the 
Sister's prayers increased, and she felt inspired to offer 
him a medal of the Immaculate Conception, still hoping 
that the good God would lead back to the fold, this 
poor strayed sheep. " I accept a medal ! " he exclaimed 
vehemently, "and what do you wish me to do with it? 
It would suit my wife or child well enough, but as for 
myself, I want no medals !'' The Sister withdrew from 
the contest for the time, but not discouraged, she returned 
to the charge next morning. "Ah," said she pleasantly, 
"you are going to take the medal to-day?" "You know 
what Itold you yesterday," he answered, "besides. Sister, 
I am afraid ol* becoming imbued with your sentiments 
should I accept it, for I perceive that you are much more 
unhappy than I care about being." A ray of happiness 
illumined the Sister's countenance, for she knew that he 
who fears is already conquered. After plying her with 
questions about religion, he concluded thus: "After all, 
death will be a great relief to me; I have twice made an 
unsuccessful attempt at committing suicide. I suffer so 
much that I desire nothing but to die as soon possible." 
Next day, the Sister asked her Superioress to visit him 



234: THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and offer him the medal. She did so, and he not only 
accepted it, but at last consented to see the priest. 
When our Sister next saw him he was completely- 
changed, and expressed his joy at the priest's visit, and 
his desire of seeing him soon again. " Sister," said he, 
" I am too miserable, I wish to be like you." The priest 
did not delay his second coming, and the poor, suffering 
creature, having made his confession, asked for Holy 
Communion, which he had not received for many years, 
but this favor was denied him, his throat being so 
inflamed that he could swallow only a few drops of 
liquid. His last days were sanctified by the most 
admirable resignation; no one ever heard him utter a 
complaint, he asked for one thing only, the visits of the 
priest and Sister, which alone seemed to afford him any- 
consolation. And on the Feast of All Saints, evincing 
every mark of a sincere conversion, he breathed his last. 



CONVERSION OF A MALEFACTOR. 

A Letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of 
Charity, at the Hospital of Beuthen (Prussian Poland) — 
1865: 

There was brought to our hospital, a young man of 
notoriously bad character. He entered our doors blas- 
pheming, and as the physician had told the Sister that 
he had but a few days to live, she essayed a few words of 
piety and consolation, to turn his attention to the state 
of his soul; but he answered her by maledictions. At 
last, one day she said to him, " My friend, since you will 
not listen to me, I will ask my Superioress herself to 
come." " Let her come," was his reply, "if she were to 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 235 

tell me to hang myself, I would obey her, but as for 
confession, she may talk about that as much as she 
pleases, I shall never yield." These words were followed 
by so many blasphemies, that it was Avith a very heavy 
heart the poor >?ister sought her Superioress. "Have 
you given him a medal?'' said the latter. "A medal ! " 
was the reply, "he would throw it away.'' "Ah, well, 
we must put one -under his pillow and trust to prayer, 
for it is useless to talk to him ; tell him only that I say 
he is not worthy of going to confession, and I forbid his 
doing so." 

As soon as the Sister who was nursing him left the 
presence of her Superioress, the latter threw herself 
upon her knees and began to repeat that beautiful 
prayer, the Rememler. In a very few minutes the 
Sister returned, this time shedding tears of joy. "Ah, 
Sister," said she, " he wishes to confess ; as soon as I had 
put the medal under his pillow and recited the Remem- 
ier for him, I delivered your message." " Indeed ! " said 
he, rising from his seat, " Well, I would just like to see the 
person that could prevent it; tell your Superioress that 
to-morrow morning at eight o'clock, I am going to pay 
the cure a visit." 

The Sisters felt a little troubled concerning a confes- 
sion apparently dictated by the spirit of contradiction, 
but their fears were dissipated when the penitent returned 
bathed in tears. He had just been to Holy Communion ; 
asking the Sisters' pardon for his past misconduct, he 
begged them to implore the Blessed Virgin to let him 
live eight days longer, that he might weep for his sins. 
This favor was granted him, and daily did he bedew his 
pillow with tears. At the end of the eight days he died, 
blessing God, and pressing the medal to his lips. 



236 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



COKYERSION^ OF AlSr ACTRESS. 

A letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of 
Charity, at the Hospital of Beuthen (Prussian Poland), 
1865 : 

Some years ago, a young Protestant woman, belonging 
to a troupe of comedians, arrived in Beuthen with her 
company. The good God permitted t^at she should find 
lodgings in a Catholic family, with whom she soon 
essayed a controversy. '' Mademoiselle," said the master 
of the house, " it would be better for you to go see the 
Sisters about these things; the Blessed Virgin has 
wrought wonders in their establishments, I am sure you 
would return fully enlightened on the subject you have 
been discussing." The young girl laughed at such a 
proposition ; but a few days after, impelled by curiosity, 
she repaired to the hospital and asked for the Sister- 
Servant. ^'Invite her in," said the latter, who had 
already heard of the young actress; "no doubt, the 
Blessed Virgin has something in store for her here." 
After a few formalities of etiquette, our visitor intro- 
duced the subject of religion, and attempted to enter 
into a controversy with the Sister. " Alas ! Mademoi- 
selle," replied the latter, " tho-poor Daughters of Charity 
have neither the time nor learning necessary for a dis- 
cussion of these subtle questions, but they have other 
arms with which to vanquish you ; " and, smiling, she 
presented her disputant a little medal of the Blessed 
Virgin. " Promise me to wear this slight souvenir, it 
will be a constant reminder that we are praying for you." 
She allowed the Sister to put the medal on her neck, and 
retired rather pleased with her visit. 

From this day, the Sisters at the hospital began to 



TR^ MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 237 

recomni^il the young actress to Mary conceived without 
sin. Not many weeks after, the cure said to the Sister- 
Servant : *^ Do you know, Sister, that Mademoiselle M., 
who spent the most of her time promenading with gen- 
tlemen and smoking cigars, now comes to me for religious 
instruction ? In a little while she will make her 
abjuration." And, indeed, it was not very long before 
she repaired to the hospital. " Sister," said she to 
the Sister-Servant, "I am going to confession to-day, 
and to-morrow I make my First Communion. On my 
first visit here, I was enraged at you. I could have 
fought you, and cast to the winds this medal that I now 
kiss. From the very moment you put it on my neck, an 
unaccountable change w^as w^rought in me." Next day, 
the church was filled with Protestants and Jews, all 
anxious to witness a ceremony which had excited so 
much comment. After her reception into the Church, 
the young convert, on the eve of her departure, paid 
another visit to the Sister Servant, and the latter saw by 
her very countenance what great changes grace had 
wrought in this soul. "Well," said the Sister, just to 
try her, " here is a silver medal to replace yours which 
has become very black." "Oh, no," was the earnest, 
prompt reply, as she tenderly pressed her own medal, 
"I would not exchange this for any other in the world, 
for it is since I began to wear it my scul has awaked to 
a new life." 

Some years later, the Sister received a letter dated 
from Eome, it was from the young convert, who wrote to 
her as follows : " Sister, Providence has led me to Eome, 
and it is no longer Mile. M. you must address, but Sister 
St. of the B. convent. Your desires are accom- 
plished; I now belong entirely to God, as I once did to 



238 THE MIEACULOUS MEDAL. 

the world; the Blessed Virgin vanquishes souls with 
other arms than those of controyersy." 

We must add, to the praise of the young actress, that 
her moral character was always irreproachable. 

The Superioress of the hospital at Beuthen, in narra- 
ting these facts, adds : " I could mention, for the greater 
glory of God and honor of the Immaculate Mary, num- 
berless incidents of this kind, but lack of time and my 
w^eak eyes prevent my giving the details. I will say, 
however, and that without the slightest exaggeration, 
that not a weak passes but the Blessed Virgin bestows 
upon our patients at the hospital some new proof of her 
maternal bounty. The medal, so dear to us, is really 
miraculous, and the instrument by which we snatch 
from destruction souls that have cost Our Lord so much. 
Ah ! how numberless, in this unhappy land, the snares 
of the enemy of our salvation to entrap souls; but to 
vanquish him, I everywhere circulate the Miraculous 
Medal (you know what numbers we get), and my confi- 
dence in Mary is never deceived. 



CONVERSIOK OF A PROMI]S"E]SrT FREE ]VrASO:N". 

New Orleans ( United States), 1865. 
Among the patients at the great Charity hospital, 
New Orleans, was a very prominent Free Mason. His 
hatred of religion was displayed in a thousand ways; 
not only did he interdict the Sister who nursed him any 
allusion to his salvation, but he even habitually repaid 
by harsh and injurious Avords her kindness and attention 
to his physical sufferings. If others ventured to men- 
tion the subject of religion to him, they were received 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 239 

with jeers and banterg. Several times was he at the 
point of death, and yet, sad to relate, his dispositions 
remained the same. At last, when' the Sister saw that 
he had but a few hours to live, she stealthily slipped a 
Miraculous Medal under his bolster, and said interiorly 
to the Blessed Virgin : " My dear Mother, you know I 
haye spared no effort to touch this poor man's heart, but 
in vain; now I abandon him to you, it is j^ou who must 
save him; I leave him entirely in your hands, and shall 
try to divest myself of all anxiety concerning him." 
That evening, in making her rounds, she glances at him 
and learns from the infirmarian that ever since her (the 
Sister's) last visit, he had been very calm and apparently 
absorbed in thought. On inquiring of the patient him- 
self how he felt, she was astonished at his polite answer, 
but remembering that she had entrusted him entirely to 
the Blessed Virgin's care, she did not venture a word 
about his soul, and bidding him good night, she left the 
room. 

About nine o'clock, he called the infirmarian, and 
asked for a priest; knowing his former bitterness, the 
infirmarian thought it a joke and treated it accordingly ; 
the patient repeated his request, but with no better 
success. Then he began to weep and cry aloud for a 
priest; all the other patients were mute with astonish- 
ment, and the infirmarian unable to resist such entreaties 
went for the chaplain and the Sister. The dying man 
requested Baptism, which was administered immediately, 
as well as Extreme Unction, and before morning he had 
rendered his account to the Sovereign Judge. His body 
was interred with Masonic rites, but his soul, thanks to 
the powerful protection of Mary Immaculate, had been 
carried by angels to the bosom of its God. 



240 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



COlSrVERSIOl!^ OF A SICK PROTESTANT. 

Ne-w Orleans ( United States). 
At the same hospital in New Orleans, a Sister for a 
long time had vainly endeavored to convince a Protes- 
tant of the most essential truths of religion, that he 
might receive Baptism, but he was deaf to all her per- 
suasions. One day she showed him a Miraculous Medal, 
and related its origin. He appeared to listen somewhat 
attentively, but when she offered it to him, " Take it 
away,'^ said he, in a tone of great contempt, " this Virgin 
is no more than any other woman." "I am going to 
leave it on your table," was the Sister's reply, "I am 
sure you will reflect on my words." He said nothing, 
but to put it out of sight, placed his bible over it. 
Every day, under the pretext of arranging and dusting 
his room, the Sister assured herself that the medal was 
still there. Several days elapsed, during which the 
patient grew worse; one night, whilst lying awake 
racked with suflering, he perceived a brilliant light 
around his bed, though the rest of the room was 
enveloped in darkness. Greatly astonished, he suc- 
ceeded, in spite of his weakness, in rising and turning 
up the gas, to discover if possible, the cause of this 
mysterious light. Finding none, he returned to bed, 
and a few minutes after, he perceived that the luminous 
rays escaped from the medal. He then took it in his 
hands, and kept it there the remainder of the night. 
As soon as the Sisters' rising bell rang (which Avas four 
o'clock), he called the infirmarian, and begged him to 
tell the Sister he desired Baptism. The chaplain was 
immediately informed. " Impossible ! " he exclaimed, 
for having had frequent conversations with the sick 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 241 

man, he was well aware of his sentiments, and could 
scarcely believe him in earnest. Nevertheless, he obeyed 
the summons, and finding the patient really disposed to 
profit by his ministry, he administered the Last Sacra- 
ments, and shortly after receiving which the poor man 
died, blessing God and the Blessed Virgin for the graces 
bestowed upon him. 



COKVERSIOIS' OF A PROTESTANT GIRL. 

New OrUanSj {United States). 
A poor young Protestant girl, brought to our hospital 
to be treated for a grave malady, had so great a horror 
of our holy religion, that at the very sight of a Catholic 
near her, she acted like one possessed. The presence of 
a Sister was especially irritating, and one day she even 
went so far as to spit in the Sister's face, but the latter, 
nothing dismayed, and ever hoping that the God of all 
mercy would change this wolf into a lamb, continued her 
kind attentions, the more disrespectful her patient, the 
more gentle and considerate the Sister. The latter was 
at last inspired with the thought of slipping a Miraculous 
Medal between the two mattresses ; she acted upon the 
inspiration, and the following night the Immaculate 
Mary's image became an instrument of salvation and 
happiness to a guilty soul. Pitching and tossing upon 
her bed by reason of a high fever, the patient, in some 
unaccountable manner, found the medal, and the Sister's 
astonishment next morning at seeing her clasping it in 
her hands, and covering it with kisses, was second only 
to that she experienced on perceiving the wonderful 
transformation grace had wrought in this poor creature's 

21 



242 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

soul. A supernatural light had reyealed to her the sad 
state of her conscience; her criminal life filled her with 
horror, and, penetrated with regret for the past, she 
sighed only for holy Baptism. After the necessary 
instruction, she was baptized ; and, during the remainder 
of her sickness, which was long and tedious, her patience 
and fervor never faltered. She persevered in these edify- 
ing sentiments, until a happy death placed the seal upon 
the graces she had received through the intercession of 
Mary Immaculate. 



COXVERSIO]^ OF A PROTESTANT. 

Neio Orleans ( United States). 

A Protestant gentleman had spent four years at the 
hospital, sometimes in one hall, sometimes another. As 
his malady had not been very serious, no one had con- 
sidered it necessary to speak to him concerning his soul. 
However, when his condition became more aggravated, 
the Sister, after invoking the Blessed Virgin's assistance, 
told him the physician considered his case dangerous, 
and she thought he ought to receive Baptism, without 
which no one could be saved. He listened attentively, 
then turning to her, said : " Sister, if I were to ask you 
to become a Protestant, would you comply with my 
request?" '^No," was the decided answer. '^Well, 
then," he continued, "rest assured that it is just as 
useless for you to attempt persuading me to become a 
Catholic." 

In spite of this positive refusal, she let no occasion 
pass without enlightening him, were it ever so little, 
upon some of the truths of religion. One day, showing 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 243 

him a Miraculous Medal, she told him he would confer 
a great favor on her by reciting the nttle invocation : 
"0 Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have- 
recourse to thee ! ^' " What, Sister ! a Catholic prayer ! 
that is impossible, I cannot ! " She said no more, but 
slipped the medal under his pillow, and there it remained 
untouched for several days, during w^hich time she 
redoubled her attentions to the physical necessities of 
the poor patient, who gradually grew weaker. At last, 
one evening she said to him : " Well, Henry, are you 
not going to do Avhat I asked you?" "Yes, Sister, I 
most earnestly desire to become a Catholic." The chap- 
lain was called immediately; he had barely time to 
administer Baptism and Extreme Unction, ere the dying 
man's regenerated soul was carried by angels to the 
abode of the blessed. 



co2sryERSio:N" of a youkg methodist. 

St. Louis ( United States), 1865. 
A young man, a Methodist, arrived at the hospital in 
an extremely weak condition. The physician at once 
pronounced his case hopeless, and said he had but a few 
days to live. Consequently, the Sister's first care was 
for his soul. Questioning him, she soon learned that he 
believed neither in the eflBcacy nor necessity of Baptism, 
and all her efforts to induce him to receive this Sacra- 
ment were unavailing. He had no desire for any con- 
versation on the subject, and his invariable reply to all 
her arguments was: "I believe in Jesus, that suffices; I 
am sure of being saved." The Sister redoubled her 
prayers, for in them lay her only hope, and time was 



244 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

precious. A good priest visited him every day; once, 
after a much longer visit than usual, he told the Sister 
on leaving the room it was impossible to do anything 
with that man, unless God wrought a miracle in 
his favor, and they must entreat Ilim to do so. 
The poor man persisted, indeed, in refusing all spir- 
itual succor, though receiving gratefully the attentions 
bestowed upon his body. His strength diminished day 
by day, and he calmly awaited death; one thought 
alone disquieted him^ that of never seeing his mother 
and dying afar from her. Perceiving himself on the 
brink of the grave, he called one of his companions 
whom he begged to be with him at that fearful moment, 
and write the particulars of it to his mother. Whilst he 
made this request, the Sister slipped a Miraculous Medal 
under his pillow, confidently believing that Mary would 
not let this soul entrusted to her perish; yet he was 
already in his agony. Two Sisters watched beside his 
bed till midnight, when obliged to retire, they left him 
in charge of an infirmarian and the young man who had 
promised to be with him at the hour of death. Appa- 
rently he had not more than half an hour to live, so 
next morning when the infirmarian came to meet the 
Sister, she was prepared for news of the patient's death, 
but to her astonishment the infirmarian exclaimed: 
"Come Sister, come see him, he is restored to life!'' 
He then told her that the patient, to all appearances, 
had been dead an hour ; that the friend and himself had 
rendered all the last duties to the body, having washed 
and dressed and prepared it for the grave; then the 
young man went to bed, and he alone remained with 
the corpse. After w^atching near it some time, he 
approached to bandage the jaws, but what was his fright 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 245 

whilst thus engaged, to see the dead man open his eyes ! 
The Sister heard no more, but eagerly hastened to the 
spot, and found the man still breathing. With a great 
effort he said: "Oh! what a blessing that you have 
come ! '' In reply, she exhorted him to receive Baptism, 
and told him that he was indebted to the Blessed Virgin 
for this prolongation of his life. ^^I wish to be baptized,^' 
said he, and when the Sister replied that the priest 
would come, " Oh ! that will be too late! " was his pitiful 
answer. The other patients now joined their entreaties 
to his, and the Sister, after reciting aloud the acts of 
faith, hope, charity and contrition, which the dying man 
endeavored to repeat, with hands clasped and eyes raised 
to Heaven, baptized him. "Whilst the regenerating 
waters flowed upon his soul, transports of love and 
thanksgiving escaped his lips. Half an hour later, he 
closed his eyes, never to open them here below. All 
that the infirmarian related of his first death, was con- 
firmed in the most positive manner, by the Protestant 
friend who had assisted in preparing him for the grave. 



CONVERSION OF M. F 

^ St. Louis, ( United States), 

A Protestant named F was brought to our hospital 

in an advanced stage of consumption. He detested the 
Catholic religion most heartily, and received the Sisters' 
services with extreme repugnance. His physical strength 
diminished perceptibly, but his mind retained its energy 
and clearness. By degrees, the odor escaping from his 
decayed lungs, became so intolerable that all abandoned 
him. M. Burke, a missionary priest cind the Sisters, 

2.* 



246 THE 3IIRACUL0US MEDAL. 

being the only persons who had the courage to go near 
him, and pay any attention to his comfort. Yet neither 
priest nor Sister dare mention religion. They contented 
themselves with putting a Miraculous Medal under his 
pillow, and invoking her, Avho so often deigns to display 
her power in favor of those who deny it. She did not 
delay in granting their petition. A few days later, as 
the Protestant minister left the ward, after making his 
usual distribution of tracts, the sick man said to the 
Sister, ^^ Sister, it is done; I am converted." "Ah," 
said the latter interiorly, ^^our good Mother has accom- 
plished her work." And it was indeed true; for the 
patient requested a priest, was instructed, and in a few 
days received the Sacraments of Baptism, the Holy 
Viaticum and Extreme Unction, w^ith inexpressible 
fervor. The very expression of his countenance was 
changed ; the happiness that inundated his heart beam- 
ing from every feature. '^ Ah ! " said he, " my sufferings 
are great, but I feel that I am going to Heaven ; the 
truth has made me free." In these happy dispositions, 
he expired, promising that in heaven he would pray for 
all who had been instruments of his conversion. 



CO]^^ERSIOK OF AK UKBAPTIZED PATIENT. 

St. Louis, ( United States). 

A patient brought to the hospital in a hopeless condi- 
tion, openly manifested his hatred of Catholicity. Yet, 
as he was in imminent danger of death, the Sister, profit- 
ing by a moment in which he seemed a little better 
disposed than usual, ventured to ask him if he would be 
baptized ; he answered roughly, " No, that he scarcely 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 347 

believed in baptism, and not at all in Catholic baptism, 
that in case of his recoyery, perhaps he would receive 
baptism by immersion, and become a member of some 
church, but that would never be the Catholic Church." 
"At any rate," added he, " T am not going to torment 
myself now about such things." The poor Sister having 
no other resource than the Blessed Virgin, and seeing 
that the young man approached his end, stealthily 
slipped a medal under his pillows Next morning it was 
picked up by the infirmarian, w4io, thinking the Sister 
had dropped it accidentally, was about to return it, bub 
the patient opposed him ; the little image pleased his 
fancy, and he wanted to keep it himself. To quiet him, 
the infirmarian was obliged to ask Sister if the patient 
might have it. The request was granted. Towards 
evening some one came to the Sister with a message from 
the patient, he wished to see her. " Sister," said he as 
soon as she approached, " you have told me I could not 
be saved without Baptism; let me be baptized, for I 
wish to be saved." Filled with joy at this news, she 
began to instruct and prepare him for the ceremony. It 
took place next morning, and during the course of the 
day, this soul, now the child of God, went to repose in 
the bosom of its celestial Father, to bless and thank Him 
for all eternity for His mercies. 



COKVERSIOIS' OF A YOUKG GIRL. 

Buffalo ( United States). 
A young Protestant girl about twenty years of age 
came to the hospital, covered from head to foot with a 
disgusting itch, which the physician pronounced incur- 
able. The Sister who dressed her sores, told her that 



248 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

the Blessed Virgin could obtain her recovery, and would 
do so, if she wore the medal and relied upon the Blessed 
Virgin's intercession. The poor girl knowing her case 
was deemed hopeless by the physician, answered bluntly: 
'' I do not believe in your Blessed Virgin, and I want no 
medal." "Very well," replied the Sister, "then you 
may keep your sores.'' A few days after she asked for a 
medal herself, put it on her neck, received instruction and 
was baptized, and in a short time she left the hospital 
perfectly cured, greatly to the astonishment of the physi- 
cians, who had all pronounced her malady incurable. 



coKVERSio:Nr of a sin]S"er. 

Hospital of Gratz (^Austria), 
An artist whose life had been far from edifying, was 
an inmate of our hospital. One morning the Sister was 
greatly surprised at his expressing a desire to confess. 
Perceiving her astonishment, he said: "This morning, 
Sister, the chapel door was slightly open, and from my 
bed I could see the Blessed Virgin's statue." (It was 
that of the Immaculate Conception.) " It appealed so 
strongly to my heart, that I have had no psace since. 
I must put my conscience in order." He did go to 
confession, not once, but several times, and he often 
expressed great regret for his past life. "Ah!" he 
would say, "'what a life I have led, and how sad the 
state of my soul when Mary came to my aid." When 
asked what he supposed had attracted Mary's compas- 
sion, he answered : " I was merely looking at the statue, 
no thought of religion was in my mind ; when suddenly, 
recollections of my past life filled me with fear, and Mary 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 249 

at the same time inspired me with a horror for sin." In 
this instance, repentance and reparation were the imme- 
diate consequences of the Immaculate Mary's merciful 
and maternal glance. 



C0]S'YERSI0K or A GREEK SCHISMATIC. 

Hospital of Gratz {Austria,) 
A Greek schismatic, attacked by a mortal malady, was 
brought to the hospital. He declared his intention of 
remaining attached to the errors in which he had been 
educated, and the Sisters, seeing his determination, 
entrusted him to the Blessed Virgin, consecrating him 
to her by placing under his pillow a medal, which for 
him proved truly miraculous. One day, a Franciscan 
Father visited the sick, and the young man asked the 
Sister to bring the good Father to see him. He con- 
versed a long time with the latter, but manifested no 
intention of becoming a Catholic. Meanwhile, he grew 
worse, and, one day, when taken with a hemorrhage, he 
asked for this Father, "because," said he, "I wish to 
embrace the Catholic religion." The Sister Avas sur- 
prised, for she had said nothing to persuade him, but 
the Blessed Virgin had accomplished her work Avithout 
earthly assistance. He confessed and made his abjura- 
tion ; he even requested the Keverend Father to announce, 
in a loud voice, to the other patients that he entered the 
Church of his own free will. His attacks of vomiting 
made the priest hesitate to give him the Holy Viaticum, 
but he insisted so strongly, and had so ardent a desire 
to receive, that the good God permitted these spells of 
vomiting to become less frequent, so that he could make 



250 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

his first and last Communion at the same time, which 
he did with inexpressible fervor and consolation. Inter- 
rogated on the subject of his conversion, he answered : 
■'^ For a long time I felt that everything earthly was of 
little value, and I sought for the true and lasting." 
During the delirium of his last moments, he spoke con- 
tinually of a white robe. The grace of Baptism had 
clothed his soul in spotless raiment, and to Mary's inter- 
cession was he indebted for it. 



co:n'versiok of ak apostate. 

Austria, 1866, 

In one of the prisons confided to the care of the 
Daughters of Charity, was a young man belonging to a 
respectable Catholic family, whose shame and disgrace 
he had become. After a short stay, he fell sick, and his 
condition necessitated removal to the infirmary ; faithful 
to his principles of impiety, he absolutely refused all 
spiritual succor, and whenever he saw one of the chap- 
lains pass, he either turned away his head or concealed 
it under the bedclothes. All the Sisters begged the 
Superioress to make one last effort for his soul. She paid 
him a visit, and was received politely, but to rid himself 
of her importunity, he avowed himself a Protestant, 
and related how he came to forsake the Faith, 
after making the acquaintance of several very bad 
characters, his companions in crime and his coun- 
selors in advising him to become a Protestant. The 
Sister asked him if he felt no remorse for such conduct, 
but he became enraged and exclaimed aloud : " I am a 
Protestant, and I wish to live and die a Protestant!" 



THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 251 

Seeing it impossible to do anything with the miserable 
creature, she interiorly recommended him to the Eefuge 
of Sinners, and merely asked him to accept the medal 
she offered, to wear it and sometimes kiss it. He seemed 
quite pleased to get rid of her so easily, and placing all 
her confidence in Mary, she withdrew. 

The poor man passed a sleepless night, our Blessed 
Mother touched his heart, and very early next morning 
he sent word to the Sister that he wanted a priest ta 
receive his solemn profession of Faith, in reparation of 
his scandalous apostasy and crimes. But his reputation 
was such that the prison chaplain doubted his sincerity^ 
and would not go to him except upon repeated solicita- 
tions of the Superioress. He was deeply affected at 
witnessing the chang3 grace had wrought in this soul,, 
and the consequent compunction with which the 
prodigal confessed his sins. The dying man then made 
a public abjuration of his errors, and expired a few 
minutes after, in the grace of God and under the pro- 
tecting smile of Mary. 



COITYERSIOl!^ OF A SOLDIER AT THE HOSPITAL OF CAVA. 

Cava, {Italy), 1866. 
A young soldier sufiering from disease of the chesty 
was brought to the Military Hospital of Cava. His first 
question was to ask if the Sisters had charge of that 
hospital ; on receiving an affirmative answer, he said to- 
himself: "They will bother me about going to confes- 
sion, so I shall call myself a Jew to get rid of them," 
and Jew he was designated on the card of admission. 
Perceiving the serious nature of his malady, the Sisters 



252 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

to whose especial care he had been confided, visited him 
as often as possible. One of them offered him a medal 
of the Immaculate Conception; regarding it with a 
smile of pity, he said : '^ I accept it, because it would 
not be polite to refuse, but believe me, I consider it a 
mere plaything and nothing more." 

Every time the chaplain visited the hall, to speak a 
word of consolation to one and another, the poor Jew 
covered his head. The Sister sometimes ventured a few 
words to him about the good God, but he would never 
reply, and her approach was the signal for his feigning 
sleep. One evening when he appeared worse than usual, 
two S'sters went to see him just before they retired for 
the night. On hearing them approach, he exclaimed : 
"0 Sister, a priest!" The chaplain was immediately 
summoned to his bedside, the poor dying man repeating 
all the Avhile : " A priest ! a priest ! " As soon as the 
chaplain came, the patient made his profession of Faith 
in a very audible voice; he then confessed, and just as 
the priest, in administering Extreme Unction, was 
anointing the ears, the penitent rendered his soul to 
God, leaving us the consoling hope that it had found 
mercy in its Maker s sight. 



COI^'YERSIOK OF A AVOUKDED SOLDIER. 

Palermo {Italy), 1866. 
In 1866, at the Military Hospital of Palermo, was a 
poor man who had just undergone the amputation of his 
left arm. His impie y was so great, that the Sister felt 
constrained to remove a large crucifix that had been 
placed near his bed, for he covered it with invectives. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 253 

The miserable man's bodily infirmities were as hopeless 
as his spiritual, yet no one could succeed in inducing 
him to give any attention to his soul, or even to listen to 
a word about the good God. What could be done in 
such an extremity ? The poor Sister was in great dis- 
tress, when one day whilst dressing his wounds she was 
inspired to slip a medal of the Immaculate Conception 
between the bandages around the stump of the ampu- 
tated member. Next morning, on witnessing the great 
change that had been wrought in her patient's spiritual 
condition during the night, she was less astonished than 
happy, for she had confidently relied upon the Blessed 
Virgin. He asked for a priest, who came immediately; 
he confessed, publicly repaired the scandals of his past 
life, and received with piety the Holy Viaticum and 
Extreme Unction. His few remaining days were spent 
in blessing that God who had shown him such boundless 
mercy. "Oh! how good God is!" did he repeat inces- 
santly to his companions, "I have committed manifold 
sins and He has pardoned me all ! '' 



CUKE OF AN" 4USTRIA]^ OFFICER. 

Hospital of Gratz {Austria), 1867. 
An officer in the garrison at Gratz, suffered from a 
serious wound in the right arm. He was brought to the 
general hospital, that he might be more conveniently 
under the especial treatment of M. Ezehazeh, a very 
eminent surgeon. The latter exhausted all his skill, 
but in vain, and after a few weeks he saw the necessity 
of amputation to save the oflficer's life. Learning the 
doctor's decision, the patient was deeply grieved, and his 

22 



254 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

oppressed heart sought refuge in piety. He who had 
never spoken of God, who had accepted a proffered 
medal only from courtesy, now appeared to experience a 
genuine satisfaction when the Sisters told him they 
would implore the Blessed Virgin in his behalf. During 
the few days immediately preceding the operation, he 
felt inspired w4th a great confidence in his medal, and 
frequently repeated the invocation engraven upon it: 
" Mary ! conceived without sin, pray for us who have 
recourse to thee! '' The danger was now imminent, and 
the amputation, which must not be delayed, was to take 
place on the morrow. One of the Sisters, perceiving 
that the young officer's confidence expressed itself in 
continual prayer, suggested that evening that he lay the 
medal upon h s afflicted arm, and let it remain all night, 
a suggestion which w^as joyfully received. Next morn- 
ing she hastened to ascertain her patient's condition, and 
get the medal. He had spent a quiet night, his sufferings 
being less severe than usual; and the Sister, whilst 
attributing his improvement to the anodynes prescribed, 
understood full well that the precious medal had also 
been instrumental in procuring relief, and that Mary had 
looked compassionately upon him; but she did not yet 
realiz3 the full extent of the blessing. The surgeon 
came a few hours after, and whilst awaiting his assist- 
ants, he carefully examined the wounded arm, he touched 
it, he probed it, and to his great astonishment, perceived 
that amputation was not necessary. The other doctors 
on arriving, confirmed his opinion of this surprising 
change. The officer was mute with happiness, and not 
until he found himself alone with the chief surgeon did 
he impart to the latter, as a secret, his opinion as to the 
cause of this wonderful change. On leaving him, the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 255 

surgeon (notwithstanding the injunction of secrecy), 
could not refrain from saying to the Sister : '' I believe 
the Sisters of Charity have engaged the good God in this 
case." 

The officer's arm was entirely healed; a few weeks 
later he left the hospital, taking with him the precious 
medal as a memento of gratitude and love for Mary 
Immaculate. 



coNyERSio:Nr of m. k at lima. 

Letter from a Daughter of Charity in Lima (Peru), 
1876: 

M. N had been suffering a long time from hypertro- 
phy of the heart, the physicians having vainly exhausted 
all the resources of their skill, were forced to tell the family 
that he was beyond the power of human aid, and should 
look to the state of his soul, sad news for this father of 
a family, and a man devoid of religion. In vain did his 
relatives and friends, with all possible delicacy, endeavor 
to turn his thoughts to religion and induce him to receive 
the Sacraments; he would hear nothing on the subject; 
a priest, who was an intimate friend of the family, 
attempted to second their efforts, but he met with no 
better success ; the sick man became exasperated at all 
allusions to religion, he blasphemed everything relating 
to it, sparing not even the Blessed Virgin. 

One day, after listening to an account of the conver- 
sion of M. , of Lima, our patient's relatives expressed 

a desire of having recourse to similar means for their dear 
one's conversion. '^ It is very simple," said the person 
addressed, "you have only to ask Sister N., of St. Anne's 
Hospital for a medil, she got one for M. Pierre, she 



256 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

will not refuse you." One of his nephews iinmediately 
repaired to the hospital and returned with a medal. A 
niec3 offered it to him; "Mamma," said she, "sends you 
this medal and begs that you will wear it." " Certainly/' 
was the reply " I will wear it for her sake, but I want 
everybody to understand that I have no notion of con- 
fessing." 

He spent a quiet night, and was quite pleased next 
morning to find himself somewhat better. ^^Euloge," 
said he, to one of his nephews, " what prepartion should 
a person make who intends taking a long journey?" 
Ealoge, who thought he certainly must be in a dream to 
hear his uncle speak thus, inquired to what journey he 
alluded. "Ah! " was the answer, " I speak of Eternity." 
The poor young man^ delighted at such a happy change, 
replied that the best preparation was to put one's con- 
science in order by making a good confession. "I will 
do so, send me a priest," said his uncle. As soon as the 
clergyman arrived and heard his confession, he adminis- 
tered the Holy Viaticum. All the assistants were over- 
come with emotion when they saw the sick man, almost 
in his last agony, supported by his children, to receive 
on bended knee, the God who had just pardoned all the 
sins of his life. A few moments after, he blessed his 
children, gave them his parting counsel, and died in 
sentiments of piety rivaling his past irreligion. His 
family was deeply grateful to Mary Immaculate for this 
token of her favor. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 257 

CONTERSION OF AN UNBELIEYER. 

Letter from a Sister of Charity in Lima, Peru, 1877: 
An old lady whose youth had been pious, having lost 
her Faith by reading bad books, had not frequented the 
Sacraments for thirty-five years. The Sister with whom 
she lived was carried to her grave, after an illness of 
only five days, and it was natural to suppose that the 
Christian death of one so dear would have softened her 
heart ; on the contrary, it embittered her the more, and 
she vented her grief in blasphemies. A Sister of Charity 
witnessing this scandal, and not being able to soothe the 
poor creature, Avas inspired with the thought of giving 
her a medal of the Blessed Virgin ; the old lady accepted, 
and wore it for several days, during which she appeared 
greatly pre-occupied, and somewhat less confident in her 
scepticism ; but having yielded to a diabolical suggestion, 
th..t urged her to lay the medal aside, doubtless because 
grace tormented her conscience with keen remorse whilst 
the medal was on her person, she fell back into an 
habitual hardness and melancholy that she styled peace. 
The Sister perceived this, and inquired if she still wore 
the medal ; on receiving a negative answer, our good 
Sister represented the danger to which her soul was 
exposed without it, and the old lady promised to put it 
on again. Many prayers were oflered up for her, and 
at the end of fifteen days, the Sister, who was greatly 
interested in this poor woman's soul, paid her another 
visit; perceiving no change in her sentiments, she 
inquired immediately if the medal had been resumed. 
The poor woman, who was very uncouth, dared not 
speak, but made a sign with her head which revealed 
all. "What have you done with it, and where is it?" 



258 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

asked the Sister. The old lady replied that it was in her 
wardrobe, and she had made several ineffectual efforts to 
put it on again. The Sister understands that this mis- 
erable soul is under some diabolical influence, holding 
her aloof from aught calculated to reclaim her to God ; 
she feels that now is the moment for prompt action, and 
in a tone of severity, says : " Very well, since you will 
not wear the medal, I abandon you entirely." These 
Avords produced the desired effect ; the old lady ran to 
the wardrobe, and taking up the medal, put it around 
her neck this time to remain. Soon experiencing the 
sweet and powerful influence of Mary Immaculate, so 
justly called the Gate of Heaven, in a few days she 
assisted at the Holy Sacrifice and listened to the instruc- 
tion, and from that time was entirely changed; she 
confessed and made her Easter Communion, and the 
deepest compunction and gratitude are now the abiding 
sentiments of her heart. She wished to remain at the 
church door, feeling herself unworthy to penetrate 
further into the sacred edifice, and it was with the 
greatest difficulty her friends could prevail upon her to 
accept a place nearer the altar. She never ceases to 
thank God and Mary; and she told the Sister that, from 
the moment the medal was on her neck, she knew 
neither peace nor rest till she had returned to her duties, 
so great are the power and love of that Virgin who is 
the sovereign Terror of demons. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 259 



COKVERSIOX OF A SCANDALOUS SINKER. 

Moirans^ 1877, 
The Superioress of the Sisters of Charity at Moirans, 
relates as follows a very consoling conversion, redound- 
ing to the glory of Mary Immaculate: 

"The most important manufiicturer of our village, who 
employed from four to five hundred men and women, 
has just died, and contrary to all expectations, his death 
Avas penitent and consoling. He had been impious and 
immoral, and the profligate characters in his workshops 
were a curse to the surrounding country. His rudeness 
was such, that everybody trembled before him. His 
Avife and two daughters, pious Christians, silently 
bewailed his misconduct; and as for myself, I had barely 
sufficient acquaintance with him to render justifiable 
my calling upon him in any urgent need. 

" One morning I received a message in great haste ; this 
person was very sick and wished to see me. I went at 
once, but the disease was of so serious a character and 
its progress so rapid, that I saw the poor man on the 
verge of the grave ere I could find a means of turning 
his thoughts to eternity. I had told his wife and 
daughters to give him a medal of the Immaculate Con- 
ception, but he refused to accept it, and we were reduced 
to the necessity of stealthily putting it under his pillow. 
On the third day, as I was about to leave, after render- 
ing him all the care and attention in my power, he 
wished, in the effusion of his gratitude, to shake hands 
with me. I profited by the opportunity to tell him how 
much pleasure he could give me by consenting to receive 
the cure, who had just come to see him. He made a 
sign in the affirmative and with a smile that very rarely 



260 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

parted his lips. We went out of the room, leaving him 
alone with the priest, whom he had welcomed cordially. 
In half an hour the latter returned blessing God, for 
the sick man had made his confession. He now con- 
sented to wear the medal, and that evening he received 
Extreme Unction, but not the Holy Viaticum, as he had 
spells of suffocation. I asked his wife to let his employees 
see him, that they might be edified at their patron's con- 
duct. The request was granted, but not many came, as 
the workshops were closed at this hour ; those who did 
come, prayed a few minutes beside him. Next morning 
his family was greatly rejoiced at his apparent physical 
improvement, but their hopes were deceived, and very 
soon his last agony began. He was recommended to the 
prayers of the parish ; the whole village manifested a 
touching interest in his condition, and his employees all 
came to see him. The throng around the dying man 
was renewed every quarter of an hour, and we recited 
the Cliaiiilet aloud, a most appropriate devotion for this 
occasion, the last moments of one whom the Blessed 
Virgin had snatched from eternal misery. Amidst this 
concert of praises to Mary, he expired. The Christian 
Brothers, to whom he had been very hostile, willingly 
aided us in rendering to him the last duties of religion.'^ 




CHAPTEK YII 



PROGRESS 01 THE DETOTM TO MARY 

CROWNED BY THE DEFINITION OF THE IMMACULATE 

CONCEPTION. 1. OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE. 

II. THE CHILDREN OF MARY. III. THE DEFINITION 

OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. 



/. — Our Lady of La Salette, — 18Jf6. 

lu her first manifestation to Sister Catherine, July 19, 
1830, the Immaculate Virgin announced the disasters 
which threatened France ; grief was depicted upon her 
countenance, tears stifled her voice, she earnestly recom- 
mended prayer to appease the wrath of God. 

Sixteen years later, this Mother of mercy, appearing 
to two little shepherd children upon one of the summits 
of the Alps, repeated, in a most solemn manner, the 
same warnings and the same counsels. The first appa- 
rition remains in obscurity, but a knowledge of the 

(261) 



262 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

second has been spread throughout the world, and with 
most consoling results. The miracle of La Salette has 
greatly increased devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and 
given Christians a clearer idea of the important duties 
of penance and prayer, which, in reality, are the embodi- 
ment of all practical piety. 

We quote the best authenticated account of La Salette, 
that of the Abbe Rousselot, who himself received it from 
the mouths of the children. 

" Two peasant children, Melanie Mathieu, aged four- 
teen years, and Maximin Giraud, aged eleven, both 
simple and ignorant, as might naturally be expected of 
their age and condition, were together upon the moun- 
tain of La Salette, which overlooks a village where they 
were at service under different masters. Their acquaint- 
ance was very slight, their first meeting having been 
only the day before the occurrence we are about to relate. 
When the Angelus announced the hour of noon, they 
went to soak their hard bread in the water of a spring. 
After this rural repast, they descended a little farther, 
and laying down their crooks beside another spring, 
then dry, they seated themselves a slight distance apart, 
upon a few stones which had been piled up there, and 
went to sleep. 

"It was Saturday, September 19th, 1846, and eve of 
the day on which fell the Feast of Our Lady's Seven 
Dolors. 

^'^x\fter taking the cows to water, and eating our 
lunch,' says Maximin, ' we went to sleep beside a stream, 
and very near a spring which was dry. Melanie awoke 
first, and aroused me to hunt our cows. We crossed 
the stream, and going in an opposite direction, saw our 
cows lying down on the other side, and not very far off.' 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 263 

^'^I came down first/ says Melanie; ^when I was 
within five or six steps of the stream, I perceived a light 
like that of the sun, but even more brilliant and not the 
color of sunlight, and I said to Maximin: Come quick 
to see the bright light down here.' ' Where is it ? ' 
inquired Maximin, coming towards me. 'I pointed with 
my finger in the direction of the spring, and he 
stood still when he saw it. Then the light seemed to 
open, and in the midst of it appeared a Lady, she was 
seated, and her head resting upon her hands.' ^ We were 
both frightened,' continues Maximin, ^ and Melanie, with 
an exclamation of terror, let fall her crook.' 'Keep 
your crook,' said I, ' as for me, I am going to keep mine. 
If it does anything to us, I will give it a blow with my 
crook.' And the Lady arose. She crossed her arms, 
and said to us : ' Come to me^ my children, do not be 
afraid. I am here to tell you something very important.' 
All our fears vanished, we went towards her and crossed 
the stream, and the Lady advancing a few steps, we met 
at the place where Melanie and I had fallen asleep. 
The Lady was between us, and she wept all the time she 
was talking. ' I saw her tears flow,' adds Melanie. 

" ' If my people,' said she, ' do not humble themselves, 
I shall be forced to let them feel the weight of my Son's 
uplifted arm. I have stayed it heretofore, but it now 
presses so heavily that I can scarcely support it much 
longer. And all the while I am suffering thus for you, 
I must pray without ceasing if I wish to prevent your 
abandonment by my Son. And, moreover, you do not 
appreciate it.' 

" ' In vain will you pray, in vain will you strive, never 
can you recompense what I have undergone for you. I 
have given you six days of the week wherein to work. 



264 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

the seventh I reserved for myself, and even that is denied 
me ! It is this which weighs down my Son's arm/ 

^^'Bven those who drive carts must curse, and mingle 
my Son's name with their oaths.' 

" ' These are the two things that weigh down my Son's 
arm.' 

^'^If the harvest fails, it is for no other reason than 
your sins. I tried last year to make you see this in the 
failure of the potato crop. You took no account of it. 
On the contrary, when you found the potatoes rotted, 
you swore and mingled my Son's name with your male- 
dictions. The potatoes will continue to rot, at Chris- 
mas there will be none.' 

"I did not know what this meant," said Melanie, "for 
in our part of the country we do not call them potatoes. 
I asked Maximin what they were, and the Lady said to 
me: 

"'Ah! my children, you do not understand me, I will 
use other language.' 

"The Blessed Virgin now repeated the preceding in 
patois, and the remainder of her discourse was also in 
patois. We give the translation as follows: 

" ' If you have wheat, it must not be sown, the ani- 
mals will devour what you sow; and should any remain, 
it will yield naught but dust when threshed.' 

" ' There will be a great famine. Before the famine 
comes, little children under seven years of age, will be 
seized with fright and die in the arms of those who are 
holding them. Some will do penance by reason of the 
famine. Even the nuts will fail and the grapes rot.' 

"After these words, the beautiful Lady continued to 
speak aloud to Maximin. Though seeing the motion of 
her lips, Melanie hears nothing. Maximin receives a 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 265 

secret in French. Then the Blessed Virgin addresses 
herself to the little girl, and Maximin ceases to hear her 
voice. She likewise confides to Melanie a secret in 
French, but a more lengthy secret it appears than that 
entrusted to Maximin. Continuing her discourse in 
2mtois, and so as to be heard by both, she adds: ' If they 
turn aside from their evil ways, the very rocks and stones 
will be changed into heaps of grain, and potatoes will be 
found scattered over the fields.' 

" The Queen of Heaven then addressed herself more 
directly to the children. 

'•'Do you say your prayers with devotion, my chil- 
dren?' 

" ' Oh, no, Madame,' they both answered, ' we say them 
with very little devotion.' 

"Our divine Mother continued: 'Ah! my children, 
you must say them fervently evening and morning. 
When you have not the time, and cannot do better, say 
an Our Father and a Hail Mary ; and when you have 
the time you must say more. 

'"No one goes to Mass, except a few aged women ; 
all the rest in summer spend Sunday working, and in 
winter, when at a loss for something to do, they go to 
Mass only to ridicule religion; and during Lent they fre- 
quent the shambles as if they were dogs.' 

" After a few more words, reminding Maximin that he 
had already seen the failure of the grain, the august 
Queen finished in French as follows : ' Ah ! my 
children, tell this to all my people.' And before leaving 
them, she repeated the command. 

" The two children add : ' Then she ascended about 
fifteen steps, to the place where we had gone to look after 
our cows. Her feet barelv touched the surface of the 



266 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

verdure, which did not even bend beneath her, she 
glided over the surface as if suspended in the air, and 
impelled by some invisible power. We followed her, 
Melanie a little ahead, and I two or three steps from the 
Lady's side. The beautiful Lady was now gently 
elevated to about the height of a yard,' said the children. 
' She remained thus suspended in the air for a moment. 
She glances up to Heaven and then at the earth, her 
head disappears from our view, next her arms, and lastly 
her feet. She saemed to melt away. There remained a 
brilliant light that gleamed upon my hands, and the 
flowers at her feet, but that was all.' 

"At the first words of his son's narration, Maximin's 
father began to laugh, but very soon recognizing the 
marks of incontestable sincerity, he hastened to comply 
with his Christian duties, so long neglected. The 
neighboring inhabitants followed his example, there 
were no more blasphemies, no more profanation of 
Sunday, the whole country was soon tranformed, even 
maternally. Like those of Jonas to Nineveh, the 
prophetic warnings of the divine Messenger were con- 
ditional. They were fulfilled in general, as can still be 
remembered. " ^ 

The apparition of La Salette, as is the case with all 
extraordinary events, was variously appreciated even 
among Catholics, some receiving the account Avith 
enthusiastic confidence, others strongly contesting the 
reality. But for a long time doubts have ceased, Prov- 
idence having, by numberless miracles, confirmed the 
faith of those who believed ; and the mountain sanctified 
by Mary's presence, has never ceased to be visited by 

1 Several details of this account have been derived from '* Illustrious 
Pilgrim Shrines." 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 267 

pilgrims from the most distant countries. Mgr. De 
Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, anxious to prevent illu- 
sion on so important a question, nominated a commission 
composed of most competent persons, to examine and 
pass judgment upon this apparition. The result being 
in the aflfirmatiYe. His Grace, in a circular of September 
19th, 1851, declared as follows : 

" We assert that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin 
to two little peasants, the 19th of September, 1846, upon 
one of the peaks of the Alps, situated in the parish of 
La Salette, of the archpresbytery of Corps, bears every 
mark of truth, and that the faithful are confirmed in 
believing it indubitable and certain. 

" Wherefore, to testify our lively gratitude to God and 
the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorize the devotion to 
Our Lady of La Salette." 

The circular, before publication, was submitted to the 
Holy See, whose approval it received, and Mgr. De Bruil- 
lard's two successors have always endorsed his apprecia- 
tion of the apparition. 

Consequently, this devotion is invested with every 
guarantee of authenticity that the severest criticism 
could exact. 

A church of the Byzantine style and graceful appear- 
ance is erected upon the holy mountain, near where the 
apparition took plac3. The identical spot remains uncov- 
ered, and the grass still grows upon the soil hallow^ed by 
Mary's s.icred footsteps ; a series of crosses, fourteen in 
number, to which are attached the indulgences of the 
via crucis, indicate the path she took. The spring, 
formerly intermittent, has been inexhaustible since the 
apparition, and its waters have worked miracles. Near 
the church, a convent has been built to accommodate 



263 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

the numberless pilgrims, who daily resort hither in the 
favorable season. Numerous chapels, dedicated to Our 
Lady of La Salette, are scattered throughout Christ- 
endom, and abundant graces repay the faith of those 
who in these sacred shrines invoke her intercession. 



IL—The Cliildren of Marij,—18Jf7. 

Eome, the guardian of our Faith and Catholic tradi- 
tions, has given municipal privileges to the Children of 
Mary, in consecrating to them a chapel in one of her 
most celebrated churches, St. Agnes Beyond the "Walls. 
The Italian sodalities are all inscribed there, and repre- 
sented by a group of the children of Mary surrounding 
this young Saint, who in the third century was martyred 
for her virginity. They seem to say to her, "Agnes, 
you are our eldest Sister, the well beloved of Jesus 
Christ and His Mother." 

This place of honor, this representation proclaim most 
eloquently, that the Children of Mary form in the 
Church, a family as ancient as Catholicity itself. 

Nearly nineteen centuries ago, Jesus, our Eedeemer, 
was in the agony of death upon the tree of the cross, 
which his love had chosen as the instrument of our 
redemption ; " seeing," says the Evangelist, " that all 
was consummated " for our salvation, He wished to place 
the seal upon His work, by making His last will and 
testament. 

Looking first at Mary, His Mother, and then at John, 
the beloved disciple, he made John a Child of Mary in 
these memorable words: '' Ecce Mater tua, ecce films 
tuus: Behold thy Mother, behold thy son." 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 269 

Such is the origin of the Children of Mary. We 
believe with the holy Church, that the eternal Word, 
after becoming incarnate to render men redeemed with 
His blood, the Children of His heavenly Father, gave 
them also, at the hour of His death. His own Mother to 
be theirs. We know likewise, that among the children 
of every family, there is always one most tenderly 
attached to the mother, for instance, Jacob and Eebccca; 
John and Mary. 

Even so, in the bosom of the great family of Catho- 
licity, do we find in all ages, souls jealous of rendering to 
Mary the most intimate filial devotion, selecting her in 
an espscial manner, for their model and protectress. 

Such are the religious orders particularly devoted to 
her service, also, the confraternities established for the 
same purpose in many parishes. The Society of Jesus, 
which was founded in the sixteenth century, laboring 
zealously to extencj. the glory of God among the youth 
under its charge, found no means so effectual in forming 
hearts to virtue and piety, as that of placing them under 
Mary's protection; and the celebrated x\ssociation of the 
Prima Primaria, canonically erected by Pope Gregory 
XIII, in 1584, became the parent stem of all the congre- 
gations, subsequently found in honor of the Mother of 
God. 

It was reserved for our age, to give full development 
to this fruitful devotion, by popularizing and thus 
making it a powerful means of salvation. In placing 
themselves under the patronage of the Immaculate Con- 
ception, the Children of Mary cannot fail to obtain from 
their divine Mother the most abundant and precious 
benedictions. 

In 1830, the Immaculate Virgin had uttered a 



270 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

prophecy which resounded incessantly in the heart of 
the missionary, to whom was confided the account of 
the apparitions of the medal. "The Blessed Virgin 
wishes you to found a congregation, of which you will 
be the Superior, a confraternity of Children of Mary; 
the Blessed Virgin will bestow many graces upon it as 
well as upon yourself, indulgences will be granted it. 
The month of Mary will be celebrated with great 
solemnity ; Mary loves these festivals ; she Avill requite 
their observance with abundant graces." 

But why this command and this prediction of the 
Queen of Heaven to her servant, in regard to something 
which was not all new ? 

Sodalities of the Children of Mary already existed 
among the numberless youths educated by the Fathers 
of the Society of Jesus. And following their example, 
the Ladies of the Sacred Heart had formed similar asso- 
ciations among their scholars, and in 1832, had even 
established them for ladies in the world, under the invo- 
cation of the Immaculate Conception. It would seem 
theri that a new work was superfluous. 

It is true, Associations of the Children of Mary already 
existed and accomplished much good, but they were 
confined to a few isolated places, and recruited from a 
chosen class, they were not popular; and Mary designed 
as elements of the future work, that multitude of young 
girls in the ordinary walks of life, surrounded by all the 
trials, exposed to all the dangers of the world, who 
to-day form her blessed family, whose innocence she 
guards, whose modest virtues she encourages, and from 
whom she receives in exchange, a tribute of love, praises 
and a visible service acceptable to her heart. Let us 
speak a word concerning its establishment. When the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 271 

apostolic heart of M. Aladel received Sister Catherine's 
consoling predictions, he did not fully comprehend how 
he, a simple missionary, should accomplish the designs 
of the Queen of Heaven. 

Whilst quietly awaiting the propitious hour and means 
foreseen by Providence, he seized every opportunity of 
speaking to the children and young people of Mary's 
bounty and the happiness of belonging to her. His 
simplicity and animation, when discoursing upon this 
his favorite theme, attracted all hearts; his listeners 
hung entranced upon the good father's words ; and the 
unction of grace sustaining the ardor he had enkindled, 
the associations were formed by way of trial, in the 
houses of the Daughters of Charity, where M. Aladel 
had officiated. 

Such were those of the Providence Orphanage in 
Paris, of the House of Charity of St. Medard, of the 
Madeleine ; also, those of St. Flour, Mainsat, Aurillac, 
established from 1836 to 1846. The young girls, who 
were externs, very soon rivaled the inmates of the estab- 
lishments in obtaining similar favors; several new 
associations were begun in the year 1846, those of 
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Eoch, St. Paul, St. Louis, in 
Paris, and others in Toulouse, Bruguiere, etc., in the 
province. 

Whilst in Rome in 1847, M. Etienne, Superior General 
of the Priests of the Mission and Daughters of Charity, 
obtained from the Sovereign Pontiff a rescript dated 
June 20th, empowering him and his successors to estab- 
lish among the scholars attending the schools of the 
Daughters of Charity a pious confraternity, under the 
title of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed 
Virgin, with all the indulgences accorded the Congre- 



272 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



gation of the holy Virgin established at Eome for the 
scholars of the Society of Jesus. 

Three years later, the Sovereign Pontiff extended a 
similar favor to the youths educated by the Priests of 
the Mission ; also, to the little boys in charge of the 
Daughters of Charity. 

From this time, 1847, thanks to the benediction of 
Plus IX, the Sodality of the Children of Mary, spread 




The Miraculous Medal adopted as the Livery of the Children of Mary. 

rapidly in all quarters of the globe, wherever the 
Daughters of Charity were established. A manual con- 
taining the rules of the Association, its privileges and 
obligations, was compiled by M. Aladel, the Director of 
the work. The livery naturally adopted by the Children 
of Mary was the Miraculous Medal, suspended from a 
blue ribbon. 

The new Association from its very origin gave a won- 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 273 

derful impulse to youthful piety; humble girls, earning 
their daily bread, practiced the most heroic virtues, 
under the influence of a desire to become faithful Chil- 
dren of Mary; and, sustained by the same spirit, the 
poorest courageously resisted temptation, and complied 
with those duties so little esteemed at the present day — 
filial devotion and self-denial. 

To these precious fruits are also joined some beautiful 




The Miraculous Medal adopted as the Livery of the Children of Mary. 

flowers of devotion; how ea^-erly the Children of Mary 
repair to re-unions of the Association, especially on all 
their Mother's feasts, chanting her praises and exciting 
one another to fervent piety. 

But the death of these young girls is still more 
admirable than their life; many of them stricken down 
in the very bloom of youth, fortified with their medal 
and ribbon as with a precious talisman, smile at death 
and defy hell. 



274 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

Thirty years have passed since the grain of mustard 
seed was confided to the earth, and it has now become 
an immense tree, whose branches overshadow the most 
distant countries. Europe numbers nearly a thousand 
of these Sodalities, about six hundred being composed of 
externs, or mixed associates. They amount, in other 
portions of the world to nearly two hundred. This dis- 
plays the visible effects of the benediction of St. Peter's 
Successor; the promises made in 1830 were not realized 
until they had received the approbation of the Vicar of 
Jesus Christ, Pius IX., whose name will always be dear 
to the Children of Mary. 

The Associations vary in number from ten to three 
hundred sodalists, which gives us an average of eighty 
thousand young girls, courageously holding themselves 
aloof from satan's snares and pomps, and leading a life 
of purity and piety amidst the seductions of a corrupt 
world. 

Surely this must be a miracle of God's right hand 
and Mary's bounty! 

We have thought it would not be uninteresting to the 
readers, to give the statistics for the end of the year 
1877, of the Sodalities of the Children of Mary, estab- 
lished in the houses of the Daughters of Charity 
throughout the world. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



"275 



LIST OF THE 
SODALITIES OF CHILDREN OF MARY. 



SODALITIES. 



Internal. 

France 287 

Europe. 

(Exclusive ot France.) 

Belgium 11 

Switzerland 1 

Italy 55 

Spain 17 

Portugal 

Great Britain 2 

Poland 8 

Prussia 

Austria 4 

Greece 

Turkey 2 

Asia. 

Turkey 2 

Persia 

China 

Africa. 

Egypt 3 

Algeria . , 3 

Canary Isles 

America. 

United States 11 

Gautemala 4 

Brazil 11 

Peru 9 

La Plata 1 

Chili 3 

Cuba 5 

Mexico 9 

Ecuador 1 

Ocecmica. 

Philippine Isles... 1 



External 

and 

Mixed. 



sum:mary. 



) Internal Sodalities. . 
f External and Mixed 



.287 
.451 



Internal Sodalities. . 
External and Mixed 



100 
153 



451 



14 

7 

64 

25 

1 

13 
9 
5 
11 
1 
3 



( Internal Sodalities 2 

^ ^ External and Mixed 10 

-jr, / Internal Sodalities 6 

1 f External and Mixed 20 



44 
3 
9 
6 
6 
1 
4 
7 
1 



Internal Sodalities. . 
External and Mixed, 



54 

81 



Total 450 



721 



) Internal Sodalities 1 

f External and Mixed 6 

Total 1,171 



276 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



IIL — Definition of the Immaculate Conception. 

We have observed several times in the course of this 
work, that the principal end of the apparition of 1830, 
was to popularize belief in the Immaculate Conception. 
The facts we have related, prove most conclusively that, 
thanks to the Miraculous Medal, this object has been 
fully attained. 

As a preparation for the accomplishment of this great 
design. Providence placed in St. Peter's chair, a Pontiff 
animated with the most filial tenderness for Mary, and 
inspired him from the beginning of his pontificate, with 
the desire of glorifying the most holy Mother of God, by 
proclaiming the Immaculate Conception an article of 
Faith. And this hope, this desire, had Pius IX, in the 
ninth year of his reign, the happiness of realizing amidst 
the universal applause of the Catholic world. 

We quote below from M. Villefranche's beautiful 
History of Pius IX, the account of this memorable 
event: 

" By an Encyclical dated from Gaeta, Pius IX had 
interrogated the Episcopacy of the Universal Church, 
on the subject of the belief in the Immaculate Concep- 
tion. The answers received, were six hundred and three 
in number. Five hundred and forty-six Bishops 
earnestly entreated the doctrinal definition, a few hesi- 
tated, though only as to whether it were an opportune 
moment or not for the decision, for the sentiment of the 
Catholic world was in unison as regards the belief itself. 

" To assist at this solemnity, Pius IX summoned to 
his presence, all the Bishops who could repair to Kome. 
They came five hundred and ninety-two in number, and 
from all quarters of the globe except Eussia, where they 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 277 

were held in check by the suspicious despotism of the 
Emperor Nicholas. These prelates put the finishing 
touch to the work of the commission charged with pre- 
paring the Bull; but at the very moment of making the 
final pause in its rendition, it was asked if th? Bishops 
assisted there as judges, to pronounce the definition 
simultaneously with the Successor of St. Peter, and if 
their presence must be mentioned as judges, or, if the 
supreme judgment should not be attributed to the word 
of the Sovereign Pontiff alone. The debate terminated 
suddenly, as if by the inspiration of the Ho'y Spirit. 
^It was the last sitting,' says Mgr. Audisio, an eye- 
witness ; ' the hour of noon had just been sounded, 
every knee was bent to recite the Angelus, Then each 
one resumed his place, and scarcely had a word been 
spoken, when there arose a universal acclamation to the 
Holy Father, a cry of eternal adherence to the Primacy 
of St. Peter's See, and the debate was ended:' 'Petre^ 
doce nos ; confirma fratres tuos ! (Peter, teach us ; con- 
firm thy brethren !) ' And the instruction these pastors 
asked of the supreme Pastor was the definition of the 
Immaculate Conception. 

'^The 8th of December, 1854, was the grand clay, the 
triumphal day, which, according to the beautiful words 
of Mgr. Dupanloup's circular, 'crowns the hopes of past 
ages, blesses the present age, evokes the gratitude of 
future generations, and leaves an imperishable memory; 
the day that witnessed the first definition of Faith, 
which was not preceded by dissension and followed by 
heresy.' All Eome rejoiced. Immense multitudes, repre- 
senting every tongu3 and nation on the globe, thronged 
the approaches to the vast Basilica of St. Poter's, far too 
small to accommodate a'l who came. Soon, the Bishops 

24 



278 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

were seen forming into the line of march, ranged accord- 
ing to their seniority, and followed by the Cardinals. 
The Sovereign Pontiff, amidst the most brilliant sur- 
roundings, appeared last, whilst the chant of the Litany 
of the Saints, wafted to Heayen, invited the celestial 
court to unite with the Church militant in honoring the 
Queen of Angels and men. Seated upon his throne, 
Pius IX received the obeisance of the Cardinals and 
Bishops, after which the Pontifical Mass began. 

''When the Gospel had been chanted in Greek and 
Latin, Cardinal Macchi, Dean of the Sacred College, 
accompanied by the Dean of the Archbishops, and the 
Dean of the Bishops present, with an Archbishop of the 
Greek rite and one of the Armenian, presented them- 
selves at the foot of the throne, and supplicated the 
Holy Father, in the name of the universal Church, to 
raise his Apostolic voice and pronounce the dogmatic 
decree of the Immaculate Conception. The Pope replied 
that he willingly granted this prayer, but ere doing so 
he would invoke once more the assistance of the Holy 
Spirit. And, now, every voice united in the solemn 
strains of the Veni Creator. When the chant had ceased, 
the Pope arose, and in that grave, sonorous, majestic 
voice, to whose profound charm millions of the faithful 
have borne testimony, commenced reading the Bull. 

"He established: first, the theological motives for 
belief in Mary's privilege; then he adduced the ancient 
and universal traditions both of the East and West, the 
testimony of religious orders and schools of theology, 
of the holy Fathers and the Councils, and finally, the 
pontifical records, ancient as well as modern. His coun- 
tenance, as he pronounced the words inscribed upon 
these pious and magnificent documents, betrayed his 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 279 

emotion. Several times he was so overcome that for a 
few moments it was impossible for him to proceed. 
^And consequently/ he adds, ^ after having offered 
unceasingly in humility and fasting, our own prayers 
and the public prayers of the Church to God the Father 
through His Son, that He would deign to direct and 
confirm our thoughts by the inspiration of the Holy 
Spirit, after having implored the assistance of all the 
celestial court, ... in honor of the holy and 
indivisible Trinity, for the glory of the Virgin Mother 
of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the 
increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of 
Our Saviour, Jesus Christy the blessed Apostles, Peter 
and Paul, and our own.' ^ ^ ^ ^ 

"Here his voice was stifled with emotion, and he 
paused an instant to wipe away the tears. The assistants, 
deeply affected as well as himself, but mute with respect 
and admiration, awaited in profound silence the contin- 
uation. In a clear, strong voice, slightly elevated by 
enthusiasm, he proceeded : 

"^We declare, profess, and define, tliat the doctrine 
affirming that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved 
and exempt from all stain of original sin, from the first 
instant of her conception, in view of the merits of Jesus 
Christ, Saviour of men, is a doctrine revealed by God, 
and for this reason, all the faithful must believe it with 
firm and unwavering faith. Wherefore, if any one should 
have the presumption, which God forbid, to allow a 
belief contrary to what we have just defined, let him 
know that he wrecks his faith and separates himself 
from the unity of the Church.' 

"The Cardinal Dean, prostrating himself a second 
time at the feet of the Pontiff, supplicated him to 



280 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

publish the Apostolic letters containing the definition; 
the Promoter of the Faith, accompanied by the Apos- 
tolic Prothonotary also presented themselves, to beg that 
a verbal process of the decree be prepared. And now 
the cannon of the castle of St. Angelo and all the bells 
of the Eternul City, announced the glorification of the 
Immaculate Virgin ! 

^'In the evening, Eome, enwreathed in illuminations, 
and crowned with inscriptions and transparencies, 
resounded with joyous music, and was imitated at that 
very time by thou:ands of cities and villages all over 
the face of the globe. If we were to compile an account 
of the pious manifestations relating to this event, it 
would fill, not volumes, but libraries. The Bishops' 
responses to the Pope before the definition were printed 
in nine volumes ; the Bull itself, translated under the 
care of a learned French Sulpitian into every tongue 
and idiom of the universe, filled about ten volumes; the 
pastoral instructions, publishing and explaining the 
Bull, and the articles on the subject in religious journals, 
would certainly require several hundred, especially if we 
add thereto the poems, scraps of eloquence, and descrip^ 
tions of the monuments and fetes. We should not omit 
mention here of the spontaneous and incomparable 
periodical illuminations at Lyons, each time the course 
of the yea; brings round the memorable 8th of 
December.'' 

Pius IX knew tliat the Catholic movement leading to 
the definition of the Immaculate Conception had origi- 
nated in France, and lie was happy to see the French 
people CLthusiastically welcome the Pontifical decree of 
December 8th, and celebrate with unparalleled magnifi- 
cence Mary's glorious privilege. Henceforth, the love 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 281 

he bore that country was firmly rooted in his heart, and 
her misfortunes had but increased his tenderness and 
compassion. It consoles us to insert here the prayer 
to the Blessed Virgin which he composed, and recited 
daily to obtain for her the protection of the Queen of 
Heaven : 

"0 Mary! conceived without sin, look down upon 
France, pray for France, save France I The greater her 
guilt, the more need of your intercession. Only a word 
to Jesus reposing in your arms, and France is saved.'' 

"0 Jesus I obedient to Mary, save France ! " 





CHAPTEE VIII. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL 



.A^ISrO TliE "V7^A.I^. 



The wars which have taken place since the year 1854, 
the epoch of the definition of the Immaculate Concep- 
tion, have presented a spectacle to which the world was 
unaccustomed. Not only were jyriests called upon to 
administer to the spiritual necessities of the soldiers in 
camps and ambulances, but Sisters also were charged 
with the care of the sick and wounded. The priest's 
cassock and the robe of the religious, became almost as 
familiar to the eye as the military costume itself. 
Sisters of Charity accompanied the armies in the wars of 
the East, in 1854; in Italy, in 1859; in the United 
States, in 1861; in Mexico, in 1864; in Austria and 
Prussia, in 1866 ; in France and Germany, in 1870; and 
we find them ministering to the Russian army and also 
the Turkish ambulance in 1877. For them no enemies 



(383) 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 283 

existed; the camps of both belligerents claimed their 
attention, they were equally deyoted to aA who needed 
their ministry of charity. 

During the hardships and dangers of war, chaplains 
and Sisters could not fail to invoke the Blessed Virgin, 
and the Miraculous Medal naturally became the sign of 
the soldier's devotion and the pledge of our merciful 
Mother's protection, against the moral and physical 
dangers war brings in its train. The medal was 
profusely distributed; it was accepted and worn with 
confidence; even Protestants and Schismatics asking 
eagerly for it; officers as well as private soldiers attach- 
ing it to their uniforms when they set put for the combat ; 
the sick employed it to obtain recovery, or at least, an 
alleviation of their sufferings; the dying kissed it with 
love ; many attributed to it their preservation in battle^ 
and a still greater number were indebted to it for their 
eternal salvation. 

In proof of the above, we shall present some facts,, 
selected from the thousands related in the correspon- 
dence of the missionaries and Sisters who followed the 
several armies. 



WAR IK THE EAST, FROM 1854 to 1856. 

" On the Feast of the Assumption, we shall have at 
Varna, a beautiful religious ceremony, at which the 
whole army will assist. I have brought from Constan- 
tinople a banner of the Blessed Virgin ; this we will set 
up, and confidently invoking Mary, we know she will 
obtain the cessation of the cholera, and success of our 
arms."^ 

1 Letter of Mr. Bore, Aug. 13, 1854. 



284 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

" The inmates of our hospital of Pera, at Constanti- 
nople, number about twelve hundred, including sixty 
officers. These gentlemen receive the Miraculous Medal 
with joy and gratitude. Endeavor to find some good 
souls who will send us a large supply of these pious 
objects.' 



?? T 



" The three patients whose confessions I heard were 
poor Irish. They manifested great resignation in their 
sufferings ; all three asked for, and gratefully received 
a medal of the Immaculate Conception. An English 
officer (a Catholic), who wore Avith pious confidence the 
medal of Mary, told me that several of his colleagues, 
though Protestants, had accepted the medal and pre- 
served it respectfully, and that the cholera and balls of 
the Eussians had, so far, spared them." ^ 

"Even amidst the turmoil of Avar, and in spite of the 
multitude of sick and Avounded, the Catholics of Con- 
stantinople celebrated solemnly the definition of the 
dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Mr. Bore Avrote 
as folloAvs, March 22d, 1835 : ^The tyHdititm of thanks- 
giving for the declaration and promulgation of the dogma 
of the Immaculate Conception Avas fixei for the Feast of 
Saint Joseph. We haA'e endeavored to unite, in the 
expression of our joy, Avith that of the faithful through- 
out the Catholic Avorld, and to imitate, to the best of our 
ability, those magnificent and most consoling manifesta- 
tions that haA'e taken place in France, Avho in this has 
shoAvn a true loA^e for the Mother of God, a love already 
repaid by a ncAv development of national strength and 

1 Letter of a Sister, September 29. 

2 Letter of Mr. Bore, October 25. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 285 

vigor. The zeal and skill of our clear Sisters in charge 
of the adjoining establishment have greatly contributed 
to the splendor of the feast. The good taste and expe- 
rience of one of them suggested to her the idea of 
substituting for the large picture over the main altar a 
figure of the Immaculate Conception ; the Blessed Virgin 
was crowned with golden stars, her dress and drapery 
were rich and radiant in a glory of gauze, the whole 
framed in lilies. The head, borrowed from the portrait 
of a Circassian lady, and the golden crescent under her 
feet, were happy indications, both in color and emblem, 
of the events transpiring around us. A Catholic Arme- 
nian lady lent a set of diamonds, which flashed back the 
myriad flames of tapers and candles contained in candel- 
abras, hidden in the abundance of lilies. This illumi- 
nation, improvised by our pupils in imitation of those 
they knew Avould take place throughout France, was 
indeed an honor to their taste and piety.' " 

" We sometimes meet witli sick persons, who, through 
human respect, ignorance, or indifference, are prevented 
from receiving the succors of religion. We give them a 
medal of the Immaculate Conception, and the Blessed 
Virgin charges herself Avith their conversion. Nearly 
always, without any other inducement, and, as it were, 
of themselves, they ask for the priest and prepare to 
receive the Sacraments, manifesting the most lively 
sorrow for having offended God and abused His benefits. 
I could cite examples by thousands.'' 

"N'umbers of soldiers wear the Miraculous Medal, 
the scapular, a reliquary, a cross, or sometimes not one 
but all of these, and those who do not possess these 
articles are happy to receive them. In a word, the army 
is, in a great measure, Catholic, and knows how to pray.'^ 



286 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

"A soldier wounded in both legs at the battle of 
Alma, received for more than two months, the unremit- 
ting attention of the physicians and Sisters though 
without experiencing any relief. Having despaired of 
saving his life otherwise, the surgeons decided upon 
amputation. They began by the limb which was most 
shattered. Next day the patient was in a hopeless con- 
dition ; there was no question of further amputation. 
Kecourse was then had to supernatural remedies; a 
novena was made to the Immaculate Mary, and in a few 
days the patient showed signs of improvement. He is 
now cured, and his piety and good example are the 
admiration of his comrades." ^ 

"A patient who was brought in yesterday, refused to 
go to confession. I placed under his pillow a medal of 
the Blessed Virgin, and left him quiet, continuing to 
give him assiduous care. This morning he called me, 
and in a resolute ton", inquired if people here died like 
dogs. ' I am a Christian, and I wish to confess.' ' Yester- 
day I proposed confession,' said I, * but you objected, 
and even sent the priest away.' ' It is true,' he replied ; 
^but I am sorry for having done so; ^ I wish now to see 
him as soon as possible.' Since his confession he is com- 
pletely changed ; and calmly awaits the approach of 
death." ^ 

^^ Among the Eussian prisoners brought to Constanti- 
nople after the battle of Tchernaia, many wore the 
medal of the Immaculate Conception. By this I under- 
stood at once that they were Catholics and Poles." ^ 

1 Report of Mr. Doumerq, 1855. 

2 Letter of a Sister, 1855. 

3 Letter of Mr. Bore, August 25, 1855. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 287 

"A young lieutenant in the eighty-fifth regiment, had 
been wounded in the skull, and when brought to the 
hospital, his throat was gangrened, and he could scarcely 
speak. A secret sympathy attracted us towards each 
other, and he accepted gratefully the services I rendered 
him. As he was evidently sinking, I spoke to him of the 
Blessed Virgin, and alluded to the medal he wore around 
his neck. He smiled, and replied by pressing my hand. 
When his confession (during which he regained his 
voice and strength) was finished, lie said : ' Monsieur 
abbe, I have a favor to ask of you.' ' What is it, my 
friend ? tell me ; I am anxious to gratify you.' ' Be so 
kind,' said he, ' as to inform Father Bore that I am here, 
and am very ill.' These words pierced my heart; how- 
ever, I was able to answer him : * Father Bore is he who 
now speaks to you.' Eaising his eyes moistened with 
tears, and, again pressing my hand, he added : ' I am 
the brother-in-law of your dear friend, Mr. Taconet, and 
also brother of the captain of zouaves, whom yon 
assisted a year ago at Varna.' I then recognized in him 
Mr. Ferdinand Lefaivre; he had been recommended to 
me by a pressing letter from Mr. Taconet, but this letter 
reached me only after my young friend's death. Mr. 
Taconet wrote that, on the eleventh of May, the lieu- 
tenant with his family had heard Mass at the church of 
Notre Dame des Victoires, and that he did not doubt but 
the Blessed Virgin Avculd watch over a life so precious. 
His hope was not misplaced, for the Blessed Virgin 
called him to herself, fortified with the Sacraments, on 
the day of her triumph." ^ 

1 Letter of August 25, 1855. 



2S8 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

^^ While we were invoking our Immaculate Mother, on 
the eve of a combat, in which one of our young soldiers 
was to take part for the first (and perhaps last) time, he 
arose and went to Mary's altar; kneeling an instant, he 
arose again, and hung around the statue's neck a silver 
heart, in which were inscribed hia^ name and the names 
of his parents. I feel, as St. Vincent has forcibly 
expressed it, that he did not perform this act of devotion 
without tearful eyes and a sobbing heart." ^ 

'^ A serious fire had broken out in the city of Salonica. 
The flames soon appeared opposite Ihe Sisters' house, 
the buildings on the other side of the street, a few yards 
distant, being seized and devoured by the fire, which the 
wind continued to fan into activity. Already the Sisters' 
roof and that of the adjoining house were covered with 
dense smoke. I cast therein several Miraculous Medals. 
There was no prospect of human succor, as the rumor 
of there being powder in the vicinity had caused every 
one to seek safety in flight. I also retired, deeming it 
useless to expose myself longer ; and besides, I was 
obliged to go to the assistance of a poor man, who, par- 
tially intoxicated, persisted in remaining near the fire. 
I returned shortly after, expecting to see our houses in 
flames ; I doubted not but they would be wholly con- 
sumed. As I approached, a young man stopped me 
on the way, and said : ' Your property is saved, sir; the 
Sisters' house is not even in dano^er.' Onlv on reachino' 
the scene could I be convinced that he had spoken truly. 
It would be impossible to express my emotion at the 
sight. I sent to inform our dear Sisters of the fact, and 
they could scarcely credit this marvellous preservation. 

1 Letter of Sister M , 1855. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 289 

It suffices to add, that all Salonica is unanimous in pro- 
nouncing it a miracle." ^ 

" In an ambulance crowded with Kussians was a young 
Pole, severely wounded and suffering intolerable pain ; 
he earnestly invoked the sweet and merciful Virgin 
Mary. By his side lay a Kussian Prote&tant, wounded 
also, and attacked by violent dysentery. So offensive was 
the odor from his disease, that both patients and nurses 
complained. He appeared utterly indifferent to every- 
thing concerning religion. He took no notice of the 
Sister as she passed and repassed ; he never even deigned 
to look at her. The young Pole, on the contrary, called 
her frequently, and gratefully received her care and con- 
solations. One evening our young Catholic was suffer- 
ing more than usual; the pain drew tears from his eyes; 
his groans and cries were incessant. He called the 
Sister and begged her to help him, saying his patience 
was exhausted ; he was in despair ; his sufferings were 
excruciating. The Polish Sister, consoling and encour- 
aging him, bade him have confidence, and gave him a 
medal to apply to the wounded limb. The young man 
followed her suggestion ; and laying his hand on the 
medal to keep it in place, he soon fell asleep. Our 
Protestant appeared unconscious of what was going on, 
yet he had seen and examined all. Some days after, he 
called our Polish Sister to him, (she was the only one 
who could understand him) and siid: ^Sister, please 
give me what you gave this young man that did him so 
much good, for I suffer greatly I' 'My friend, she 
replied, I desire nothing batter than to relieve you also; 
but you lack what effected his cure, faith and confi- 

1 Letter of Mr. Turroque, July 16, 1856. 
25 



290 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

dence. Yon Protestants deny the power of the Blessed 
Virgin; you do not acknowledge her as your Queen, 
your Advocate, your Mother. So what can I do ? It 
was a medal of Mary that so speedily relieved your 
neighbor, the young Pole.' * Give me one also. Sister,' 
he answered; 'I believe all that you tell me; you do 
good to every one, why should you deceive me? ' 'But,' 
said the Sister, have you confidence in Mary, the Mother 
of God? Do you believe in her mercy and her power?' 
'I believe all that you believe, Sister, since Mary hears 
the prayers of the unfortunate, and brings relief to the 
suffering, she cannot deceive us!' The Sister, much 
consoled at hearing these words, gave him a medal, and 
our admirable talisman effected in his soul most gratify- 
ing results. He asked to receive instruction from a 
priest, and after some days employed in studying the 
holy doctrines of the Church, and in assiduous prayer 
to Mary he abjured his errors. As he had been sepa- 
rated from the otlier patients, on account of the 
unpleasant odor we have mentioned, he was at full 
liberty to act as he wished. After his baptism, and the 
reception of the holy Eucharist, being unable to restrain 
his transports, he exclaimed : ' Oh ! how happy I am ! 
My heart has never known such joy ! I am content to 
die, and I do not regret having been struck on the battle- 
field ! To my wound do I owe my salvation. Oh ! how 
we poor Protestants are deceived ! By what lies are we 
led astray ! How good God is to rescue me from error ! 
May the sweet and holy Virgin be known and loved 
always and everywhere ! ' And in these beautiful dispo- 
sitions, he expired." ^ 

1 Letter of Sister M , July 9, 1857. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 291 

"A sergeant advanced in years had been suffering for 
three months from a severe dysentery; one morning the 
Sister who was visiting the sick found him in tears. 
^Ah! my brave soldier/ said she, ^ what is the meaning 
of all this grief ? ' '0 Sister/ he exclaimed, ' lend me 
patience, for mine is exhausted. I am in despair; I can 
endure my sufferings no longer; I feel that I am going 
to die, and just at the time I was to receive a pension — 
at the very moment I hoped to return to my country 
with honor and see my family once more. Must I die 
afar from home and leave my bones in a strange land ? ' 
Groans were mingled with his words, and his gestures 
had all the violence of despair. The Sister who relates 
the fact says : ^ My heart ached at witnessing the grief 
of this brave man, with his white hairs and numerous 
scars. However, as my tears would not have dried his, 
I tried to rouse his courage by other means, and I prom- 
ised him a perfect cure if he would unite in prayer with 
our little family at the hospital. Giving him a Miracu- 
lous Medal, I recommended him to God and Mary with 
my whole heart. We made a novena to the Immaculate 
Virgin, and ere its termination our sergeant was entirely 
cured.'' ^ 

"Every evening our soldiers assembled around the 
Sisters in charge and sang pious canticles; they even 
composed music and words suited to the occasion. These 
they intoned, uniting their deep, sonorous voices with 
the Sisters'. In unison and harmony of mind as of 
voice, they repeated in chorus the sacred names of Jesus 
and Mary as a rallying cry of hope, confidence and 
triumph — a chant of love, a united echo of heaven and 
country. Then their hearts thrilled with joy inex- 

1 Letter of Sister M •, July 9, 1857. 



292 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

pressible, and they were filled with pride and happiness 
at the thought of belonging to that France who imparts 
to her children the heroism of courage and the virtue of 
the perfect Christian. During the month of May our 
military concerts were multiplied; all were rivals in 
zeal. The altars were adorned with admirable piety and 
taste, notwithstanding our extreme poverty. Entire 
trees were felled to assist in concealing the dilapidated 
state of the barracks, which had been converted into 
chapels. Had our soldiers been free to do so, they would 
have despoiled the gardens of the Turks to adorn the 
sanctuary of the Queen of Heaven. 

" In the ambulances of Pera seme of the most zealous 
soldiers, both officers and privates, wished to present 
Mary a solemn homage of their devotedness and grati- 
tude. They chose a heart as the symbol of their senti- 
ments. All the balls extracted from their wounds were 
collected to compose the offering. But a soldier sud- 
denly exclaimed with enthusiasm : ' Comrades, what are 
we doing? Shall we offer the Blessed Virgin a schismati- 
cal heart ? All these balls are Eussians ! ' ' True,' replied 
another, Hhese balls are Russian; we must have French 
balls. Let us ask the Eussians for those we sent them.' 
'Stay,' said a third, 'you have forgotten that these 
Eussian balls are stained with our blood ! ' 'Well, then, 
let us use them/ suggested a fourth, 'the French balls 
will form the centre.' They went immediately to ask 
the Eussians for the French balls. These were willingly 
given. The heart was prepared; their names inscribed 
on it with the designation of the regiment, and the 
offering was presented to Mary amid the most lively 
acclamations and transports of joy and gratitude." ^ 

1 Letter of Sister M., July 9, 1857. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 293 

ITALIAN WAR, 1859. 

Letter of Sister Coste: 

Gaeta, December 18th, 1860. 

During the siege of Gaeta, the Sisters of Charity 
willingly remained in the city, to assist the sick and 
wounded Neapolitans. They felt that there was no 
greater security against the dangers to which they were 
exposed, than that of recommending themselves and 
their abode to the protection of the Blessed Virgin, by 
means of the Miraculous Medal. Their Superioress, 
■Sister Coste, wrote December 18th, 1860: " Frequently 
the cannon roars in our ears ; bombs whiz around us, 
but divine Providence is our shield. The first night of 
our sleeping at the palac?, we were saluted by the Pied- 
montese, who sent us a multitude of bombs; one of 
them burst just outside our room, and you might have 
supposed a thunderbolt had fallen. Yet, the precious 
medal of our Immaculate Mother, which we had placed 
at all the doors and windows, shielded us from the 
danger. A large piec3 of iron detached itself from the 
bomb above mentioned, and remains in the Avail, a visible 
testimony of Mary's protection. This circums'ance reani- 
mated our confidence, and we hesitate not to pa?s through 
the streets, notwithstanding the whizzing of projectiles." 



UNITED STATES. 

Extracts of letters written by Sisters of Charity during 

the War of Sacesnon, from 1861 to 1865: 

'' Military. Hcspital {House of Refuge), ") 
"St, Louis, Missoitri, J 

^^Many of our poor soldiers scarcely knew of the 

existence of God, and had never even heard baptism 

25* 



294 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

mentioned. But, when the Sisters explained to them 
the necessity of this Sacrament, and the goodness of 
God, who, by means of it, cleanses us from the original 
stain, 'and adopts us as His children, they Avere filled 
with the deepast emotion, and often shed tears. On one 
occasion, a patient said : ' Sister, do not leave me ; tell 
me more about that good God whom I ought to love. 
How is it that I have lived so long and have never heard 
Him spoken of as. you have just done ? What must I 
do to become a child of God?' 'You must,' replied 
the Sister, 'believe and be baptized.' 'Well, baptize 
me,' was his answer. The Sister persuaded him to await 
the arrival of Father Burke, who would be there next 
morning. The patient consented reluctantly. 'Ah!' 
said he, ' it is very long to wait, and I am so weak ; if I 
die unbaptized, I shall not go to Heaven.' To relieve 
his anxiety, the Sister promised to watch near him and 
administer baptism, should she perceive any unfavorable 
change in his condition. ' Now,' said he, ' I am satis- 
fied ; I rely on you to open for me the gates of Heaven ; 
it is through your intervention I must enter.' He spent 
a quiet night. Next morning. Father Burke admitted 
him into the Catholic Church, by the Sacrament of 
Baptism, which he received with admirable piety. A 
crucifix was presented him; grasping it eagerly, he kissed 
it, saying as he did so : '0 my God ! I did not know 
Thee or love Thee before coming to this hospital ! ' 
Then, turning to the Sister, he said : ' Sister, I have 
forgotten the prayer you taught me;' and he repeated 
after her several times, ^My Father, into Thy hands I 
commend my spirit, sweet Jesus, receive my soul.' He 
-died pronouncing these words." 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 295 

"The precise number of baptisms cannot be ascer- 
tained; there were probably seven hundred during the 
two or three years of our residence in the hospital. Five 
hundred Catholics who had led careless or sinful lives 
returned sincerely to God and resumed the practice of 
their religious duties. A great number of these had 
received no other Sacrament than that of Baptism, and 
they made their first Communion at the hospital. The 
majority of the newly baptized died; the others on 
leaving aske 1 for medals and catechisms, saying they 
desired to instruct themselves and their families." 
• 

"A soldier named Nichols fell dangerously ill, and in 
a few days was reduced to the last extremity. Vainly 
did we strive to touch his heart and awaken him to a 
sense of religion. His sufferings were terrible; both 
day and night was he denied repose, and he could 
scarcely remain a moment in the same position. His 
condition was most pitiful. Many of his companions, 
knowing that he had never been baptized, and having 
perceived the beneficial effects of baptism upon others, 
begged the Sisters to propose to him the reception of 
this Sacrament, thinking it might be a comfort to him, 
and not being aware of the many efforts that had already 
been made to induce him to believe in its necessity and 
efficacy. However, we redoubled our efforts, and placed 
a Miraculous Medal under his pillow. His comrades 
regarded his sufferings as a visible chastisement of his 
impiety. We could not induce him to pronounce the 
name of God, but he implored the physician, in the most 
heart-rending accents, not to let him die. Four days 
passed without the least change, when one of his com- 
panions, who appeared the most deeply interested in his 



296 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

welfare, said to him, with eyes filled with tears, how 
much he regretted to see him die thus, utterly bereft of 
a hope for the future. The other soldiers had engaged 
this man to acquaint the patient with his danger, and 
persuade him to make his peace with God, for they saw 
that human respect alone prevented his showing any 
signs of repentance. This last effort of charity was 
crowned with success; he called for the Sister, and when 
she came, said to her: ' Sister, 1 am ready to do all you 
wish.' After instructing him in what was necessary for 
salvation, and feeling convinced of the sincerity of his 
dispositions, she asked him by whom •he wished to be 
baptized. * By any one you please,' was his answer. 
But, to be sure that he did not desire a Protestant min- 
ister, she said : ' Shall I send for the priest who attends 
this ward ?' ^ Yes,' he replied, ^it is he I wish to bap- 
tize me.' The priest was sent for without delay, and we 
had the inexpressible consolation of seeing this poor 
sinner admitted into the number of the children of God 
by the very person who, a fcAv days previous, had been 
an object of his raillery. He became perfectly calm, 
and expired shortly after, invoking the holy name of 
Jesus." 

" Among the patients was a poor young man named 
William Hudson, who for a long time refused to receive 
baptism. The Sisters, however, nowise discouraged, 
explained to him the Sacrament of Baptism, and 
instructed him in the mysteries of our holy religion, 
and the Sister, under whose immediate charge he was, 
hung a medal around his neck. Finally, he asked to 
speak to good Father Burke ; was baptized, and expired 
in the most edifying dispositions, pronouncing the holy 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 297 

name of Mary. Several others followed his example, 
and made their peace with God before death." 

" Mr. Huls, a man of thirty-five, though convinced of 
the necessity of baptism, postponed the reception of it 
from day to day. Knowing that he had but little 
attraction for our holy religion, I forbore to mention the 
subject two frequently. Nevertheless, seeing that death 
was rapidly approaching, I placed a medal under his 
pillow and begged the Blessed Virgin to take charge of 
his salvation. The next day, just as I was turning away 
after giving him a drink, he called me and said : 
' Sister, what ought I to do to prepare for the next 
world?' I told him that it was necessary to repent of 
his sins, because sin is the greatest of evils, and it had 
caused the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ; 
that God's goodness and mercy towards sinners are 
infinite, and that He is always ready to pardon us, even 
at the last moment, if we sincerely return to Him. I 
urged him to cast himself with confidence into the arms 
of this merciful Father, who earnestly desired to open 
for him the gates of the Eternal City, and I added that 
it was absolutely necessary to be baptized. He assured 
me that he believed all I had said to him; he then 
repeated with fervor the acts of faith, hope, charity, 
contrition, and resignation to the will of God. Seeing 
that he w^as entering into his agony, I baptized him ; the 
Sacraments appeared to revive his strength. He began 
to pray, and made such beautiful aspirations of love and 
gratitude to God, that one might have said his good 
angel inspired them, particularly the act of contrition. 
I remained with him to the last, praying for him, when 
he had not strength to do so himself; if I paused a 



298 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

moment through fear of fatiguing him : * Go on Sister/ 
he would say in dying accents, ^I can still pray.' " 

"Another soldier, William Barrett, scarcely twenty 
years of age, was almost in a dying condition when 
brought to the hospital. After doing all I could for the 
relief of his poor body, I inquired very cautiously as to 
the state of his soul. Alas ! it was deplorable ; not that 
he had committed great crimes, but that he was entirely 
ignorant of everything relating to his salvation. He 
had never said a prayer, and he hardly knew of the 
existence of a God. My first conversation with him on 
the subject of religion, was not altogether pleasing to 
him, for he did not understand it; but when I had 
briefly explained the principal articles of Faith, he 
listened very attentively, and begged me to tell him 
something more. When I told him that our Lord had 
loved us so much as to become man and die on a cross 
for our salvation, he could not restrain his tears : 
*0h!' said he, 'why did no one ever tell me that? Oh! 
if I had only known it sooner ! How could I have lived 
so long without knowing and loving my God!' I now 
prepared him to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and 
tried to make him sensible of God's great mercy, in 
bringing him to the hospital, that he might die a holy 
death. He understood this and much more, for grace 
had spoken to this poor heart, so truly penetrated with 
sorrow for sin. 'I wish to love God,' said he, 'but I am 
such a miserable creature ! I would like to pray, but I 
do not know how. Sister, pray for me, please.' I 
promised to do so, and offering him a medal of the 
Blessed Virgin, I told him that by wearing it, he would 
secure the intercession of the Mother of God, who is 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 299 

ever powerful with her divine Son. He gladly accepted 
the medal, put it around his neck, and repeated, not 
only the aspiration, Mary! conceived without sin, pray 
for us who have recourse to thee, but other prayers, to 
obtain the grace of a happy death. He then asked me 
when I would have him carried to the river, for he was 
under the impression that he could not be baptized with- 
out being immersed. I explained to him the manner in 
which the Catholic Church administers this Sacrament, 
and the dispositions necessary for receiving it. Listening 
eagerly to every word I uttered, ' Pray with me. Sister, '^ 
said he, 'come nearer, that I may hear you better, for I 
do not know how to pray.' He repeated with great fervor 
all the prayers I recited, and thought only of preparing 
himself for his baptism which was to take place on the 
following day. From that time he wished to converse 
with the Sisters only. If his companions or the atten- 
dants came to him, he answered them in a few words, 
evidently showing that he desired to be alone with his- 
God. One of the officers asked him, if he wished any 
one to write to his family. ' Do not speak to me of my 
family now,' said he, 'the Sisters have written to my 
parents. I wish for nothing but to pray and to be 
baptized.' And the words ever on his lips, were these: 
' God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Towards evening 
he became so weak, that I thought it best to remain 
with him. At three o'clock in the morning, fearing that 
he was in his agony, I administered the Sacrament of 
Eegeneration ; he lived till seven o'clock. The fervor 
with which he united in the prayers was truely edifying ; 
even when scarcely able to speak, he tried to express his 
gratitude to God for His goodness and mercy to him. 
He was most anxious to quit this world, that he might 



300 THE MIKACULOUS MEDAL. 

goto that Father, who had admitted him into the number 
of His children, and whom he so earnestly desired to 
see and know/' 

" A soldier, advanced in age, told me one day, that in 
his country the prejudices of the people were so strong 
against our Faith, that they w^ould refuse hospitality to 
a traveler did they know him to be a Catholic; as to 
himself, he had never met with a Catholic previous to 
his coming to the hospital; but what he had seen here 
(nothing comparable to which had he ever witnessed 
among Protestants), was sufficient to convince him of 
the truth of Catholicity; that he had belonged to the 
Presbyterian Church, but he would remain in it no 
longer, and desired to be instructed in our holy religion. 
I gave him a catechism and some other books, which he 
read with great attention. Perceiving that h*s end 
approached, he asked for a priest and was baptized. 'If 
it were the Avill of God,' said he, speaking of his property, 
which was considerable, ' I should like to live a little 
longer and enjoy my fortune; but if the Lord wills 
otherwise, I am ready to leave all.' He was ever repeat- 
ing these words : ' Not as I will, Lord, but as Thou 
wilt.' From the moment of his baptism, he applied 
himself most deligently to a profitable disposition of the 
remainder of life, that he might prepare for his journey 
to eternity. At times, w^hen he felt a little stronger, he 
studied the catechism ; and when he could no longer 
hold a book, he prayed and meditated in silence. One 
day as I was giving him a drink, he showed me his 
medal. 'Ah!' said he, tears of gratitude streaming 
down his cheeks, behold ! my Mother. I kiss her every 
hour ! ' He prayed constantly, even Avhen he could 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 301 

neither eat, drink, nor sleep. Once when he was 
extremely w^eak, the attendants having changed his 
position, he fainted, and rallied only with great difficulty. 
On perceiving that I was trying to restore him : 'Ah ! 
Sister,' said he, ' why did yon not let me go ? ' He also 
remarked to the attendants, that he feared the Sister 
would prolong his life for a month, but his fears were 
not realized; in a few days he slept the sleep of the just. 

"One of the soldiers, who had been a long time in the 
hospital, having fallen very ill, I tried to persuade him 
to make his peace with God, before going to meet that 
God as his Judge. My efforts met with little success ; 
he did not admit the necessity of baptism, and he was 
not in the least concerned about his salvation. But he 
accepted a medal, and without being aware of it, he 
swallowed some drops of holy water. Then I recom- 
mended him very earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, and in 
a few days after he asked to be instructed, and was bap- 
tized. We could not give him greater pleasure than to 
pray beside him. lie received Extreme Unction with 
deep and sincere devotion, and expired in the most 
happy dispositions." 

" In the hospital was a soldier named Sanders, who, 
though not very ill, Avas unable to join his regiment. 
He had no idea of religion. I remarked that he observed 
us very closely, as if examining our conduct; nothing 
escaped him. Before leaving, he came to bid me good-by 
and thank me for the care I had bestowed upon him. I 
was somewhat surprised, as I had had no occasion of 
serving him; but, seeing he was so well disposed, I 
profited by the opportunity to offer him a medal and a 



302 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

book explaining the Catholic Faith. He accepted them 
with gratitude, and returned to his regiment. A year 
later, he came again to the hospital, hastening to inform 
me of his conversion, and seeking a priest, by whom he 
was gladly instructad and received into the fold of the 
Holy Church. ^I owe my conversion,' said he, ^to the 
intercession of the Immaculate Mary and your prayers, 
and it has been my happy lot to bring other souls to 
God.' This was, indeed, the case ; employed in a mili- 
tary hospital, where he was the only Catholic, by his 
zeal and solicitude he instructed many poor sick, called 
a priest, had them baptized, and enjoyed the consolation 
of procuring eternal happiness for a large number of his 
fellow-soldiers." 

"In 1862, a Sister of the hospital at New Orleans 
gave a medal to one of the attendants on the point of 
setting out for the army, and she advised him to keep it 
always about him. Some time after, he returned, having 
received a slight wound on the head. On seeing the 
Sister, he exclaimed: 'Sister, here is the medal you 
gave me ; it has saved my life ! Just in the midst of 
battle, the string by which the medal hung around my 
neck broke, and whilst the cannons were roaring around 
us, I attached it to a button of my uniform; all my 
companions fell, and I escaped with this slight con- 
tusion.' " 

''Military Hosjntal of Fhiladelphia. 

"A soldier was brought to the hospital grievously 
wounded. A few questions which the Sister put to him 
on the subject of religion revealed the fact, that not only 
was he not baptized, but also most ignorant of the 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 303 

truths essential to salvation. The Sister then began to 
instruct him, and with all requisite prudence, gave him 
to understand that the physicians despaired of his 
recovery. From this moment he listened with the 
deepest interest to explanations of the catechism; and, 
one day, when Sister had spoken to him of the necessity 
of that Sacrament which renders us children of God 
and heirs of heaven, he joined his hands and said in 
the most beseeching tone : ' Oh ! do not let me die 
without baptism!' The Sister then asked him from 
what minister he desired to receive this Sacrament and 
he replied: ^From yours; from him Avho says Mass in 
the Sister's Chapel.' Before the close of the day. Father 
MacGrane had satisfied the sick man's pious desire, and 
the new Christian, filled with joy, incessantly repeated 
acts of love and gratitude. The physician, making his 
evening visit, found him so ill, that he directed the 
attendant to watch him all night, saying he might die 
at any moment. Before retiring, the Sister gave him a 
medal of the Blessed Virgin, and briefly narrating to 
him how this tender Mother had often wrought miracu- 
lous cures by^ means of her blessed image ; she encouraged 
the dying man to address himself to Mary with entire 
confidence. 

" Next morning she was surprised to find him better ; 
but he was much troubled about ' his piece,' which he 
could not find ; he feared it had been taken away. The 
Sister soon found and restored it to him ; receiving it 
most joyfully, he asked for a string and placed the 
medal over his wound. When the physician came, 
which was soon after, he was no less surprised than the 
Sister at perceiving the change in his patient's condition. 
The patient, (Duken by name), continued to improve, 



304 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and in a few weeks he could Avalk with the aid of 
crutches. His first visit w^as to the chapel ; from that 
day, whenever w^e had Mass, he rose at five o'clock in 
order to assist at it; and so eager was he for Father 
MacGrane's instructions, that the intervening time from 
one Sunday to another seemed to him very long. He 
attributed his cure to the Blessed Virgin, and it was 
indeed most remarkable ; for he was out of the physi- 
cian's hands long before many other soldiers of the same 
ward whose wounds were less dangerous, and who had 
received the same attentions, were able to leave their 
beds. He asked for a furlough that he might visit his 
wife, whom he was very anxious to see a member of the 
true Chuch, but ' knowing her prejudice against Catho- 
lics, he dared hope for such a happiness.' It was, never- 
theless, granted him ; she consented to be baptized with 
her children, and Uuken returned to the hospital, 
blessing Grod and the holy Virgin for the wonderful 
graces bestowed on his family. 

''Our Sisters of the South, like those of the North, 
were in great demand wherever sufierings and miseries 
claimed relief, and they responded to the call with a 
holy courage and eagerness. 

'* In these divers localities was the Miraculous Medal 
the instrument God frequently employed in delivering 
souls from the yoke of Satan. How often have we seen 
Mary's image kissed respectfully by lips which had 
formerly uttered only blasphemies against the Mother of 
God ! • Every one asked for a medal ; some, no doubt, 
urged by curiosity or the desire of possessing a souvenir 
of the Sisters, as they themselves acknowledged ; but, 
even so, they could not carry upon their person this 
sweet image, without growing better and experiencing 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 305 

the effects of Mary's protection. In nearly every case, 
what rendered the triumph of grace still more remark- 
able was the fact of its acting upon men who were not 
only ignorant, but fanatical, hating the name of Catholic, 
and excited to fury at the sight of a priest. A Sister 
relates that she ventured, one day, to ask a soldier, who 
was in the threshold of eternity, if he had been baptized. 
^No,' was the reply, in a voice of thunder; ^no, and I 
have no wish to be plunged in water just now. Let me 
alone ! ^ 

" ' Kecommending him to Mary,' says the Sister, ' I 
left him. Towards evening, I heard a noise in the ward 
in the direction of his bed, and the attendant came in 
haste to say that the patient had sent for me.' ^Ah!' 
said the latter, in a tone very different from that of his 
morning's speech; '1 am dying, baptize me, I beg of 
you.' 'Giving him briefly the necegsary instruction, I 
administered the holy rite, and a few hours later he 
peacefully expired.' 

'' Earely did these poor soldiers complain of their 
fate ; though but little accustomed to the rigors of mili- 
tary life, they bore them with admirable patience. 
However, there was one exception to the general rule, 
that of an old soldier, who murmured continually and 
accused God of afflicting him unjustly. Arguments 
were worse than useless, they served but to aggravate 
the evil. Failing in this means to bring him to a better 
state of mind, I offered him a medal of the Blessed 
Virgin. By degrees, his complaints ceased, his counte- 
nance became composed and serene, and I had the 
consolation of seeing him expire in the most edifying 
dispositions." 



306 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



THE WAR BETWEE]^ PRUSSIA AND AUSTRIA, 1866. 

Letter of Mr. Stroever, Priest of the Mission, July 
1st, 1867: 

" The wounded arrive in great numbers, and all our 
houses are filled. Every one wishes to have a medal ; I 
inquired of one, who had begged for a medal at any 
price, if he were a Catholic. ' No,' was the answer ; ' I 
am a Protestant, but I Avould like to have it as a souvenir 
of yourself;' and he received it most gratefully, 

" We observe a certain degree of piety among the sol- 
diers, and the sick are most eager to receive the Sacra- 
ments. The Protestants show a remarkable inclination 
to Catholicity. jSTot only the private soldiers, but even 
persons of distinction, Avishing to have medals, scapulars 
or a crucifix. They take no measures to conceal these 
objects of devotion, and no one seems surprised at seeing 
them on their persons." 



REMIKISCEKCES OF THE COMMUKE, PARIS, 1871. 

Notes of a Sister of the Hospital d'Enghien : 
" During the siege, we had placed Miraculous Medals 
over all the doors and windows of the house. As one of 
our Sisters expressed the intention of concealing them, 
Sister Catherine exclaimed: ^No, no; they must be 
seen ; put them in the middle of the principal entrance.' 
"During the few days immediately preceding our 
departure from the house, the federal national guards 
said to one another : ' Let us go and ask the venerable 
Sister Catherine for medals; she has given some to our 
comrades who have shown them to us, we would like to 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 307 

have them too.' 'But you, poor creatures/ replied a 
Sister, 'you have no faith, no religion, Avhat good will 
the medal do you.' ' Very true. Sister,' said they, ' we 
have not much faith, but we believe in the medal ; it has 
protected others, it will also protect us, and when we go 
to battle, it will help us to die as brave soldiers.' Good 
Sister Catherine gave medals to all who presented them- 
selves, and many, who belonged to the enemy, sent their 
comrades to procure them. 

"After the army had entered Paris, thirty of the 
wounded insurgents, before being brought to trial, were 
sent to the Hospital d'Eughein to be nursed by the 
Sisters. The house was already transformed into an 
ambulance, and we were obliged to take one of the dor- 
mitories of the orphans for the newly-arrived patients. 
The appearance of these men were so frightful, that 
Sister Eugenie who had been appointed to attend them, 
had not the courage for the first two days to make any 
suggestions to them concerning religion ; but finally, 
feeling that she must comply with her duty, and urged by 
the advice of a companion, she went to Sister Catherine 
and asked for medals for the insurgents. Sister gave 
them cheerfully, and enc'ouraged her to use this powerful 
means of inspiring these unfortunate men with Christian 
sentiments. Animated by this thought, Sister Eugenie 
repaired to the ward, and much affected, proposed 
to say evening prayers. 'Yes, Sister,' answered some 
among them. Trembling, she began; but at the 
Creed, overcome by excitement and terror, she wept 
like a child, and was obliged to pause. When she 
recovered her voice, it was not to continue the 
prayers, but to tell the prisoners how much she felt at 
the thought that on the morrow, they would be judged 



308 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and perhaps condemned ; then making them a brief 
exhortation, inspired by the circumstances, she offered 
to give each one a medal of the Blessed Virgin, begging 
them to retain it about their person, happen what might. 
The proposition was accepted immediately, but Sister 
Eugenie was too frightened to give the medal into their 
hands; in the middle of the night, when all seemed to 
be asleep, she quietly placed a medal under each one's 
pillow. How great was her joy next morning, to see all 
these poor insurgents with the medal around their neck. 
" The Superioress came into the hall where the men 
were collected and asked if they wished a priest to come 
and hear their confessions. All consented with unequiv- 
ocal signs of gratitude.. A good priest, one of the 
hostages of the Commune, came and heard their confes- 
sion. On leaving them he seemed much consoled, and 
said he had every reason to hope for their salvation. 
The unfortunate men left the house at seven o'clock, 
and were conducted to Versailles; they were calm and 
resigned, and when about to leave, showed the Sisters 
the medal they wore. Doubtless, God accepted the 
sacrifice of their life in atonement for their faults." 




CHAPTEE IX. 



Recent Apparitions of tie Blessei Virp 

IN FRANCE, ITALY AND GERMANY, 

THE CONFIDENCE WITH WHICH THESE APPARITIONS 
SHOULD INSPIRE US. 



The definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Con- 
ception, has, in our age, brought to its climax, devotion 
to the Blessed Virgin. Divine Providence employed 
twenty-four years in preparing the world for this great 
event; we have seen m the preceding chapters, how 
much the apparition of 1830, contributed thereto, and 
how powerful the influence of the Miraculous Medal in 
propagating this devotion. Since this time a second 
period of twenty-four years has elapsed, during which 
devotion to the Immaculate Mary has shone as a radiant 
star in the firmament of the Church, spreading every- 
where the light of truth and the warmth of true piety ; 



(309) 



310 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

and, by a gentle yet efficacious impulse, producing 
unanimity of mind and heart in the great Catholic 
family. 

Since the definition, as well as before it, France con- 
tinues to be the privileged country of Mary ; nowhere 
else are miracles so numerous, or graces so abundant. 
Whence arises this glorious prerogative ? So far as we 
are permitted to penetrate the secrets of God, it appears 
to us, to our understanding : France who has wrought 
so much evil by disseminating philosophical and revo- 
lutionary doctrines, is to repair the past by propagating 
truth, and Mary desires to prepare her for this mission. 
Everyone knows, moreover, that the French character 
possesses a force of expansion and a power of energy 
that render the French eminently qualified to maintain 
the interests of truth and justice. Then, again, is not 
France the eldest daughter of the Church, since she was 
baptized in the person of Clovis, the first of the Most 
Christian Kings ; and in virtue of this title, is it not her 
duty to devote herself under the patronage of her Mother 
in heaven to the defence of her Mother on earth ? 

Be the motives of Mary's predilection for the French 
nation what they may, the fact is incontrovertible. Never- 
theless, the Blessed Virgin has not forgotten other 
Catholic countries; they also have had their share in 
the singular favors she has so generously dispensed in 
our days. 



OUR LADY OF LOURDES. — 1858. 

Four years after the definition of the Iramaculate 
Conception, Mary vouchsafed to manifest herself anew 
to the world, and this time, as if in token of her grati- 
tude, she took the glorious name the Church had just 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 311 

decreed her: *•'! am the Immaculate Conception,'^' It was 
in France that the yision of the medal took place, pre- 
paratory to the act of December 8th, 1854; it was also 
in France, at Lourdes, in the diocese of Tarbes, at the 
base of the Pyrenees, that Mary came in person, to tes- 
tify and proclaim that privilege which she prized above 
all others. In 1830, she choose a young, unlettered 
Sister for her confidant ; in 1846, she addressed herself 
to two poor peasant children; in 1858, she also selects 
one in the humblest ranks of life as the depository of 
her merciful designs. 

Bernadette Soubirous, born at Lourdes in 1844, of poor 
parent?, was a young girl of weak and delicate health ; 
she could neither read nor write ; she knew no prayers 
but her Cliaiiilet^ and she could speak only the patois of 
the country. " On February 11th, 1858, says she, "my 
parents were in great perplexity for want of w^ood to 
cook the dinner. I put on my hood, and offered to go 
with my younger sister Marie and our friend, the little 
Jeanne Abadie, to pick up some dead branches." The 
three children repaired to the bank of the Gave, oppo- 
site the grotto of Masabielle ; in which were collected 
the sand and branches of trees drifted there by the 
current. But to reach the grotto, it was necessary 
to wade through the shallow bed of the river. Marie 
and Jeanne took off their shoes without hesitation; 
Bernadette delayed and feared to cross, as she was 
suffering from a cold. Whilst thus deliberating, 
she was astonished by a rushing of wind, instantly 
repeated, though the trees near the river were motion- 
less. One vine only was slightly agitated, an eglantine, 
which grew in the upper part of this natural grotto. 
This niche and the wild rose within reflected a most 



312 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

extraordinary brilliancy ; a Lady of admirable beauty 
appeared in the niche, her feet resting on the eglantine, 
her arms gracefully bent, and her hands joined ; with a 
sweet smile, she saluted the child. Bernadette's first 
emotion was one of fear ; she instinctively grasped her 
chaplet, as if seeking defence in it, and she tried to raise 
her hand to make the sign of the cross, but her arm fell 
powerless and her terror increased. The Lady also had 
a Chaplet suspended from her left wrist; taking it in her 
right hand, she made a very distinct sign of the cross, 
and passed between her fingers the beads (white as drops 
of milk) ; but her lips did not move. She smiled upon 
the shepherdess, who, reassured from this moment, 
recovered the use of her arm, made the sign of the cross 
and recited the Chaplet, The little Bernadette remained 
on her knees nearly an hour, in ecstacy. At length, the 
Lady made her a sign to approach, but Bernadette did 
not move. Then the Lady, extending her hand, smiled, 
and, bowing as if bidding farewell, disappeared. Returned 
to herself, Bernadette thought of rejoining her compan- 
ions, who, having seen nothing, were at a loss to under- 
stand her conduct. She entered the water, which she 
found, to her surprise, of a gentle warmth. On reach- 
ing home, she imparted the secret to her sister, and then 
to her mother, who did not credit it. 

However, the child being tormented by an earnest 
desire to behold the apparition again, her parents granted 
permission for her return to the grotto with several 
companions ; the sama manifestation took place and the 
same ecstacy. On Thursday, February 18th, she again 
repaired to the grotto ; the apparition was visible for the 
third time, and the Lady requested Bernadette to come 
there daily for a fortnight. Bernadette promised. ''* And 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 313 

I," replied the Lady, " promise to render you happy not 
in this world, but the next." 

On the succeeding days, the young gh'l went to the 
grotto, accompanied by her parents and an ever increas- 
ing crowd. None of them saw or heard anything. 
The transfiguration of the countenance of Bernadette 
announced the presence of a supernatural being, who 
urged the child to pray for sinners. 

On the sixth day of the fortnight, the august Lady 
revealed to Bernadette three secrets, forbidding her to 
communicate them to any one. She taught her a 
prayer, and charged her with a message. " You will 
go," said she, ^-and tell the priest that a chapel must be 
built here, and that the people must come here in 
procession." 

Bernadette communicated this order to the cure, but 
he hesitated to believe the child, and told her to ask the 
Lady for a sign which might confirm her words, for 
example, to make the wild rose which winter has divested 
of its leaves, break forth into blossom, then the month 
of February. 

The Blessed Virgin did not judge proper to grant the 
miracle, but she tried Bernadette's obedience, by com- 
manding her to kiss the ground on several occasions, 
and to climb the rock on her knees, praying meantime 
for sinners. One day she enjoined upon her to go and 
drink at the fountain of the grotto, to wash therein, and 
to eat of a certain herb which grew in that place. 
Bernadette saw no fountain, and no one had ever heard 
of one in the grotto, yet on a sign from the Lady, the 
docile child dug the earth with her fingers, and dis- 
covered a muddy water which, notwithstanding her 
repugnance, she used as commanded. 

27 



314 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

At the end of several days, the little thread of muddy- 
water had become a limpid and abundant spring, and 
what was still more marvelous, it wrought innumerable 
prodigies. On February 26th, by the use of this water, 
a man who had gone blind twenty years previous, by the 
explosion of a mine, recovered his sight, and on the last 
day of the fortnight, a child dying, or as was supposed, 
dead, regained life and health in the waters of this 
fountain. 

We will not dwell here upon the persecutions directed 
against Bernadette by the magistrates, or upon the vex- 
ations besetting the pilgrims who flocked hither from 
all parts of the world. Every one has read these details 
in the work of M. Lasserre, who so ably depicts the 
dignity and firmness displayed in the affair by the parish 
priest, M. Peyramale. 

The apparition of March 25th, has a special signifi- 
cance. Bernadette, on several occasions, inquired the 
Lady's name. At this question, the vision, on the day 
mentioned, unclasped her hands, the chaplet of golden 
chain and alabaster grains sliding on to her arm. She 
opened her arms and directed them towards the earth, 
as if to indicate that her virginal hands were filled with 
benedictions for the human race; then raising them 
towards the celestial country, whence descended on this 
day the divine messenger of the Annunciation, she 
clasped them with fervor, and looking towards heaven 
with an indescribable expression of gratitude, she pro- 
nounced these words: "I am the Immaculate Concep- 
tion.'^ Having said this, she disappeared, and the child 
found herself and the multitude in presence of a bare rock. 

The ImiBaculate Virgin appeared to Bernadette twice 
again ; on Easter Monday, April 5th, and July 16th, the 
Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 315 

The following 28th of July, the Bishop of Tarbes 
named a commission of inquiry, composed of ecclesias- 
tics, physicians and learned men. July 18th, 1862, he 
published a decree concerning the events that had taken 
place at Lourdes; it was couched in the following words : 

"We judge that the Immaculate Mother of God did 
really appear to Bernadette Soubirous, Feb. 11th, 1858, 
and on succeeding days to the number of eighteen 
times in the grotto of Masabielle, near the city of 
Lourdes; that this apparition bears all the characteristics 
of truth, and that the faithful may rely upon its reality." 

Mary had petitioned that a chapel be built upon the 
spot. The first stone was laid in the month of October, 
1862, the piety of pilgrims furnishing the necessary 
funds for the erection of the edifice, and on the 21st of 
May, 1868, the Holy Mass was celebrated there for the 
first time, in the crypt which was to bear the new sanc- 
tuary. The connection existing between the apparitions 
of 1858 and 1830 is indicated by two painted Avindows in 
the sanctuary, one of which represents Bernadette's 
vision, the other that of Sister Catherine. 

The pilgrimage to Lourdes has assumed vast propor- 
tions; thanks to the railroads, the pilgrims each year 
number hundreds of thousands, coming from every 
quarter of the globe, and countless miracles recompense 
the faith of those who seek in this sanctuary the merciful 
power of the Immaculate Mary. 

The grotto of Lourdes, reproduced in a thousand places, 
has become one of the most popular objects of devotion. 

As to Bernadette, the interest and veneration attached 
to her have not in the least affected her candor and sim- 
plicity. She has retired to the convent of Sisters Hospi- 
tallers of Nevers, and nothing distinguishes her from 
the most humble of her companions. 



316 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 



OUR LADY OF PO:S-TMAIi^ (DIOCESE OF LAVAL).— 1871. 

"France, having been invaded by the Prussians, was 
conquered ; Paris Avas besieged and suffered the horrors 
of famine, aggravated by the rigors of an extremely cold 
winter. It was at this period the Blessed Virgin vouch- 
safed to appear, bringing words of hope and consolation 
to the people of her predilection. The place favored 
with this apparition was the little town of Pontmain, 
situated about four leagues from Fougeres, on the 
confines of the dioceses of Laval and Kennes. It 
was Monday, January 17th, 1871, about six o'clock in 
the evening; Eugene Barbedette, a child aged twelve 
years, looking from the door of the barn where he 
was occupied Avith his father and younger brother, 
Joseph, aged ten years, perceived in the air, a little 
above and behind the house of the family of Guidecoq, 
which was opposite him, a tall and beautiful Lady, who 
smiled upon him. He called his brother, his father, 
and a woman of the village who was talking to him at 
the moment. But his brother was the only one except 
himself who saw the vision, and both gave exactly the 
same description of this wonderful being. The Lady 
was clothed in a wide-sleeved blue robe, embroidered 
with golden stars. Her dress descended to the shoes, 
which were also blue, fastened with a clasp of gold- 
colored ribbon. She Avore a black veil, coA^ering a 
portion of her forehead and falling behind her shoulders 
to the girdle. Upon her head was a golden circle like a 
diadem, and AAdth no ornament bu t a red line passing 
through the middle. Her face Avas delicate, A^ery white, 
and of incomparable beauty. 

" In a little while, quite a croAvd had collected around 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 317 

the barn-door ; Madame Barbedette, the Sisters in charge 
of the parish school, the venerable cure, and more than 
sixty other persons, but of all these^ only two shared the 
happiness of the Barbedette children. These two were 
also children, boarders at the convent. Frances Eicher, 
a^ed eleven years, and Jane Mary Lebosse, aged nine 
and a- half. The other spectators were witnesses only of 
the joy and happiness of the four privileged ones, but 
all were convinced that it was truly the Blessed Virgin 
who had appeared. 

" The Blessed Virgin's attitude was at first, that seen 
in the Miraculous Medal. After the parish priest 
arrived, a circle of blue was formed around the appari- 
tion, and a small red cross like that worn by pilgrims, 
appeared on the Blessed Virgin's heart. All began to 
pray. Suddenly the vision was enlarged, and outside 
the blue circle, appeared a long white strip or band, on 
which the children saw letters successively traced and 
forming those words : ' But pray^ my cliildren. God 
will, in a sliort time hear you. My Son allotus himself 
to be touched ly your supplications.'^ Then, raising her 
hands, as if in unison with the singing of the canticle, 
* Mother of hope,'' there appeared in them a red crucifix 
at the top of which was the inscription : Jesus Christ, 

^'This prodigy w^as visible for three hours. After 
juridical information, Mgr. Wicart, Bishop of Laval, con- 
firmed by a solemn judgment, the reality of the appa- 
rition. 

"On the 17th of January, 1872, the first anniversary of 
the event, a beautiful statue representing the apparition, 
was solemnly -set up, in presence of more than eight 
thousand pilgrims, and a magnificent church is now in 
course of erection on the spot. 



318 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

'' The Holy See has authorized the clergy of the diocese 
of Layal to recite the Office and celebrate the Mass of 
the Immaculate Conception, every year, on the 17th of 
January; and by Papal brief, an arch confraternity, 
under the title of Our Lady of Hope, has been insti- 
tuted in the parish of Pontmain.'^^ 

We could enumerate many other apparitions of the 
Blessed Virgin in France, but, not having been approved 
by ecclesiastical authority, we dare not give them as 
authentic. AVe shall mention only the apparitions with 
which Miss Estelle Faguette was favored with at Pelle- 
voisin, in the diocese of Bourges. The instantaneous 
cure of this lady, afflicted by a malady judged incurable, 
may be regarded as evidence of the truth of the account. 
Moreover, the Archbishop of Bourges appears to have 
considered it reliable, as he has authorized the erection 
of a chapel in memory of the event. On the 14th of 
February, 1876, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Miss 
Faguette, and the vision was repeated fifteen times in 
the space of ten months. Mary's attitude was similar 
to that represented on the Miraculous Medal, except 
that the rays proceeding from her hands were replaced 
by drops of dew. symbols of grace. A scapular of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus was on her breast. 

Mary expressed her love for France, but complained 
of her admonitions being disregarded. She recom- 
mended fervent prayer, by the fulfillment of which duty 
we may confidently rely upon God's mercy. 

" What have I not done for France ? " said she. "How 
many warnings have I not given ! Yet, this unhappy 
land refuses to listen. I can no longer restrain my Son's 

i Extract of a relation approved "by the Bishop of Laval. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 319 

wrath. France will suflfer. Have courage and confi- 
dence. I come especially for the conversion ^f sinners. 
You must pray; I set you the example. My Son's heart 
has so great love for my heart that He cannot refuse my 
petitions. You must all pray, and have confidence ! '' 
Showing the scapular, she said : " I love this devotion.'^ 

Who has not heard of the wonderful manifestations 
of the Blessed Virgin in Italy of late years ? How 
many thousands of persons, moved by piety or curiosity, 
have visited the Madonnas of Eimini, of San Ginesio, 
of A^icovaro, of Prosessi, etc., and have witnessed the 
movement of the eyes, the change of color, and other 
miraculous signs certainly attributable to none but a 
supernatural power. It does not appear, however, that 
Mary has, in this country, presented herself in person, 
though here she receives the most sincere and abundant 
tributes of affection. Doubtless, she considers any stim- 
ulus to the faith of its people unnecessary. And besides^ 
may we not say that she has fixed her abode in Italy^ 
since her own house, the house of Nazareth, wherein the 
mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished, and where- 
dwelt the Holy Family, has been transported thither by 
the hands of angels ? 

Whilst the Prussian government is persecuting the^ 
Church, the Blessed Virgin vouchsafed to appear in the 
two most Catholic provinces of her kingdom, and in two- 
opposite frontiers, near the banks of the Ehine and in 
the Grand Duchy of Posen. Does she not seem to say 
to the good people of these localities, that they must have 
confidence and that God will conquer their enemies ? 
We must remark that on both of these occasions, Mary 
announces herself as the Virgin conceived without sin. 



320 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

We give an abridged account of these two apparitions, 
which we have every reason to consider supernatural. 
The second vision had been formally approved by the 
Bishop of Ermeland. 

On the 3rd of July, 1876, at Marpingen, an inconsid- 
erable village of the district of Treves (Ehenish Prus- 
sia), the Blessed Virgin appeared to three little girls, 
in a pine forest about the hour of the evening. The 
three children were each about eight years of age, and 
belonged to families of poor, honest farmers residing in 
the village. They perceived a bright light, and in the 
midst of it a beautiful Lady seated, holding a child in 
her right arm. The Lady and child were clad in white, 
the Lady crowned with red roses, and in her clasped 
hands, a little cross. 

The vision was reneAved several times. To the chil- 
drens' questions as to her name, she answered ; "I am 
she who ivas conceived ivithout sin;''^ and when asked 
what she desired, the reply was: "That you pray with 
fervor, and that you commit no sin." Several sick per- 
sons were cured by touching the place which the chil- 
dren pointed out as that occupied by the Blessed Virgin. 
These facts are incontestable; but they have not yet 
been examined by ecclesiastical authority. ^ 

In the village of Grietzwald, in Varmia, one of the 
ancient provinces of Poland annexed to Prussia, four 
young girls, poor and of great innocence, were favored 
on various occasions for two months, beginning June 
27th, 1877, with apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, who 
appeared sometimes alone, sometimes carrying the Child 

1 Extract from Catlwlic Annals. 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 321 

Jesus, holding in his hands a globe surmounted by a 
cross. Both Mother and Child were clothed in white. 

To the children's question: "Who are you?" the 
apparition answered, on one occasion : " I am the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, conceived tuithout sin ;^' and another time, 
'' I am the Immaculate Conception^ 

In the first apparition, our Lady's countenance was 
sad, and she even shed tears; afterwards, it betokened 
joy. She asked that a chapel be erected and a statue of 
the Immaculate Conception placed therein. At each 
apparition she blessed the crowd, which was always 
numerous; she blessed also a spring, which has since 
then furnished an abundant supply of water, effecting 
miraculous cures. She recommended the recitation of 
the Rosary, and exhorted all to fervent prayer, and con- 
fidence in the midst of the trials which were to come.^ 

These recent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin have 
founded new pilgrimages, the faithful flocking to the 
favored spots in honor of the Mother of God, and ask 
for the graces which she bestows with a truly royal lib- 
erality. At the same time her ancient sanctuaries, far 
from being neglected, have only become more endeared 
to piety, many having been reconstructed with magnifi- 
cence, or at least most handsomely embellished ; it suf- 
fices to mention Fourvieres, N'otre-Dame-de-la-Garde, 
Eocamadour, Boulogne-sur-mer, Liesse and Buglose. 

The coronation of the most celebrated statues of the 
Blessed Virgin, in the name and by the munificence of 
Pius IX, was the occasion of imposing solemnities, and 
also a means of infusing into the devotion of the people 
greater vigor and fervor. 

1 Letters from Poland. 



322 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

The exercises of the Month of Mary have extended to 
the most humble villages, and there is scarcely a parish 
without its confraternity in honor of the Blessed Virgin. 

Science, eloquence, poetry, music, sculpture, painting 
and architecture have rivalled one another in celebrating 
the glory of the Virgin Mother. 

What may we deduce from this wonderful increase of 
devotion to the Immaculate Mary ? 

The impression naturally produced is that of confi- 
dence. A society which pays such homage to Mary, 
cannot perish. If, as St. Bernard says, it is unheard of 
that any one has been forfaken who had recourse to her 
intercession, how were it possible that the fervent prayers 
of an entire people should fail to touch her heart ? No, 
the future is not without hope ; the mediation of Mary 
will save us. 

The venerable Grignion of Montfort, in his Treatise 
on true devotion to the Blessed Virgin has written these 
lines : '^ It is by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ 
came into the world; it is also, by her, that he is to 
reign in the world. If then, as is certain, the reign of 
Jesus Christ will come, so likewise is it certain that 
this reign will be a necessary consequence of the knowl- 
edge and reign of the Blessed Virgin. Mary, by the 
operation of the Holy Ghost, produced that most 
stupendous of all creations, a Man-God, and she will 
produce by the power of this same Holy Spirit, the 
greatest prodigies in these latter times. It is through 
Mary the salvation of the world began, it is through 
Mary the salvation of the world is to be consummated. 
Mary will display still greater mercy, power and grace 
in these days. Mercy, to bring back poor sinners; 
power, against the enemies of God; grace, to sustain 



THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 323 

and animate the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of 
Jesus Christ, combating for His interests. Ah ! when 
will arrive the day that establishes Mary mistress and 
sovereign of hearts, to subject them to the empire of 
Jesus ? . . . Then will great and wonderful things 
be accomplished. . . . When will this joyful epoch 
come, this Age of Mary, in which souls absorbed in the 
abyss of the interior of Mary, will become living copies 
of the sublime, original, loving and glorifying Jesus 
Christ?'^ 

Father de Montforfc adds, in addressing our Saviour: 
Ut adveniat regnum hiiwi, adveniat regnum Maricel 
May the reign of Mary come that they reign, Jesus, 
may come ! 

Is not this the Age of Mary '^ Was there ever in the 
Church, a period in which Mary was, if we may thus 
express it, so lavish of favors as in these, our days ? 
Was there ever a period in which she has appeared so 
frequently and familiarly, in which she has given to the 
world, admonitions so grave and maternal ; in which she 
has worked so many miracles ; and poured out graces so 
abundantly ? The reader of this volume will answer 
unhesitatingly, that no period of history offers anything 
comparable to what we have witnessed in our own 
days. 

It is true, that the day of triumph announced by the 
venerated Montfort, appears far distant; one might say 
that the kingdom of God on earth is more compromised 
than ever. The wicked make unexampled efforts to 
demolish the social edifice ; they are numerous, powerful, 
and possessed of incalculable resources. But for the 
Church, when all seems lost, then is her triumph at hand. 
God sometimes permits the malice of men to exceed all 



324 THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL. 

bounds, that His power may be the more manifest when 
the moment of their defeat arrives. 

All the united efforts of the Church's enemies in the 
course of ages, all their errors, hatred and violence 
directed against her, the Spouse of Christ, are now con- 
centrated in what is termed the Eevolution — that is, 
anti-Christianity reduced to a system and propagated 
throughout the world, it is Satan usurping the place of 
Jesus Christ. 

But He who has conquered the world, and put to 
flight the prince of the v/orld, will not permit Himself 
to be dethroned. He will reign, and even now, before 
our eyes, is His kingdom being prepared, by the media- 
tion of the Immaculate Mary^ of whom the promise was 
made that slie sJiotcld crush the seiyenfs head, and to 
whom alone belongs the ]J7'ivilege of destroying all heresies 
arising upon earth. 



THE END, 




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