The Miraculous Medal & the Mission of the Immaculata
THE MEDAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, also known as the “Miraculous Medal,” is known throughout the world. What was its origin? “It was November 27, 1830,” Catherine Labouré asserted, “while the second was pierced by a sword”. Her narrative was drafted later, by order of her spiritual director. At the beginning, in fact, her cautious confessor, Fr. Aladel, did not believe in the authenticity of the apparition. As he himself wrote: “The person who had had this vision… that the Church calls Refuge of Sinners” Elsewhere, he wrote how he managed to carry out the project: "I had the opportunity to meet with the Archbishop of Paris, Msgr. Hyacinthe-Louis de Quélen… I decided to set about that task". Only in June 1832, then, did the first medals make their appearance.
The first extraordinary conversion obtained by means of the medal was the one of the apostate de Pradt; Archbishop Msgr. Quélen, who had authorized the minting of the medal, witnessed it himself. There followed countless other conversions, so that in a short time the attribute “miraculous” was added to the medal. Even in the early months, millions of copies of the medal were spread around the world, so that production could not keep up with demand. In 1920, a fairly unusual case happened even to me. In the Z[akopane] hospital, where for a time I lived as a patient and chaplain, a woman was breathing her last. She was already preparing to die, yet she spoke with great sorrow of her husband, whose conversion by now she no longer hoped for.
Then he came to the hospital. I tried to suggest appropriate reading to him, conversing with him on religious subjects, but his only response to me was: “I need clearer evidence.” Yet he took no pains at all to read more serious books. When he came to salute me at the time of departure, I made one last attempt. I handed him the Miraculous Medal, and he accepted it. After that I asked him to go to confession: “I am unprepared, no! Absolutely not!” was his answer, yet… he seemed compelled to kneel down and made his confession in tears.
+St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.