As a Catholic if you are at all familiar with your faith of 2000 years you will understand we have many devotions. Perhaps one day someone will do a study as to why each of us chooses a special devotion. I have a few of my own that are close to my heart. One of them is the Miraculous Medal of St Catherine of Labour. It remains always one of my go to prayers. When presented with a chance to go to Paris and visit this was the one place I desired to see. For me it was even before the Eiffel tower, Louvre, Norte Damn this was the place I desired to see the most.
Located in the heart of the city is the Shrine. It’s on what appears like a side street. Your would not even know it’s there unless you really look. We missed it several times walking by. Completely unassuming and definitely not like any of the close by Catholic sites like Notre Dame or Sacre Coure which have a majesty all there own.
The Shrine contains both St. Catherine of Laboure and St Louise incorruptible bodies which is unique in itself. Two incorruptible’s in one shrine is not the normal. On the right you will find St. Catherine of Laboure with a chair beside here where the Blessed Mother is said to have appeared to her. To the left is St Louise founder of the Daughters of Charity.
The Shrine and the Church offer masses and visits throughout the day.
St Catherine’s story is as follows
On the night of July 18, 1830. Catherine, a young novice at the Daughters of Charity Convent in Paris was sleeping when a young boy, clothed in white, cried out, “Sister! Sister! Sister Catherine! Come with me to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you”. When she entered the chapel, Catherine heard “the rustling of a silk dress”. As she looked up, she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary seated in a chair by the altar steps, with her hands resting on her lap. The little boy, later revealed as Catherine’s guardian angel, led her to the Mother of God. Catherine knelt before her. She revealed to Catherine that God had chosen her for a very special mission. Although she would first have much to suffer, she would have the grace from God to rise above it.
During her second apparition, November 27, 1830, Our Lady stood on a globe, with her feet crushing a serpent. In her hands she held a small golden globe. Rays of light came from her hands and lit up the globe on which she was standing. As a circle in the shape of a medal formed around the vision, the letters were written, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
At the same time Catherine heard a voice say, “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for those who wear it with confidence.” As the medal turned, Catherine saw the other side. The initial M was surmounted by a cross, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword underneath. Twelve stars encircled the picture.
Within a short time after the medals were made and distributed, many miracles, conversions, and healings took place. The “Miraculous Medal,” the name later attached to it, has earned the reputation of converting the hardest of hearts.
“Even though a person be the worst sort, if only he agrees to wear the medal, give it to him…and then pray for him, and at the proper moment strive to bring him closer to his Immaculate Mother, so that he have recourse to her in all difficulties and temptations.” St. Maximilian Kolbe
So I made my way to the church and I spent the afternoon there, among the Saints and the sinners. When I went into the chapel it was filled with local residents and visitors like us all spending a moment of time in prayer. I took a moment for myself and placed all the intentions I brought with me along my journey. I placed my prayers for my daughter whom I had lost to suicide 1 year and a half earlier upon the alter in the church. I always carry her with me in my heart and mind and I light a candle for her wherever I am and offer prayers.
It is a working convent so there will be nuns milling about sharing the gift and story of the Miraculous Medal. There is a little gift shop to purchase books on Catherine and the Miraculous Medal itself. You can also find other Catholic books and gifts there also.
I can’t tell you why I have this special devotion to the Miraculous Medal or do I really understand the reason it appeals to me. Perhaps it was because of my own conversion story and myself being one of the hardest hearts. Perhaps it’s the name itself “Miraculous” and the Hope it represents for us in that Christ hears our prayers. I only know that as I continue on my faith journey it will forever stay with me.
If you find yourself heading to Paris this little chapel is not to be missed. If you need help please let me know. I would love to help you plan your entire trip to Paris.
If you just need an idea of things to do and see. Follow my link below and it will take you to all activities in Paris. I get credit if you book through me but it has to be done within 7 days of hitting my link. So no going back and forth and then later booking. 🙂
If you have any questions please let me know
As always blessings,
Marian Shrines of France, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, no copyright