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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Miraculous Motoring

I am in RCIA right now. A friend just gave me three miraculous medals. I want to wear one, and am trying to decide what to do with the other two. Any suggestions?

Lucky you! Although, believing in luck is a sin.

I love the Miraculous Medal. We really can't talk about it enough. Let's go over some of it's finer points. But first, a re-cap:

St. Catherine LaBoure, a remarkably homely novice of the Daughters of Charity (always prettied up considerably for her Holy Card) was awakened in the middle of the night by a child. This little angel told Catherine to head over to the chapel, which Catherine found awash in light. Our Blessed Mother paid Catherine a visit and while Catherine rested her head and hands on Our Lady's knee, the BVM asked Catherine to make a medal with the image of the Immaculate Conception, graces pouring from her hands, on it.

All St. Catherine could do was urge her confessor to have the medals made. Our Lady had showed Catherine a vision of both the front and the back of the medal, so there was no guess work involved. St. Catherine's confessor was dubious, but eventually coughed up a few medals which went like hot cakes. In a short time, thousands of medals had blanketed France, the many miracles attributed to them earned the title, "The Miraculous Medal".

That's the story, in a nutshell. St. Catherine's incorrupt body is still with us, although she is not with her hands. Her hands are in another room with the chair on which Our Lady sat.

Here's my favorite part of the story that no one really mentions: The Miraculous Medal is a self-portrait of Our Lady! So is the tilma on which we see the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe! We have two self portraits of Mary!

So what will you do with your extra Mary self portraits?

If you're going to be wearing one, you hardly need all three, even in your wallet or on your keychain. Someone must be needing one!

If I were you,I would give one other medal to someone who is having a difficult time practising their Catholic faith. The Miraculous Medal saved France. In 1830, Mary warned Catherine that the Church was about to come under attack. Jesuits were made illegal. Christianity was no longer to be taught in schools. The popularity of the Miraculous Medal turned back the tide. I'm sure Mary is not about to stop helping with that now.

I would give the other one to a motorcyclist. Another little known fact about the Miracualous Medal is that Mary in this form is the patron saint of those who are foolhardy enough to ride motorcyles. I've never seen a reason given, but I can venture a guess. It's a miracle if you survive a motorcycle accident. That must be the reason.

You could kill two birds with one stone by finding yourself a "Hell's Angel", I should think.


Anonymous said...

Well, here is your first....I cannot stand the stuff....flavor and consistency both are nauseating, in my opinion. And if you could have seen the look of horror on my face when I saw the photo you posted...not only does it show that awful jello, but mixed with that other creation that I am convinced is linked directly to Lucifer's fall from heaven: canned fruit cocktail!!! Blech!!!

And, just in case you are doing any other polls on "nursery" desserts, you can add me to the list of those who despise rice pudding and custard, too!

Have a great day! You have brightened my Sunday with a good laugh!

Anonymous said...

I put a Miraculous Medal in each of my kids' backpacks and so they and their schools will be protected (backpacks in lockers all day..)I had my daughter slip on into the seat of her bus...just in case. She had a different bus on that day so someone else's bus is also covered! Can't be too careful as far as I'm concerned!

Anonymous said...

When we sold my parents' house after their deaths, I put Miraculous Medals in inconspicuous places. I also put a rosary high on one of the shelves in my Dad's tool shed. A protestant minister bought the house. I keep looking for his name in the list of RCIA catechumens.

Ray Ward said...

Actually St. Catherine LaBoure was not a nun. She was a Daughter of Charity. The Daughters don't live in monasteries or cloisters, and they've told me that they're not nuns. (Although they patiently smile and thank when given a bottle of Blue Nun wine as a gift.)

Monica said...

Ray, it's my secret fantasy to have a bottle of Cardinal Zin, 7 Deadly Zins, Blue Nun, (and there's one other I can't remember) on my wine rack. I think that would be a good conversation piece.

Melanie said...

maybe sarah should send me one because I totally lost mine like yesterday. lol!

married2ajoseph said...

Once again, a fantastic blog entry! Thank you so much!

I do have a question... is it wrong to treat these metals like charms? I'm thinking of the protestant minister who bought the house of the above poster. Wouldn't he be scandalized to find medals planted like talismans around the house? (And, what do you think of the practice of burying statues of St. Joseph in order to sell a house?) I thought that it was the devotion to Mary that was directly inspired by the medal that worked miracles... not the object, itself.

However, I never knew it was a sin to believe in luck. Do you mean it's a sin to believe that some things happen randomly and you may be the recipient of a happy accident, such as a winning raffle ticket?

I'm sorry to hit you with so many questions.

married2ajoseph said...

Um, I meant "medals." Yes, I went to public schools.

antonina said...

Ray, you're right, they're not nuns, they are sisters. Sisters are the equivalent of friars (Franciscans and Dominicans) and nuns are the equivalent of monks (e.g. Bendictines, Cictercians). The deliniations used to be clearer back in the day when all consecrated women were "nuns." The Daughters of Charity were the first congregation of women to not be cloistered, but involved in active ministry (1600's). However, they do take the same vows as "nuns" who live within a monastic community, the only difference is that the Daughters of Charity do not make solem professions; they renew their vows yearly.

Anonymous said...

Whether we believe or not in the power of these sacramentals we will find out sooner or later won't we.

Life is bound to end at some point. It is one of the sure things aside from taxes. Death will give us a new insight of the spirit and all that we decide to acknowledge (or not) in this life.

As for me, I would rather believe in the Blessed Mother who is making every effort to gather all her children to her before everything is too late.

Eternity is too long a time to be lost...

Sister Mary Martha said...

Ray, you are right. St. Catherine was a Sister. Although if we want to nitpick (you're comment was not nitpicking!) we could say that she was not a Sister, either, at least not at the time that Mary appeared to her. She was a 24 year old novice.

I'll make the correction!

JStark said...

I love the story of the Miraculous Medal. We wear them in Feb. here in Florida with our bathing suits in the Gulf of Mexico when we go swimming as Florida residents.

I really like how she was sooo sooo low key during her life. :)

If she were alive today, she would be a Floridian. I know this.

JStark said...


I have more to say about this.

rosamundi said...

Eurgh - smiling politely and saying thank you for a bottle of Blue Nun is probably the greatest test of charity I could receive. That stuff is vile.

Anonymous said...

I have a Miraculous medal at each of the four corners of our property. I imagine Mother Mary's mantle spread over us in this way.

Anonymous said...

i wear a Miraculous medal all the time! It's a constant reminder of my Heavenly Mother, Mary and my earthly Mother watching over me and helping me pray.

lawrence said...

Hey! SMM made SpiritDaily.com !!

Anonymous said...

I know a building contractor who leaves green scapulars inside the walls of homes he builds.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this? What do you make of it? Did the church have to get Napolean's permission to elect a pope?


Sister Mary Martha said...

anonymous I looked at that site. I couldn't make heads or tail of it. My advice: if somebody is talking about the 'end times', stick your fingers in your ears and hum.

married2ajoseph said...

Sister Mary Martha, that's what I do, too. Particularly when it comes to those "Three Days of Darkness." If it causes superstition and confusion, it's not from God.

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha: I'd like to add a link to your post on my new blog "Behold Your Mother: A Bouquet of Love to Mary from her Spiritual Children." (http://beholdyourmotherbook.blogspot.com). May I have your permission to do so?

Thank you!

Heidi Saxton

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

Oops! I just realized that I hit "publish" instead of save, and the link (ready or not) is up already. Sister, if you object to it for some reason, just drop me a note and I'll take it right off. My address is hsaxton@christianword.com.

Blessings, Heidi Saxton

Journey of Truth said...

There's no problem in leaving the green scapular inside the walls of homes built, but he has to PRAY for those who live in it. At least that is my understanding of the green scapular. If you wear a Miraculous Medal, you can give the others away.

Peace to all.

Kasia said...

Side story and some questions about the Miraculous Medal:

Last Saturday night my fiancé and I went to dinner and a movie with a friend of his and the friend's wife. As we were standing in line at the concession stand at the theater, a young man got in line behind us, dressed in your typical baggy pants, tee shirt, etc. However, he was also wearing a Miraculous Medal.

The friend's wife complimented him on the pink hat he was wearing, and asked him if it was for Valentine's Day. He said no. I then said, "I was more admiring your Miraculous Medal." He seemed confused, so I showed him mine. He kind of lit up, and said "Hey, yeah, we got the same person on our necklaces!"

I smiled, and said "Yes; it's the Blessed Virgin Mary," then went on to tell him a little bit about the Miraculous Medal. Apart from his astonishment at how very long ago it was (he equated it to "dinosaurs", and when I said it was more like 150 years, he said "Close enough"), he didn't seem to know anything about it.

So, question: do you still get good out of wearing the Miraculous Medal if you have no idea what it is? I imagine Our Lady is still more than happy to pray for him; I'm just wondering what the ins and outs are.

Another question: I wear one primarily because it was a gift from someone I love and respect. Someone asked me if I was enrolled in it. I'm not, and I don't plan to get enrolled in anything until after my wedding next winter - not that I don't need all the grace I can get, but I'm trying to focus my attention and energy on preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Does that affect things, i.e. does Our Lady still pray for me while I'm wearing it (even if it's just for me to enroll)?

bill7tx said...

re the Miraculous Medal:

1. Our Lady promised graces to those who carry the medal, and especially to those who wear it around the neck. She didn't attach any conditions. Her promise: "Those who wear it will receive great graces; abundant graces will be given to those who have confidence."

2. There are lots of stories about good outcomes, including conversions, for those who have worn the medal. Not all of these people were good people, not all of them were Catholic. Our Lady is the mother of all humankind. Even the rotten kids and the sleazy adults. Of course, it helps if someone wears the medal devoutly and says the prayer on it every day (part of the "great confidence"). Details: http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/CATLABOU.HTM

3. Part of the work of the Militia Immaculata involves giving away Miraculous Medals, no questions, no instructions. This work was started by St. Maximilian Kolbe, who referred to the Miraculous Medal as a bullet in the war against evil. If the only thing you know about St. Maximilian is that he died in a concentration camp, you should do a Google search on his name. You'll be amazed. (Disclosure: I am a member of the MI.) Basic reference: http://www.kolbenet.com/pages/our_spirituality/ (There are many others. This particular one is on a site affiliated with the MI.)

4. You don't have to enroll in anything to wear a Miraculous Medal. If you have your medal blessed, it becomes a sacramental, and there are benefits and indulgences available for certain practices associated with the Miraculous Medal. Proper use of a blessed Miraculous Medal (or any sacramental) provides a partial indulgence. If the medal is blessed by a bishop or by the pope, it carries a plenary indulgence. Reference: http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/indulgw.php

To Jesus, with Mary.

bill7tx said...

One more reference for St. Maximilian, this one from a Jewish (!) source:


Really an amazing saint.

bill7tx said...

(Keep spotting questions to answer ... sorry, don't mean to be a pain.)

The Miraculous Medal must be worn or carried. Hiding them around a house is probably a useless practice, and might even be superstitious.

The Green Scapular, however, can be left in a place to aid in the conversion (or other spiritual benefit) of someone specific who lives there -- AS LONG AS THE ONE WHO LEAVES IT SAYS THE PRAYER ON IT EVERY DAY. The scapular must be blessed by a priest. I think the builder who leaves Green Scapulars in the walls of houses he builds is possibly misguided, and could maybe find a more effective way to bring people into the faith. Details at http://www.greenscapular.com/

I don't even want to get started on the St. Joseph statue thing. That to me is a scandal and a superstitious practice. But using a statue in a superstitious ritual is at least a useless, disrespectful abuse of the man Jesus chose to be his foster father, and might be worse. If I had time and space, I'd tell you what I *really* think of the practice! Somebody wants his help in selling their house, great -- let them offer the 30 Days Prayer to St. Joseph. They'll gain an indulgence, they'll get help (if it's God's will), and they won't be counted among the folks who were too lazy or too ignorant to do things the right way.

Lawrence said...

People who bury St. Joseph's statue in the yard in order to sell their houses should tithe 10% of the sale price of the house to the Church!

Anonymous said...

Sister, I tried to post a message yesterday and it didn't work, so here's to hoping this one comes through ok.

My question is, since you're already on the subject of the Miraculous Medal, would you mind discussing the various symbols included on the medal and their meanings? For instance, I know what the cross on the back stands for, but the way that it is combined with the "M" is unusual. Is there any specific meaning to this other than the obvious?


bill7tx said...

The Miraculous Medal design is a mini-catechism of the teaching of the Church about Mary.

Short explanation is at http://www.amm.org/medal.asp .

Great book: The Miraculous Medal
by Jean Marie Aladel, C.M. (Father Aladel was the spiritual director and confessor of Saint Catherine Laboure.

Available from the Sisters of Carmel at http://www.sistersofcarmel.com/booksol.php

Sister Mary Martha said...

Yes, Heidi, by all means add the link! And thank you!

Anonymous said...

Save the cornette!