Catherine Laboure was born in May of 1806, the ninth of eleven children, in the little village of Fain-les-Moutiers, France. This tiny instrument would one day be the confidante of the Queen of Heaven to usher in the Age of Mary. She was baptized on the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross. Catherine’s mother died when she was 9 years old and, at that young age, she took Our Lady to be her own mother!
Catherine cared for the dove-cot which contained over 700 doves. Each one seemed to know her and they flew about her in the form of a crown. She did things both quickly and well, and spoke very little. In January of 1830, Catherine joined the hospice of the Daughters of Charity. Three months later, she entered the convent Mother House on Rue de Bac. On the Feast of St. Vincent, while in her sleep, Catherine heard a voice urging her to wake up. A child about 5 years old told her that the Blessed Virgin was waiting for her in the chapel. All the tapers and candles were lit, and He led her to the Sanctuary and said, "Here is the Blessed Virgin, here She is! Catherine saw nothing but heard the rustle of a silken gown. The Virgin Mary entrusted her with a difficult mission. She told Catherine about the evils which would befall France and the whole world. "Come to the foot of this Altar, there graces will be poured out on all those, rich and poor, who ask for them with confidence and fervor. I will be with you myself."
Then, a second time on November 30, 1830, while making a meditation in the chapel, Catherine heard the rustling of silk and saw the Blessed Virgin standing by St. Joseph’s picture. Her feet were standing on a globe and on Her fingers wore rings with the most precious stones. Dazzling light gleamed from them and Her whole figure was enveloped in such radiance that Her feet and robe were no longer visible. The Virgin explained, "This globe which you see represents the world, and each person in France in particular." She made Catherine to understand that to all who implore Her intercession, She will grant great favors. Then, an oval frame formed around the Virgin and, in letters of gold there appeared these words, "O MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE." Mary instructed Catherine to have a medal struck upon this model telling her that all who wear the blessed medal will receive great graces. Those who repeat the prayer on the medal will, in a special manner, be under the protection of the Mother of God.
In December, Catherine saw Our Lady for the third time. Now, She moved from the picture of St. Joseph over to the Altar and stood behind the Tabernacle. Again, she saw the outstretched hands and the words etched in gold. The Virgin held the world in Her hands and atop it was a little golden Cross. A dazzling light shown from the rings on Her fingers, representing graces that would be given to all who asked for them. Again, she was asked to have a medal struck according to the model. This was the last time Our Lady would appear to her. Catherine is known as the saint of silence. During the remaining years of her life, she served the sick, always pondering within the depths of her heart the secret of her visions of Our Lady. To her death, she did not reveal this secret to anyone but to those to whom Our Lady told her she could.
Her spiritual advisor took her request to the bishop, that the medal might be struck. The good bishop replied that the medal was in complete conformity to the Church’s doctrine on the role of Our Lady. He had no objection. The original order of 20,000 medals proved to be much too small. By the time of Saint Catherine’s death in 1876, over a billion medals had been distributed in many lands. The medal originally was called the medal of the Immaculate Conception. But, due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures and acts of protection attributed to it, later it was simply called the Miraculous Medal.
Ven. Pauline-Marie Jaricot was deeply devoted to the Miraculous Medal.
Even before the apparition of Rue de Bac, and the formal dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Pauline spread the devotion to obtain protection from the enemies of Holy Mother the Church.
Pauline’s priest brother, Phileas, while working to reform his Order which had fallen away from the rule, was poisoned and died. Phileas was her mentor and inspiration. She saw clearly what could happen if one was faithful to God before man. After his death, the Revolution of July 1830 broke out. At the sound of bullets flying, Pauline headed to the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Fourviere, where she spent three days and nights absorbed in fervent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. The blows and the outrages of the impious revolutionary bands were all around. Her heart of flesh was terrified, while her inmost heart remained immovable in its acceptance of martyrdom. The Hill of Fourviere rocked with the noise of firing guns and the horrible cries of the people. The Revolution not only wanted to overthrow a throne, but to do away with God Himself. After the initial attack and a period of peace returned, Pauline was overcome by many severe health ailments.
A fresh storm burst into Lyons in November 1831. Discontent workers, who were not paid properly, demanded higher wages which were denied. Encouraged by the revolutionary agents, an immense mass of working men organized themselves to defend their rights. The national guards took flight and the large band of men, uttering savage cries struck terror into the whole population. Pauline offered herself anew to endure torments which her nature dreaded in order to appease the justice of God. One brave priest carried the Holy Viaticum to the sick. Everything seemed at an end. The General of the Army withdrew but swore he would quickly return and put the town in flames and blood. A multitude of horror stricken people fled the city. Pauline then appealed to the associates of the Living Rosary at Lyon and all over France to pray that peace might be obtained. No doubt, these fervent supplications touched the Heart of God. At the dreaded moment, when the troops were ready to enter Lyon, they scattered a quantity of Miraculous Medals along the road by which the soldiers were expected. Printed on paper and likewise strewn in their path, as well as placed on the doors of the houses, was written, "Mary was conceived without sin".
The formidable multitude of armed forces pushed through the gates of the city. Then came the unexpected. The soldiers and officers alike began to pick up the medals and notes. Their first reaction was one of astonishment, which quickly gave place to softer impressions and very soon a feeling of confidence and kindness replaced their vengeance, so much so that in a short time, people of both sides came to an understanding. Pauline explains, 'It would take a hand more skilled than mine to retrace the miracles of grace worked at these words, MARY WAS CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN." The fame of these miracles spread from one end of the city to the other. After these days of November, there were conversions, pacifications and mutual charity. As soon as one regiment was supplied, the others demanded the same treasure and more than 12,000 medals were distributed to the garrison. In a few months, there was a marked change amongst the soldiers, of whom a large number, not satisfied with wearing the medal, wanted a Rosary and Scapular. Several sections of the Living Rosary were organized among them. They went with faith and simplicity from the Mother of Grace to Grace Itself, by receiving the Holy Eucharist.
(taken from the book, PAULINE MARIE JARICOT by M.J. Maurin written in 1906)
Tobie Ratisbonne was born in 1814 in Strasbourg, France. He was the ninth child of a family of bankers who knew the Rothschild and other wealthy Jewish families. He was of a noble spirit, generous heart, artistic talents, good looks, charm and had great love for his family. Toward the end of 1841, Alphonse set out on an excursion which was to last ten months and would include the following cities – Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Constantinople, and to return to Strasbourgh in time for his wedding celebration in August of 1842.
Before leaving Naples, the ship put in at the port of the Papal States. The cannon of the fort boomed loudly. He inquired the meaning of these warlike sounds in the peaceful papal land, and was told that it was festivity for the Feast of the Conception of Our Lady. He remained on ship and did not disembark. The ship on which he was to sail to Malta broke down and they remained in Naples. His friends wanted him to come to Rome with them, but he said he had no desire whatever to visit Rome. His fiancÉe had his physician give him positive instructions not to go to Rome as there was fever in that city. Without being able to explain it, even to himself, he left Naples on the 5th of January and reached Rome on January 6 – Feast of the Three Kings.
Baron Theodore de Bussieres, a convert and most ardent in his devotion to the Church tried to impress upon Alphonse the necessity of becoming Catholic. To this, he retorted, "A Jew was I born, and a Jew shall I die!" So, the Baron followed through, saying if this was his conviction, then it would be an indifferent matter in his eyes for him to wear the Miraculous Medal, while it would give Theodore a great deal of pleasure. Ratisbonne laughed out loud and exclaimed, ‘Ha, ha, I am now become Catholic, Apostolic and Roman!’ M. le Bussieres rejoiced inwardly over his victory and sought now to take advantage of it. He made Ratisbonne promise to recite daily the MEMORARE written by St. Bernard. Alphonse found the prayer rolled like ceaseless waves in the darkness of his mind.
Ratisbonne’s visit to Rome was drawing to a close. Only while he remained in Rome, did he feel obligated to wear the medal and say the MEMORARE. At the behest of M. de Bussieres, he accompanied him to the Church of St. Andrea to make arrangements for the funeral of a friend of Theodore, who prayed 20 MEMORARE’s for the conversion of Ratisbonne. He entered the Church and walked aimlessly about. He explains, "The Church seemed to disappear, or rather I should say, O my God, I saw one thing alone! No human words can even try to convey what is beyond expression. When M. de Bussieres returned, I was in tears and unable to answer questions. I seized the medal which was on my breast and kissed the image of the Virgin. Oh! I have seen Her! I have seen Her! I was not able to say more. I felt within me something so solemn and sacred as to require me to ask for a priest."
Ratisbonne gave thanks to God and insisted the priest must baptize him at once, that he might rid himself of the horror of Original Sin. It is true that having been confronted by the Immaculate Conception, he felt keenly this blight upon his soul. He was baptized on January 30, following a one-week retreat at the Jesuit Church of the Gesu in Rome. Without uttering a single word, Our Lady had enlightened his mind, changed his heart and given him infused knowledge of all the mysteries of religion.
Alphonse Ratisbonne went on to become a priest, taking the name of Father Alphonse Marie. He worked for thirty years in the Holy Land, where he established several institutions. Out of reverence and gratitude to Our Savior, he built the Expiatory Sanctuary of the Ecce Homo on the spot where Pilot displayed Jesus to the Jews.
On the 25th of May, the anniversary of the discovery of the body of the Thaumaturga in the catacombs, the Church of the Ecce Homo at Jerusalem was filled to overflowing with pilgrims who had come to assist at the solemn erection of St. Philomena’s statue on the spot designated for it by Our Lady’s convert, the Venerable Pere Alphonse Ratisbonne, then still living. St. Philomena was acclaimed many times over as the Apostle of the New Crusades. Sister Trudy is the Superior of the Ecco Homo Convent today. She and our beloved Father Angelo Bede Ison are searching for the statue of St. Philomena that Pere Ratisbonne put in place so many years ago.
E-Mail: January 19, 2009
Cher Mama Patti,
I write to you today on behalf of the entire population which you supported during the war since our friend, Joseph, died when he was shot by the rebels!
You gave all of us thousands of Miraculous Medals to keep us near to God! We appreciate all that you have done for us, because we now see some fruit and light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time, we have some peace.
I don’t known whether you have heard the news from Africa; it is miraculous and propelled by you, Madam Patti and benefactors. We know that you are interested in us so much and share in our suffering.
Last week, everyone in the bush was amazed and we attribute this to Mother Mary through the Miraculous Medal which we have been wearing! There is some peace, as the rebels of Laurent Nkunda have split up into two and they appear weak now.
A new Government group has announced that they are starting to observe unconditional ceasefire! All the rebel forces are to be subject to the Congo government orders! Thanks, mama, this is a miracle affected by you and the benefactors, and there is no doubt about it because you encouraged all of us, prayed for us and reached out to us with sacramentals.
Mama, we have nothing to give you but we will pray for you and the benefactors! We cannot express ourselves best because we do not know English so well, but I tell you that we continue to pray for peace, pray for you and the Association. Many malnourished children and women want you to visit us when peace is restored, so that we get to see you. Emma told us to pray and wear the Miraculous Medal. Yesterday, a mother of four, all with medals told me that she wanted to give the benefactors and the director of ULRA a gift, because she is happy that war might end. She now has all her children; though she did not get medication, food or sleep in the jungle, none of her children fell sick or died!
Thank you very much for the miracle we see coming slowly. Please convey our thanks to all the benefactors, as we move on. Pray things get better. Remember what you told us after I informed you about the death of Joseph; you said, "May the blood of Joseph be water to nourish the seed of peace!"
May you be well! We ask you to accept our thanks and share the news that your efforts to reach us are gaining good things to restore peace again.
< Francis – CONGO >
E-Mail: February 18, 2009
Greetings to you, dear director of Rosaire Vivant!
Thank you very much for the work you do for humanity. We are sure you will be rewarded by God for helping the people that are far from the reality of God and those suffering. I am writing from the N.E. part of Congo where we suffer at the hands of rebel Kony who strips us of life! You heard the news from those in Dungu diocese where, on Christmas, we survived when rebels attacked us in the Church during Mass. Many of us escaped with God’s help.
Uganda, South Sudan and Congo forces move to clear our area of rebels but they miscalculate and that is why many of us are killed. Rebels from Uganda split into small but dangerous groups and go on slashing us. On Christmas day, 400 were hacked to death and their brains fell on the ground in the church; entire families were wiped out and, on that day, we all went off into the dense forests while others were caught and raped or killed! We tell you, some of people escaped towards the Sudan-Congo border where they met Emma who gave them Rosaries and Miraculous Medals and some literature which had your e-mail address.
We hear from Goma that they did not suffer that much because they all had received the Miraculous Medals for protection; the situation there is better now but we are in the worst danger zone. A staff worker of the UN told that he saw so many people in Goma, about 1700 km. South of here, had the MM, and sure we saw a miracle of some who got the medals in one camp near 700 km. S.E. on the Sudan border.
Anita and Tereza were near the forest with two other friends. The rebels, who were in hiding, jumped on them by force! Their two friends were taken and raped, and then killed, while they managed to get away without being harmed. It’s a miracle! Not guns but Mother Mary will protect us! On Sunday, 35 were killed.
Amid this crisis, we are overwhelmed by your message which encourages us that we are to live, God willing. Last night, 16 people were all hacked to death with machetes, many of them were boys and girls who were raped and then killed.
We thank Francis in Goma, who is far away from here. He has provided Emma’s e-mail address so we can write and tell him that we also need help as he did in Goma. We are on the point of death, as the rebels claim to commit genocide in future if the combined forces do not stop fighting with them. Please let us know if Emma is still in Sudan, because we want him to send us medals even if they are only 30,000. The need is great for protection from this evil!
We are helpless! One of the aid groups said that they cannot bring us the cargo, as the route is too dangerous; however, another aid group told us that the plane crashed near the Congo/Sudan border, which was headed to Dungu here in the forest. Anyone who boards a plane pays $200 when going and $200 when coming without luggage. We do kindly ask you and your helpers to bear with us because we are facing death. Just as you saved the people of Goma who have peace now, help us. We have asked Emma to assist us before going out of Sudan and to go to the border at a place called Ezo and bring us medals. We cry to you and ask for help. Oh! I hear another heavy gun shot. Let me run and hide. I will come back later when things are better.
< Dungu Village >
E-mail: February 27, 2009
Dear Madam Patti,
We have the privilege to write to you from here in Darfur, where we return after the Janjaweed attacked our camps and killed many. Now, it is more dangerous to stay in the camps than to hide from the Islamists who are fighting for their ‘God’ by killing us. They say, "We are their enemies, we are the pagans," and they will go to heaven if they kill us. In recent times, we see the burning of villages is on the increase as the world looks for some resolutions to take effect.
Now, the Islamists supported by President Bashir’s government in Khartoum are attacking us every day since it is rumored that on 4th March the International Court of Justice in Hague is likely to supply arrest warrant for him because of the genocide in Darfur. We do not see any people around, most of them are killed. It is good that we, persecuted Christians, are coming together to console each other, as we await the day when we are killed at the hands of the Islam Janjaweed.
Our hopes were dashed when we were told that Emma will leave without reaching us with MMs. Oh, how can he abandon us? We thought he would help with an airlift of the treasured MMs which give us great protection. We cannot reach Emma who is very far from Wau but a U.N. soldier, a Catholic from Rwanda, told us that if Emma pays the cost and supplies him with the medals, he will help to camouflage them, so the Islamists will not burn them and deliver them to us. We kneel here on the sand in the heat; the whole world has forgotten us. We do not know what will happen. Dear Mother, we plead with you, help Emma find a way to send us the MMs. Please do not leave us, help us to protect ourselves.
< Angela – DARFUR >
Email: February 27, 2009
I am disturbed by an e-mail from Angela in Darfur. I have been hearing of the situation brewing about the genocide at work now. This is in reaction to the possible indictment of Sudanese President by the International Court for crimes against humanity. I am told that in Khartoum the security is so high and Islamists are chorusing "ALLAH W’AKBAR" claiming that they will feast on anyone who will try to take their President. The youth military is causing havoc in Darfur, raping and killing. Surprisingly, I told you how I managed to send MMs inside the Islamist controlled region the size of France, through a priest who was passing here! I received encouraging news that even non-Catholics scrambled for the MMs. The suffering Darfur population is predominantly Moslem, who now realize that the Catholics are people of God. They have questions for the fellow Moslems of the Bashir government persecuting them, and the Koran prohibits a sword against a fellow Moslem. Here, we are at crossroads; everyone is seeking peace through the ULRA.
< EMMA – ULRA Liaison, UGANDA - AFRICA >
Dear Apostles of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
We can have the 30,000 Miraculous Medals flown to Darfur and provide the Catholic solider with some bartering money. It would cost $700 to reach these suffering souls in Darfur, who await a brutal death. Will you help us? TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE!
Dear Mrs. Melvin,
Here are some Miracles of Miraculous Medal, as been told to me by other members:
1. Measles spread in Gillwala, Sargodha. Muskan’s mother put a Miraculous Medal around her neck and the disease did not touch her and she was safe. < Parvaiz Feroze – Sargodha >
2. Last year, St. Philomena's Feast was celeberated at Khanewal. On the same day, Mr. Rafique Paul got a baby girl and he named her, ‘Philomena Ferry’. She had a high fever and could not get relief. Her uncle Siddique Rehmat got St. Philomena’s cord and Miraculous Medal to put around her neck. Her fever was cured within few hours. < Shahzad Francis – Khanewal >
3. Touqeer Masih, s/o Hameed Khokhar (R/O of New Sattelite Town Sargodha) was working as a laborer. On 5th of May 2007, he fell from the third floor during work. He was taken to hospital. Doctor advised him to be taken to Lahore. On third day, when he opened eyes, he asked to be taken home and to call someone to pray over him. He insisted so hard that he was brought back to Sargodha. I was called by his family for prayer. I put a Scapular and Miraculous Medal around his neck. He is now okay and can walk, and do his work. < Parvaiz Feroze – Sargodha >
4. Imran and Rehana’s family of Railway Colony, Quetta was in possession of bad spirits. One day, they came to my house in great anxiety. I gave them Miraculous Medals and Scapulars. At night, the evil spirits came to frighten them but that family started reciting the HAIL MARY and the evil spirits left them forever. That family is very happy now and is thankful to Our Lord Jesus and Our Holy Mother. < Asif – Quetta >
AFZAAL ANWAR KHOKHAR
ULRA Representative – PAKISTAN
One day, a mother brought her child who was always sick and requested a priest to bless her. After the priest prayed, he blessed the Miraculous Medal with Holy Water and gave it to the mother who made her child to wear it everyday. She also prayed the novena to St. Philomena! After a few weeks, the child got well and up to this day, for 5 years, the child is doing well in the school and never again admitted in the hospital like before!
Many mothers tell me that, when I blessed the Miraculous Medal with Holy Water and gave it to the children, many of them get better, behave well and perform well in schools! The Miraculous Medal is very powerful!
Fr. Patrick Mary Philomena
ULRA Representative, KENYA - AFRICA