Miraculous Medal has personal significance

Published 3:00 pm Friday, December 2, 2022

By Steve Stricker

Sunday, Nov. 27, first Sunday of Advent, coming of our Lord at Christmas, was also the Feast of the Miraculous Medal 1830.

Thursday, Dec. 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – the two are inextricably linked, to each other and to me.

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In 1988, I made the hardest decision of my life, then and now, to leave my marriage of 10 years and precious three young sons. My hero mother Gert didn’t understand, nor did I, and backed away from me when I needed her most saying, “You look like Christ on the Cross you are so gaunt.” My ex-wife said I was taking it much harder than she.

Working at Southeast Missouri State University at the time, attending Mass at St. Vincent Catholic Church, Cape Girardeau, a lady from church sent a card saying she had lit a candle for me at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville. Gert was born in Perryville, knew the church, but hadn’t been there in years.

One day, wanting to know where my candle was burning, I drove to the Shrine. The church was as beautiful as I remembered with a side altar devoted to Mary.

A beautiful white marble statue or our lady was the focus of this altar and I immediately felt at peace sitting in front of her. I fell asleep – five minutes or an hour, I didn’t know – but awoke feeling refreshed. At their gift shop I picked up literature on the Miraculous Medal to read later.

In 1830 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to then 24-year-old novice, Catherine Laboure, in the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity, on the Rue due Bac in Paris. She assigned her the mission to create a medal of the Immaculate Conception (Mary was conceived without sin to be the Mother of God).

Mary told Catherine, “The ball which you see represents the world, especially France, and each person in particular. These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The jewels which give no rays symbolize the graces that are not given because they are not asked for.”

Our Lady appeared with a white dress, a blue mantle, and a white veil which draped back over her shoulders, had one foot on the head of a serpent, 1830 was marked on the globe. An oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin and written around was the beautiful prayer, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”

The reverse side of the medal was a Cross with a bar at its feet with which was intertwined an “M.” Beneath the “M” were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, both surmounted by flames of love, one having a crown of thorns, and other pierced with a sword.

The Church gradually accepted this as a miracle, and had the medal made and distributed. People in Paris who wore this medal around their neck began experiencing many miracles and renamed the medal, the Miraculous Medal.

Over the altar of Mary are the words, “Special Grace Will Be Shed On All Especially Those Who Wear This Medal Around Their Neck.”

Returning the next day, I purchased this medal and it is the most valuable asset I own and attribute many miracles to it – the main one, getting me to Oxford, Ole Miss, Ph.D.

I never take it off.

Christmas is the season of miracles – pray to the Mother of God for help in your life, birth of her son, Jesus, let go, believe, and see what happens!

Peace Out….

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu