Tuesday, December 7, 2010


On the 5th and 12th centuries, St. Augustine and St. Bernard, respectively, pointed out a contradiction:  "How could Jesus be the savior of a human creature who had been exempt from sin from the moment of conception?"  This issue sparked debates among theologians for centuries, until theologian Duns Scutos argued that the Virgin Mary is favored with an "anticipated redemption," but still this argument didn't settle the issue. 
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

cc photo by Tetraktys on Wikimedia Commons

On November 27, 1830, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the second time to St. Catherine Laboure.  She was standing on a globe.  Her arms were outstretched downwards.  An oval frame formed around her on which were written the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."  Then Mary instructed Catherine to have a medal struck after this model. Countless extraordinary blessings were attributed to the medal after its propagation in 1832 that in 1834, people began calling it the miraculous medal. 

Immaculate Conception

cc photo by MyBiggestFan on flickr

Largely because of the widespread use of Mary's miraculous medal, and the countless debates on the issue of Mary "as conceived without sin," on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX solemnly declared Mary's Immaculate Conception as a dogma in his encyclical Ineffabilis Deus.  

Our Lady of Lourdes
Altar of the Our Lady of Lourdes at the
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines

Then, four years later, on the sixteenth apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette on 25 March 1858, in Lourdes, France. Bernadette asked her who she was.  She answered "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION."  

Oh Mary Immaculate, pray for us!

- Discover Lourdes, ©MSM, 1994-2002. ISBN 2-909998-22-3, p. 27
- The Miraculous Medal Apostolate Affiliation Booklet, pp. 2-4

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