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Title: The Miraculous Medal - Its Origin, History, Circulation, Results
Author: Aladel, Jean Marie
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Miraculous Medal - Its Origin, History, Circulation, Results" ***

(This file was produced from images generously made


The Daughter of Charity, favored with the Vision of the Miraculous
Medal in 1830. Died December 31, 1876._]


                            MIRACULOUS MEDAL


                _Origin, History, Circulation, Results_.

                           BY M. ALADEL, C.M.

                      TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH,

                               BY P.S.,

               Graduate of St. Joseph's, Emmitsburg, Md.


                          H.L. KILNER & CO.,

                   COPYRIGHT, 1880, BY JOHN B. PIET.





_Oh Mary, conceived without sin, Virgin incomparable, august Mother of
Jesus, thou who hast adopted us for thy children, and who hast given us
so many proofs of thy maternal tenderness, deign to accept this little
book, feeble token of our gratitude and love!_

_Oh! may it be instrumental in attracting and attaching inviolably to
thee, the hearts of all who read it!_

_O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!_

                        _AUTHOR'S DECLARATION._

In conformity with the decree of Pope Urban VIII, we declare that
the terms miracle, revelation, apparition and other expressions of a
similar nature here employed, have, in our intention, no other than a
purely historical value, and that we submit unreservedly the entire
contents of this book to the judgment of the Apostolic See.


Since the hour when the Beloved Disciple took the Blessed Virgin to
his own, the followers of her Divine Son have always cherished a
reverential affection for her above all other creatures. They have
regarded her as the ideal of all that is true and pure and sweet and
noble in the Christian life, and they have honored her as the most
favored of mortals, the greatest of saints, the masterpiece of the
Almighty. The peculiar veneration paid to her by the Apostles, was
caught up by the first Christians, who regarded her with awe because
of her great dignity; and when she died, her memory was held in
benediction. But death could not sever her from those who, in the
person of St. John, had been given to her for her children. She still
lived for the Church. From the time when the faithful took refuge
in the Catacombs to the fifth century, when the Council of Ephesus
solemnly sanctioned the homage paid to her as the Mother of God, her
intercession was often invoked; and from that day, devotion towards her
has increased until our own age, when the nations of the earth unite to
proclaim her Blessed.

Often has Mary given signal proofs of the pleasure she takes in the
devotion of her clients and of the power she possesses to grant their
petitions. Graces asked through her mediation have been suddenly
obtained; wonders in the way of cures and conversions have been wrought
at her shrines; disasters have been averted; plagues have been made
to cease; and, to crown all her favors, apparitions have occurred, in
which she has shown herself, radiant with the lustre of Heaven, to
her loyal servants; and, in some instances, she has left something
like the scapular, the Miraculous Medal and the fount in the grotto of
Lourdes, as memorials of her visit.

These manifestations of her maternal solicitude have of late been more
frequent, more renowned, and more efficacious than ever. As the end
draws near and the dangers increase, her anxiety for the sanctification
of her own bursts its bonds and urges her to find new ways to the
hearts of men. Among the most recent of these demonstrations, the
Miraculous Medal is one of the most remarkable. How it originated,
how rapidly and widely it has circulated, and how gloriously it has
fulfilled its mission, are told in this book. A more interesting and
edifying history could not easily have been written. To all children of
Mary, in America as elsewhere, it will be welcome, and for them this
edition has been prepared by

                                                        THE PUBLISHER.

    May 4, 1880.

                     PREFACE TO THE FRENCH EDITION


The eighth and last edition of THE HISTORY OF THE MIRACULOUS
MEDAL, extending up to the year 1842, has for a long time been
out of print. More than once efforts have been made to have a new
edition published, but until now they have failed. The recent death
of the Sister who was favored with the Blessed Virgin's confidence,
has again excited a general desire for the work; for many persons are
eager to learn the origin of the medal, and others hope to get the full
particulars of it. For these reasons, the present edition has been

Believing that it would gratify our readers, we have placed at the
beginning of the book a biographical sketch of the privileged Sister,
Catherine Labouré, and to it we have added some notes concerning M.
Aladel, her Director, who was the author of the previous editions.

These editions of the History presented but a very condensed account
of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin in 1830; for serious reasons
induced M. Aladel to suppress many things. He feared especially to
attract attention to the humble daughter who had transmitted Heaven's
orders, and who, it was best, should remain unknown to the end of her

Now, these fears are no longer an obstacle, and we are permitted to
publish, for the edification of the faithful, all that the Sister
revealed, at least, all that we still possess of these communications.
At the time of the last edition, M. Aladel could understand but
imperfectly the import of the vision of the medal, but certain events
of subsequent occurrence, have placed this important revelation in a
clearer light, and fully established its connection with the past and
the future. We have endeavored to show the designs of Providence, by
proving that the apparition of 1830 was not an isolated fact; that
it marked the end of a disastrous period for the Church and society;
that it was the beginning of a new era, an era of mercy and hope; that
it was a preparation for the definition of the Immaculate Conception
as a dogma of faith; in fine, that it was the first of a series of
supernatural manifestations, which have greatly increased devotion to
the Blessed Virgin, insomuch, that our age may justly be styled the age
of Mary.

We have judged it advisable to omit quite a number of miraculous
occurrences related in the preceding editions, and substitute for them
others not less authentic, but more recent, thus demonstrating that
the medal is as efficacious in our days, as it was at the time of its

We ask those who may hereafter obtain similar favors, to send an
account of them, together with satisfactory vouchers of their
authenticity, to the Superior-General of the Daughters of Charity, rue
du Bac, 140, or to the Director of the Daughters of Charity, rue de
Sevres, 95, Paris.



  DEDICATION,                                                      iii

  THE AUTHOR'S DECLARATION,                                          v

  PREFACE,                                                         vii


      Sister Catherine, Daughter of Charity--Her Birth--Early
      Life--Vocation--Entrance into the Community--Apparition of
      the Blessed Virgin--The Medal--Sister Catherine is sent to
      d'Enghien Hospital--Her humble, hidden Life--Her Death.


      Mary's Agency in the Church--This Agency always manifest, seems
      to have disappeared during the Eighteenth and at the beginning
      of the Nineteenth Century--Mary reappears in 1830--Motives and
      Importance of this Apparition--The Immaculate Conception.


      Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to Sister Catherine--First
      Apparition: An Angel Conducts the Sister to the Chapel--Mary
      Converses with Her--Second Apparition: Mary standing upon
      a Globe, her hands emitting Rays of Light, symbolic of
      Grace--Mary orders a Medal to be Struck--Third Apparition: Mary
      Repeats the Order.


      The Medal Appears--The Welcome it Receives--Canonical
      Investigation ordered by Mgr. de Quélen--Wonderful Circulation
      of the Medal.


      Development of the Devotion to the Immaculate Conception--Mgr.
      de Quélen's Circular.


      Extraordinary Graces obtained by means of the Miraculous
      Medal--Graces obtained from 1832 to 1835--During the year 1835,
      in France, Switzerland, Savoy, Turkey--From 1836 to 1838, in
      France, Italy, Holland, &c.--Notre Dame des Victoires--From
      1838 to 1842, in Greece, America, China, &c.--From 1843 to
      1877, in France, Germany, Italy, America.


      Progress of the Devotion to Mary crowned by the Definition of
      the Immaculate Conception--Our Lady of La Salette--The Children
      of Mary--The Definition of the Immaculate Conception.


      The Miraculous Medal and the War--The War in the East--The
      Italian War--The United States--War between Prussia and
      Austria--Souvenirs of the Commune.


      Recent Manifestations of the Blessed Virgin in the Church--Our
      Lady of Lourdes--Our Lady of Pontmain, &c.--Conclusion.

Table of Engravings of the Miraculous Medal


    Portrait of Sister Catherine Labouré, the Daughter of Charity
    favored with the Vision of the Miraculous Medal in 1830.

    First Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Sister Catherine
    Labouré, Daughter of Charity, during the night of July 18th,
    1830. After a picture painted according to Sister Catherine's
    directions. Summoned by her Guardian Angel, under the form of a
    child, emitting rays of light, Sister Catherine arises, follows
    him to the Chapel, which she finds brilliantly illuminated; she
    afterwards sees the Blessed Virgin seated in the sanctuary. The
    picture represents Sister Catherine at the Blessed Virgin's
    feet, her hands on the Blessed Virgin's knees: "My child,"
    says the Blessed Virgin, "the times are very disastrous, great
    troubles are about to descend upon France; the throne will
    be upset, the entire world will be in confusion by reason of
    miseries of every description."

    Second Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Sister Catherine
    Labouré, November 17th, 1830, first picture. About half-past
    five in the evening, whilst Sister Catharine is taking her
    meditation, the Blessed Virgin again appears. She stands upon a
    hemisphere, and holds in her hand a globe which she offers to
    our Lord. Suddenly her fingers are filled with most dazzling
    rings and precious stones. "This globe," says the Blessed
    Virgin, "represents the whole world and particularly France."
    She adds that the rays escaping from her hands "are symbols of
    the graces she bestows upon those who ask for them."

    Same Apparition, second picture. "Then," relates Sister
    Catherine, "there formed around the Blessed Virgin a somewhat
    oval picture, upon which appeared in golden letters these
    words: 'O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have
    recourse to thee!' and a voice said: 'Have a medal struck upon
    this model; those who wear it indulgenced will receive great
    graces, especially if they wear it on the neck; abundant graces
    will be bestowed upon those who have confidence.'" At that
    instant, the picture being turned, Sister Catherine sees on the
    reverse, the letter M, surmounted by a cross, and beneath this
    the sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

    Medal struck by order of Mgr. de Quélen.                        78

    Apparition of the Miraculous Medal to M. Ratisbonne.           205

    Representation of the Miraculous Medal, modelled in accordance
    with the description given by Sister Catherine Labouré.
                                                              272, 273





It is an extensively credited assumption, that those who are favored
with supernatural communications should have something extraordinary
in their person and mode of life. One easily invests them with an
ideal of perfection, which, in some measure, sets them apart from
the majority of mankind. But if, at any time, an occasion occurs of
proving that such an assumption is erroneous, if we discover in these
divine confidants weaknesses or only infirmities, we are astonished
and tempted to be scandalized. Among the Christians who knew St. Paul
only by reputation, some were disappointed on a closer acquaintance;
they said his appearance was too unprepossessing and his language too
unrefined for an apostle. Were not the Jews scandalized that Our Lord
ate and drank like others, that His parents were poor, that He came
from Nazareth, and that He conversed with sinners? So true is it, that
we are always disposed to judge by appearances.

Not so with God. He sees the depths of our hearts, and often what
appears contemptible in the eyes of the world, is great in His.
Simplicity and purity He prizes especially. Exterior qualities, gifts
of intellect, birth and education, are of little value to Him, and when
He has an important mission to confide, it is ordinarily to persons not
possessing these qualifications. Thus, does He display His wisdom and
power, in using what is weak, to accomplish great results. Sometimes,
He chooses for His instruments subjects that are even imperfect,
permitting them to commit faults in order to keep them in all humility,
and convince them that the favors they receive are not accorded their
own merits, but are the gift of God's pure bounty.

These observations naturally prelude Sister Catherine's biography; they
explain in advance the difficulties which might arise in the mind of
the reader at the contrast between a life so simple and ordinary and
the graces showered upon her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sister Catherine (Zoé Labouré) was born May 2, 1806, in a little
village of the Côte-d'Or Mountains, called Fain-les-Moutiers, of the
parish of Moutiers-Saint-Jean. This last place, particularly dear
to St. Vincent, was not far from the cradle of St. Bernard, that
great servant of Mary, nor from the spot where St. Chantal passed a
part of her life, as if in the soil as well as the blood there was a
predisposition to certain qualities or hereditary virtues.

Her parents, sincere Christians, were held in esteem. They cultivated
their farm, and enjoyed that competency which arises from rural labor
joined to simplicity of life. God had blessed their union with a
numerous family, seven sons and three daughters.

At an early age, the sons left the paternal roof; little Zoé, with
her sisters, remained under the mother's eye, but this mother, God
took from Zoé, ere she had completed her eighth year. Already capable
of feeling the extent of this sacrifice, it seemed to her as if the
Blessed Virgin wished to be her only Mother.

An aunt, living at Rémy, took Zoé and the youngest sister to live with
her; but the father, a pious man, who in his youth had even thought of
embracing the ecclesiastical state, preferred having the children under
his own eye, and at the end of two years they were brought home.

Another motive, also, impelled him to act thus. The eldest sister
thought seriously of leaving her family to enter the Community of
Daughters of Charity, and the poor father could not bear the idea of
confiding his house to mercenary hands. And thus, at an age when other
children think only of their sports, Zoé was inured to hard work.

At the age of twelve, with a pure and fervent heart, she made her First
Communion in the church of Moutiers-Saint-Jean. Henceforth, her only
desire was to be solely His who had just given Himself to her for the
first time.

Very soon after, the eldest sister left home to postulate at Langres;
and Zoé, now little mistress of the house, did the cooking, with the
assistance of a woman for the roughest work. She carried the field
hands their meals, and never shrank from any duty however laborious or

Moutiers-Saint-Jean possesses an establishment of the Sisters of St.
Vincent de Paul. Zoé went to see them as often as her household duties
permitted, and the good Sister-Servant, who loved her much, encouraged
the child in her laborious life; yet the latter never spoke to the
Sister of her growing vocation, but awaited, with a secret impatience,
until her sister (two years her junior) would be able to take charge
of the house. It was she to whom Zoé confided her dearest desires, and
then commenced for the two that tender intimacy of life, one of pure
labor and duty, and whose only relaxations were attending the services
of the parish church.

The two young girls, thinking themselves able to dispense with the
servant, dismissed her, and now shared between them all the work. Zoé,
who was very sedate and trustworthy, watched over everything with
the utmost vigilance, and took care of her sister with a mother's

One of her favorite occupations was the charge of the pigeon house,
which always contained from seven to eight hundred pigeons. So
faithfully did she perform this duty, that they all knew her, and as
soon as she appeared they came flying around her in the shape of a
crown. It was, says her sister, a most charming spectacle--innocence
attracting the birds, which are its symbol.

In youth, we see her, already modest in deportment, serious in
character, pious and recollected in the parochial church which she
regularly attended, kneeling upon the cold stones even in winter. And
this was not the only mortification she practiced; to bodily fatigue,
she added from her tenderest youth that of fasting every Wednesday
and Saturday. It was for a long time without her father's knowledge;
at length, discovering his daughter's pious ruse, he endeavored to
dissuade her; but all his reproaches were not able to overcome her love
of penance, she believed it her duty to prefer the interior voice of
God to that of her father.

In all this we clearly discern the character of the future Sister,
with its virtues and defects. On one side, we see true simplicity,
unselfishness, constant application to the most laborious duties under
the safeguard of innocence and fervor; on the other, a disposition
accustomed to govern, and which could not yield without an internal

During this life of rural toil, she never lost sight of her vocation.
Several times was her hand asked in marriage, but she invariably
answered that, long affianced to Jesus her good Saviour, she wished no
other spouse than Him. But had she yet made choice of the Community she
would enter? It is doubtful, especially when we consider the following
event of her life, which deeply impressed her, and always remained
graven in the memory of her dear sister who related it.

Being still in her father's house at Fain-les-Moutiers, she had
a dream, which we may consider as an inspiration from God and a
preparation for her vocation.

It seemed to her that she was in the Purgatorian chapel of the
village church. An aged priest of venerable appearance and remarkable
countenance appeared in the chapel, and began to vest himself for
Mass; she assisted at it, deeply impressed with the presence of this
unknown priest. At the end of Mass, he made her a sign to approach, but
affrighted, she drew back, yet ever keeping her eyes fixed upon him.

Leaving the church, she went to visit a sick person in the village.
Here, she again finds herself with the aged priest, who addresses her
in these words: "My daughter, it is well to nurse the sick; you fly
from me now, but one day you will be happy to come to me. God has His
designs upon you, do not forget it." Amazed and filled with fear, the
young girl still flies his presence. On leaving the house, it seemed to
her that her feet scarcely touched the ground, and just at the moment
of entering her home she awoke, and recognized that what had passed was
only a dream.

She was now eighteen years old, knowing scarcely how to read, much less
write; as she was doubtless aware that this would be an obstacle to her
admission into a Community, she obtained her father's permission to
visit her sister-in-law, who kept a boarding school at Châtillon, and
there receive a little instruction. Her father, fearing to lose her,
reluctantly consented to her departure.

Incessantly occupied with thoughts of the vision we have already
related, she spoke of it to the Curé of Châtillon, who said to her: "I
believe, my child, that this old man is St. Vincent, who calls you to
be a Daughter of Charity." Her sister-in-law having taken her to see
the Sisters at Châtillon, she was astonished on entering their parlor
to behold a picture, the perfect portrait of the priest who had said
to her in her dream: "My daughter, you fly from me now, but one day
you will be happy to come to me. God has His designs upon you, do not
forget it." She immediately inquired the name of the original, and when
told that it was St. Vincent, the mystery vanished; she understood that
it was he who was to be her Father.

This circumstance was not of a nature to quench the ardor of her
desires. She remained but a short time with her sister-in-law. The
humble country girl was ill at ease amidst the young ladies of the
school, and she learned nothing.

It was at this time she became acquainted with Sister Victoire Séjole,
who was afterwards placed over the house at Moutiers-Saint-Jean. Though
young, already thoroughly devoted to God and His poor, Sister Victoire
divined the candor of this soul and its sufferings; she immediately
begged her Sister-Servant to admit Zoé as a postulant without delay,
offering herself to bestow particular pains upon her, instructing her
in whatever was indispensable for her as a Daughter of Charity.

But Zoé could not yet profit by the interest good Sister Victoire had
taken in her; this happiness was to be dearly bought.

When she acquainted her father with her intentions, the poor father's
heart rebelled; he had already given his eldest daughter to St.
Vincent's family, and now, to sacrifice her who for years had so
wisely directed his household, seemed indeed beyond his strength. He
considered a means of dissuading her from her plans, and thought he
had found it by sending her to Paris, to one of his sons who kept a
restaurant, telling him to seek by various distractions to extinguish
in the sister's heart all idea of her vocation. Time of trial and
suffering for the young aspirant, who, far from losing the desire of
consecrating herself to God, only sighed more ardently after the happy
day when she could quit the world.

She now thought of writing to her sister-in-law at Châtillon, and
interesting her in the matter. The latter, touched with this mark of
confidence, had Zoé come to her, and finally obtained the father's
consent. Zoé became a postulant in the house of the Sisters at
Châtillon, in the beginning of the year 1830.

Zoé Labouré was very happy to find, at last, the end of those severe
trials which had lasted almost two years. The 21st of April, 1830, she
reached that much desired haven, the Seminary.[1]

    [Footnote 1: St. Vincent desired that the sojourn which the
    young Sisters make at the Mother House, to be there imbued
    with, and instructed in, the spirit and duties of their
    vocation, should be called the Seminary term; he feared lest
    the word "novitiate," applicable to religious Orders, might
    cause the Daughters of Charity to be regarded as such.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Behold her, then, in possession of all that had been the cherished
object of her desires and affections from earliest childhood! Her soul
could now dilate itself in prayer, and in the joyful consciousness of
being entirely devoted to the service of its God.

During the whole of her Seminary term, she had the happiness of
having for Director of her conscience M. Jean Marie Aladel, of
venerated memory, a priest of eminent piety, excellent judgment and
great experience, austere as a hermit, indefatigable in work, a true
son of St. Vincent de Paul. He was a prudent guide for her in the
extraordinary ways whither God had called her. He knew how to hold
her in check against the illusions of imagination, and especially the
seductions of pride at the same time, that he encouraged her to walk
in the paths of perfection by the practice of the most solid virtues.
M. Aladel did not lose sight of her, even after she was sent to the
Hospital d'Enghien. He thereby gained much for his own sanctification
and the mission confided to him.

Informed by her of God's designs, he devoted himself unreservedly to
the propagation of devotion to Mary Immaculate, and during the last
years of his life, to extend among the young girls educated by the
Sisters of St. Vincent, the association of Children of Mary. He died in
1865, eleven years before his spiritual daughter.[2]

    [Footnote 2: The Life of M. Aladel has been published; 1 volume
    in 12mo. It can be procured in Paris, rue du Bac, 140.]

Three days before the magnificent ceremony of the translation of St.
Vincent de Paul's relics to the chapel of St. Lazare, a feast which
was the signal of renewed life for the Congregation of the Mission,
Sister Labouré was favored with a prophetic vision. The same God who
had called Vincent from the charge of his father's flocks to make him a
vessel of election, was now going to confide to a poor country girl the
secrets of His mercy. Let us give the account of this first impression
in her own simple language.

    "It was Wednesday before the translation of St. Vincent de
    Paul's relics. Happy and delighted at the idea of taking part
    in this grand celebration, it seemed to me that I no longer
    cared for anything on earth.

    "I begged St. Vincent to give me whatever graces I needed, also
    to bestow the same upon his two families and all France. It
    appeared to me that France was in sore need of them. In fine,
    I prayed St. Vincent to teach me what I ought to ask, and also
    that I might ask it with a lively faith."

She returned from St. Lazare's filled with the thought of her blessed
Father, and believed that she found him again at the Community.
"I had," said she, "the consolation of seeing his heart above the
little shrine where his relics are exposed. It appeared to me three
successive days in a different manner: First, of a pale, clear color,
and this denoted peace, serenity, innocence and union.

"Afterwards, I saw it the color of fire, symbolic of the charity that
should be enkindled in hearts. It seemed to me that charity was to be
reanimated and extended even to the extremities of the world.

"Lastly, it appeared a very dark red, a livid hue, which plunged my
heart in sadness. It filled me with fears I could scarcely overcome. I
know not why, nor how, but this sadness seemed to be connected with a
change of government."

It was strange, indeed, that Sister Labouré, at that time, should have
these political forebodings.

An interior voice said to her: "The heart of St. Vincent is profoundly
afflicted at the great misfortunes which will overwhelm France."
The last day of the octave, she saw the same heart vermilion color,
and the interior voice whispered: "The heart of St. Vincent is a
little consoled, because he has obtained from God (through Mary's
intercession) protection for his two families in the midst of these
disasters; they shall not perish, and God will use them to revive the

To ease her mind, she related this vision to her confessor, who told
her to think no more about it; Sister Labouré never dreamed of aught
but obeying, and in no way did she ever reveal it to her companions.

We find this singular favor mentioned in a letter written by Sister
Catherine, in the year 1856, at the command of M. Aladel. The year
she entered the Seminary, this worthy missionary was almost the only
chaplain of the Community. The Congregation of the Mission, scarcely
restored at this epoch, counted at its Mother House but nine priests
in all, and at least half that number were in the Seminary. M. Étienne,
of venerated memory, was Procurator General, and M. Salhorgne, Superior
of St. Vincent's two families. If the laborers were few, the deficiency
was supplied by the devotedness of these few, who multiplied themselves
for the service of the Community. The Divine bounty has prepared for
their charity a beautiful recompense.

According to the notes which Sister Catherine wrote later in obedience
to M. Aladel, the humble daughter during all her Seminary term enjoyed
the undisguised sight of Him whose presence is concealed from our
senses in the Sacrament of His love. "Except," said she, "when I
doubted, then I saw nothing, because I wished to fathom the mystery,
fearing to be deceived."

Our Lord deigned to show Himself to His humble servant, conformably to
the mysteries of the day, and, in connexion with this, she mentions one
circumstance relative to the change of government, which could not have
been foreseen by human means.

"On the Feast of the Holy Trinity," says she, "Our Lord during Holy
Mass appeared to me in the Most Blessed Sacrament as a king with the
cross upon His breast. Just at the Gospel, it seemed to me that the
cross and all His regal ornaments fell at His feet, and He remained
thus despoiled. It was then the gloomiest and saddest thoughts
oppressed me, for I understood from this that the king would be
stripped of his royal garb, and great disasters would ensue."

When the humble daughter had these forebodings concerning the king, he
was then apparently at the pinnacle of fortune. The siege of Algiers
was in progress, and everything predicted the happy success of his
arms. During the early part of July, this almost impregnable fortress
of the pirates fell into the power of France; the whole kingdom
rejoiced at the memorable victory, and the churches resounded with
hymns of thanksgiving.

Alas! this triumph was to be quickly followed by a bloody revolution,
which would overthrow the throne and menace the altars. That very
month, the clergy and religious communities of Paris were seized with
terror. M. Aladel was greatly alarmed for the Daughters of Charity and
the Missionaries, but Sister Labouré never ceased to reassure him,
saying that the two communities had nothing to fear, they would not

One day she told him that a bishop had sought refuge at St. Lazare's,
that he could be received without hesitation, and might remain there
in safety. M. Aladel paid little attention to these predictions,
but returning sadly to his house, he was accosted on entering by M.
Salhorgne, who told him that Mgr. Frayssinous, Bishop of Hermopolis,
and Minister of Religious Worship under Charles X, had just come,
begging an asylum from the persecution that pursued him.

These revelations bore an impress of truth which it was difficult to
ignore; so in feigning to mistrust them, M. Aladel listened with the
deepest interest. He began to persuade himself that the spirit of God
inspired this young Sister; and after seeing the accomplishment of
several things she had foretold, he now felt disposed to give credence
to other and more marvellous communications she had confided to him.

According to her testimony, the Most Holy Virgin had appeared to her,
these apparitions were repeated various times, she had been charged to
acquaint her Director with what she had seen and heard, an important
mission had been confided to her, that of having struck and circulated
a medal in honor of the Immaculate Conception.

The third chapter of this volume gives a detailed account of these
visions, just as they have been transmitted to us from the hand of the
Sister herself.

Notwithstanding the sensible assurances of the Sister's veracity, M.
Aladel listened to these communications with mistrust, as he tells us
himself, in the canonical investigation prescribed in 1836 by Mgr.
de Quélen; he professed to consider them of little value, as if they
had been the pious vagaries of a young girl's imagination. He told
her to regard them in the same light, and he even went so far as to
humble her, and reproach her with a want of submission. The poor
Sister, unable to convince him, dared speak no more of the apparitions
of the Blessed Virgin; she never mentioned the subject to him except
when she felt herself tormented and constrained to do so by an almost
irresistible desire.

"Such was the reason," says M. Aladel, "that she spoke to him
concerning the matter but three times, although the visions were much
oftener repeated." After thus relieving her heart, she became perfectly
calm. The investigation also shows us that Sister Catherine sought no
other confidant of her secrets than her confessor; she never mentioned
them to her Superior or any one else. It was to M. Aladel Mary had
directed her, to him only did she speak, and she even exacted of him
the promise that her name would never be mentioned.[3]

    [Footnote 3: Verbal process of the investigation made by order
    of Mgr. de Quélen in 1836, upon the origin of the medal, MS. p.

After this pledge, M. Aladel related the vision to M. Étienne and
others, but without designating the Sister's identity, directly or
indirectly. We shall see later how Providence always guarded her secret.

These celestial communications, we may easily imagine, produced in the
soul of Sister Labouré profound impressions, which usually remained
even after she had finished her devotions, and which rendered her in
some degree oblivious of what was passing around her. It is related
that after one of these apparitions she rises like the others at the
given signal, leaves the chapel, and takes her place in the refectory,
but remains so absorbed that she never thinks of touching the meal
apportioned her.

Sister Caillaud, third Directress, going her rounds, says bluntly to
her: "Ah! Sister Labouré, are you still in an ecstasy?" This recalls
her to herself, and the good Directress, who knows not how truly she
has spoken, suspects nothing.

Meanwhile, Sister Catherine approached the end of her Seminary term,
and in spite of her affirmations at once so artless and so exact, her
Director always refused to credit them. She had the affliction of
leaving the Mother House without being able to obtain anything, even a

It was because the affair was graver than she thought; the supernatural
origin of the favor he was directed to communicate to the public could
be contested, and the prudent Director saw that in such a matter he
could neither exact too many proofs, nor take too many precautions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sister Labouré was clothed with the holy habit in the month of January,
1831, and sent under the name of Sister Catherine to the Hospital
d'Enghien in the faubourg St. Antoine. Here she could continue her
communications with M. Aladel. This good father did not lose sight of
her; though apparently giving no credit to his penitent revelations,
he was studying her carefully to convince himself whether or not these
visions were the product of a weak, enthusiastic mind and excited
imagination. But the more he studied her, the more confident he felt
that there was nothing of this in Sister Labouré. The judgment formed
of her by the Directresses of the Seminary was, that she had a somewhat
reserved but calm, positive character, which M. Aladel qualified as
cold and even apathetic.

This last epithet, however, was not applicable to Sister Catherine,
in whom her companions, on the contrary, recognized a very impulsive
temperament. But his opinion proves, at least, that there was no
excessive imagination. Moreover, she proved herself solidly grounded
in virtue, whilst no one ever perceived anything extraordinary in her
demeanor, and especially in her devotions.

Before going to her new destination, Sister Labouré passed some days in
one of the large establishments of Paris. Wishing to examine the young
Sister more leisurely, M. Aladel made a pretext of visiting the Sisters
at this house. The account of these visions had already been circulated
throughout the Community, and it was known that M. Aladel had received
the Sisters' confidence; hence, as soon as he appeared, the Sisters
surrounded him, and each one eagerly plied him with questions. He had
his eye upon Sister Catherine, who, without being disconcerted, quietly
mingled her inquiries with the others. The worthy missionary was
reassured, understanding that the Sister kept her secret.

The last time the Blessed Virgin appeared to Sister Labouré in
the sanctuary of the Mother House, she said to her: "My daughter,
henceforth you will see me no more, but you will hear my voice during
your meditations." And, indeed, during the whole course of her life,
she had frequent communications of this kind. They were no longer
sensible apparitions, but mental visions, that she well knew how to
distinguish from the illusions of imagination or the impressions of a
pious fervor.

Her mission had not been accomplished in regard to the medal. Some
months elapsed, and the Immaculate Virgin complained to Sister
Catherine that her orders had not been executed.

"But, my good Mother," replied Sister Catherine, "you see that he will
not believe me." "Be calm," was the answer; "a day will come when he
will do what I desire; he is my servant, and he would fear to displease

These words were soon verified.

When the pious missionary received this communication, he began to
reflect seriously. "If Mary is displeased," said he, "it is not with
the young Sister, whose position prevents her doing anything; it must
be with me." This thought troubled him.[4] A long time previous, he
had related these visions to M. Étienne, then Procurator General. One
day, at the beginning of the year 1832, when they had gone together on
a visit to Mgr. de Quélen, M. Aladel profited by the opportunity to
speak to the latter of these apparitions, and especially of his own
embarrassment, since the Blessed Virgin had complained to the Sister of
the delay in fulfilling her commands.

    [Footnote 4: Verbal process of the investigation, p. 5.]

Mgr. de Quélen replied that, seeing nothing in it at all contrary to
faith, he had no objection to the medal being struck at once. He even
asked them to send him some of the first.

The ravages of the cholera, which had broken out meanwhile, retarded
the execution of this design until June; the 30th of that month, two
thousand medals were struck, and M. Aladel hastened to send some of
them to the Archbishop of Paris.

Mgr. de Quélen wished to make an immediate trial of its efficacy; he
was very much troubled concerning the spiritual condition of the former
Archbishop of Mechlin, Mgr. de Pradt, now on the verge of death; he
desired his conversion so much the more earnestly, as the death of this
prelate might be the occasion of scandal and grave disorders, such as
have accompanied the interment of the constitutional bishop Gregory.
Providing himself with a medal, he went to visit the sick man. At
first he was refused admittance, but very soon the dying man repents
of it, and sends him an apology, with a request to call again. In this
interview, he testifies to His Grace a sincere repentance for his past
life, retracts all his errors, and after receiving the Last Sacraments,
he dies that very night in the arms of the Archbishop, who, filled with
a holy joy, eagerly imparts this consoling news to M. Aladel.

The worthy missionary sent a medal to Sister Catherine, who received
it with great devotion and respect,[5] and said: "Now it must be
disseminated." This was easy to do among the Daughters of Charity, who
had all heard whispers of these apparitions; the eagerness to receive
the medals was general, they were distributed freely, and cures and
conversions multiplied themselves accordingly in all ranks of society,
so that very soon the medal received the appellation of miraculous.

    [Footnote 5: Verbal process of the investigation.]

A witness of these wonders, the heart of Father Aladel dilated with
joy, and he believed it his duty to publish a notice of the origin of
the medal, and thus satisfy all the inquiries addressed him on the
subject. For the glory of God and Mary, he added an account of all the
consoling facts that had come to his knowledge.

What said Sister Catherine in hearing of these wonderful occurrences?
Less than any one; she was astonished; doubtless her joy was great, but
it was confined within the silence of her heart. Occasionally she sent
some new message to M. Aladel, begging him to have an altar erected
commemorative of the apparition, and telling him that many graces and
indulgences would be attached thereto, and fall most abundantly upon
himself and the Community.

She urged him also to solicit particular spiritual favors, assuring him
that he might ask freely, for all his requests would be granted.

But this worthy priest, whose position in the Community, as we have
already said, was that of simple chaplain, prudently kept silence,
holding himself in reserve until the favorable moment should arrive
for him to act. Some years after, M. Étienne, his intimate friend, was
elected Superior General, and he was made assistant of the Congregation
and Director of the Daughters of Charity; in concert, they formed the
design of erecting to the Immaculate Mary an altar more in accordance
with her maternal bounty and the gratitude of her children. Providence
itself seemed to co-operate with the execution of their plan, the
Community receiving from the government just then a present of two
magnificent blocks of white marble, in recognition of the Sisters'
services to the cholera patients and their orphans. One was destined
for an altar, the other for a statue of the Immaculate Mary.

Meanwhile, the number of inmates at the Mother House, the Seminary
especially, increased daily. The new life infused into the Community
had awakened many vocations, and the centre of reunion had become
inadequate in size to its purposes, the chapel particularly was much
too small. In enlarging it, the architect had a difficult problem to
resolve: he must respect the sanctuary honored by Mary's visit, and
yet extend the enclosure. He did so by adding side aisles, on a lower
foundation, surmounted with galleries. If the edifice, always too low
and small, gained nothing in the way of art, it has, at least, the
advantage of preserving intact the exact spot where the Most Holy
Virgin appeared.

The former altar was taken into the side chapel dedicated to St.
Vincent, and the holy founder was there represented holding that heart,
burning with love of God and the poor, as it had appeared to Sister
Catherine in the vision. A plaster statue of the Immaculate Conception
occupied temporarily the place over the main altar, destined for the
marble statue, which for various causes was not solemnly inaugurated
till 1856.

It was a day of great rejoicing for the Mother House; the statue was
not a cold, mute representation; ... it was an eloquent image of Mary;
here had this merciful Mother spoken and promised her graces; daily
experience had confirmed these promises, and the statue still awakens
in the hearts of those who come to pray at her feet, the deepest and
tender emotions. Yes, Mary is indeed here. She speaks to the hearts of
her children. She makes them feel that she loves and protects them!

Sister Catherine said also to M. Aladel, in the early period of her
vocation: "The Blessed Virgin wishes you to found a Congregation, of
which you will be the Superior. It is a Sodality of Children of Mary;
the Blessed Virgin will shower many graces upon it, and indulgences
will be granted it."

The reader will see, in the course of the volume, how this work was
realized, and how admirably Providence has extended the association.

She also told him that the month of May would be celebrated with much
magnificence, and become universal in the Church; that the month of St.
Joseph would likewise be kept with solemnity; that devotion to this
great Saint would greatly increase, as well as devotion to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus.

So many miracles wrought everywhere and every day, so many signal
testimonies of Mary's protection, made it an obligation on the
Community, and especially the Seminary where they had originated, to
perpetuate so precious a souvenir.

Two pictures were therefore ordered, one representing the vision of
the medal, the other that of St. Vincent's heart. The artist, wishing
to depict the Blessed Virgin as accurately as possible, consulted M.
Aladel as to the color of the veil.----

The missionary's embarrassment was great; he had forgotten this item,
but attaching more importance to the details than Sister Catherine
thought, he wrote to her, and under the pretext of warning her against
the illusions of the demon, he asked her to describe again the Blessed
Virgin's appearance in the vision of the medal. Sister Catherine
made this answer: "Just now, my Father, it would be impossible for me
to recall all that I saw, one detail alone remains, it is, that the
Blessed Virgin's veil was the color of morning light."

This was just what M. Aladel wished to know, and precisely the only
thing Sister Catherine could recollect.

These little incidents, regulated by Providence, were not lost; they
increased the confidence of the wise Director. When the pictures were
placed in the Seminary, M. Aladel discreetly took measures to have
Sister Catherine come to see them, just at the very time he would
be there as if by chance. Another Sister, accidentally meeting them
there, has a suspicion of the truth, and turning suddenly to the worthy
Father, she says: "This is certainly the Sister who had the vision!"
He is greatly embarrassed, and sees no way of extricating himself from
the difficulty, except by calling upon Sister Catherine to answer. She
laughed, saying: "You have guessed well," but with such simplicity that
the other Sister said to the Father: "Oh! I see plainly that it is not
she; you would not have asked her to tell me."

During the course of her long life, Sister Catherine was subjected to
trials of this sort.

The details Mgr. de Quélen had received from M. Aladel concerning
the vision of the medal interested him deeply, and he was anxious to
become acquainted with the favored Sister. M. Aladel replied that
the Sister insisted upon remaining unknown. "As for that," said His
Grace, "she can put on a veil and speak to me without being seen." M.
Aladel excused himself anew, saying it was for him a secret of the

M. Ratisbonne, miraculously converted in 1842 by the apparition of the
Miraculous Medal, also ardently desired to speak with the Sister first
favored by this celestial vision, and he often but vainly entreated her
Director's permission.

Those around her frequently asked embarrassing questions, or
expressed their suspicions. When too closely pressed, she found means
of making the curious feel their indiscretion, so that it was not
repeated. Moreover, her great simplicity ordinarily disconcerted her

On several occasions, the Blessed Virgin seemed to aid her; thus, in
the investigation of 1836, and in the deposition made to the Promoter,
M. Aladel declared that he had vainly endeavored to persuade Sister
Catherine to be present, he could not overcome her repugnance; and
moreover, they would interrogate her to no purpose, she had forgotten
everything concerning the event.

The same thing happened one day, it is said, in the presence of M.
Étienne, then Superior General; he could not succeed in making her
speak, she remembered nothing. It is this which gave rise to the rumor
in the Community, that the vision was completely effaced from the
memory of the Sister who had been favored with it.

Thanks to this opinion, Sister Catherine was enabled to remain long
years truly concealed in her modest duties; employed first in the
kitchen, then in the clothes-room; afterwards, for nearly forty years,
she had charge of the old men's ward of the Hospital d'Enghien,
combining with this duty the care of the poultry yard.

       *       *       *       *       *

She loved these humble duties. Everything was kept in perfect order,
and for her there was no greater happiness than that of being among
her poor. At the end of her life, she spoke of it as her chief
consolation. "I have always," said she, "loved to stay at home;
whenever there was question of a walk, I yielded my turn to others that
I might serve my poor."

And this was true. One walk only was she unwilling to forego, that
which led to the Community, and she knew no other road but that to the
Mother House. When she could make this visit she never yielded her turn.

Her attraction for silence and the hidden life always kept her in the
rear, as the place most suitable for her, and most favorable to the
spirit of recollection. She ceded to none the lowest and most repulsive
duties of her ward, duties which she termed the pearls of a Daughter
of Charity; she moved calmly and quietly, avoiding precipitation, and
when advanced in years, the young Sisters, her assistants, often heard
from her lips these words: "Ah! my dear, do not be so agitated, be more

She regarded as one of the most cherished souvenirs of her Community
life, that of her first Sister-Servant, "a dear soul," said she, "who
every year sent the first fruits of her garden to the indigent families
of the faubourg, or to her old men. The Sisters were not allowed to
touch them until this had been done."

This aged Superior was Sister Savard, who never supposed that Sister
Catherine was favored with especial graces, and particularly with the
vision of the Blessed Virgin.

Our humble daughter Catherine respected and loved all the Sisters under
whom she served, and never did she utter a word against them; she saw
only their virtues and good qualities.

"Child of duty and labor, but especially of humility," says her last
Superior, "Sister Catherine was not truly appreciated except by
those who studied her sufficiently to perceive the great simplicity,
uprightness, and purity pervading her soul, her mind, her heart, her
whole person.

"Never arrogating to herself the slightest merit on account of the
singular favors with which the Immaculate Virgin had loaded her, she
said, one day towards the close of her life, when Providence permitted
a slight allusion to this subject: 'I, favored Sister! I have been
only an instrument; it was not for myself the Blessed Virgin appeared
to me. I knew nothing, not even how to write; it was in the Community
I learned all I know; and because of my ignorance the Blessed Virgin
chose me, that no one might doubt."

Is not the conclusion inspired by the spirit of St. Vincent, "I have
been chosen, because being nothing, no one could doubt that such great
things are the work of God."

Sister Catherine cared little for the esteem or contempt of others.
Despite her rigid silence, there always hovered over her the suspicion
that it was she who had seen the Blessed Virgin; no one dared tell her
so; but in consequence of the suspicion, she was more closely observed,
and more severely judged than any one else, and if by chance her
companions discovered in her some slight weakness of nature, or even
the absence of some heroic virtue, the thought was immediately rejected
that the Blessed Virgin had chosen so ordinary a person.

The testimony of one of her first companions confirms the impression
on this point, an impression repeated a hundred fold. This companion
writes to Sister Dufès: "Having passed six years with Sister
Catherine, and worked constantly with her one year, it would seem
that I could cite a great number of details full of interest and
edification; but I am forced to confess that her life was so simple,
so uniform, that I find nothing in it to remark. Notwithstanding the
whispered assurances that she was the Sister so favored by the Blessed
Virgin, I scarcely credited it, so much was her life like that of
others. Sometimes, I sought to enlighten myself indirectly on the
subject by questioning her as to the impression such extraordinary
occurrences had produced in the Seminary, hoping that her answers would
betray her, and thereby satisfy my curiosity, but she replied with so
much simplicity that my hopes were always deceived."

It is true, Sister Catherine had nothing remarkable about her, and yet
nothing common or trivial.

Her height was above the medium; her regular features bore the seal
of modesty; and her clear blue eye was indicative of candor. She was
industrious, simple, and not the least mystical in her spiritual
exercises; she affected neither great virtues nor particular devotions,
well pleased to cherish them in the depths of her heart, and practice
them according to the rule with fidelity and exactness.

After her death, some notes were found written by her own hand during
one of the annual retreats. Everything in them is simple, solid,
practical, and there is not one word of allusion to the extraordinary
graces she had received; even when addressing the Blessed Virgin,
nothing recalls the familiarity with which Mary had treated her. Here
are some extracts, in which no changes have been made except those of

    "I will take Mary for my model at the commencement of all my
    actions; in everything, I will consider if Mary were engaged
    thus, how and wherefore she would do this, with what intention.
    Oh! how beautiful and consoling is the name of Mary ... Mary!

    "Resolution to offer myself to God without reserve, to bear
    every little contradiction in a spirit of humility and
    penance, to beg in all my prayers that the will of God may be
    accomplished in me. O my God! do with me as Thou wilt! O Mary!
    grant me your love, without which I perish; bestow upon me all
    the graces I need! O Immaculate Heart of Mary! obtain for me
    the faith and love which attached you to the foot of the cross
    of Jesus Christ!

    "O sweet objects of my affections, Jesus and Mary, let me
    suffer for you, let me die for you, let me be all for you and
    no longer anything for myself!

    "Not to complain of the little contradictions I meet with among
    the poor, and to pray for those who cause me suffering. O Mary,
    obtain for me this grace, through your virginal purity!

    "To employ my time well, and not to spend one moment
    unprofitably. O Mary, happy those who serve you and put their
    confidence in you!

    "O Mary, Mary, Mary, pray, pray, pray for us, poor sinners, now
    and at the hour of our death! Mary, O Mary!

    "In my temptations and times of spiritual dryness, I will
    always have recourse to Mary, who is purity itself. O Mary,
    conceived without sin!----

    "O Mary, make me love you, and it will not be difficult to
    imitate you!

    "Humility, simplicity and charity are the foundation of our
    holy vocation. O Mary, make me understand these holy virtues!
    St. Vincent, pray, pray for us!

    "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray, pray for us! Deign, O
    Queen of Angels and of men, to cast a favorable eye upon the
    whole world ... especially upon France ... and each person
    in particular! O Mary, inspire us what to ask of you for our

       *       *       *       *       *

Sister Catherine lived forty-six years in a large establishment, under
the direction of five successive Superiors; she was brought in contact
with many companions of different dispositions and different degrees of
virtue, consequently the esteem in which she was held varied. If they
sometimes gave her to understand that her mind was failing, such things
troubled her little, and she always quietly went her way, receiving
kindness with grateful simplicity, and ungracious words without

Faithful to the rule with such uniform exactness, that merit seems
to disappear before habit, she never uttered a word against charity.
Even when age had given her some privileges over her young companions,
rarely did she allow herself to blame or advise them; not, at least,
unless they consulted her, then she advised submission. "Everything
is in that," said she, "without obedience, Community life is not
possible." To the very end of her days, her obedience to her Superior
was as perfect as when she left the Seminary.

We must not, however, suppose that Sister Catherine was of a yielding,
gentle temperament, to which obedience was natural; no, on the
contrary, she had a strong will and quick temper. Thoroughly versed in
household labors, she performed her part with great care and assiduity,
and directed most scrupulously all that was entrusted to her charge.
Her impulsive temper sometimes displayed itself in little sallies of
impatience, the firm tone of her words revealing at times what virtue
ordinarily caused her to repress. When the first heat was over, she
immediately repented of it and humbled herself.

It was often observed that this first movement of surprise, just ready
to escape, was held captive, not by human respect, but by a superior
will; thus proving that her implicit obedience was due her fidelity to

Understanding her nature, we can now form an idea of what Sister
Catherine suffered from the opposition she experienced in realizing her
mission; even though these contradictions, especially after the medal
had been struck, were more apparent than real on the part of her wise
Director, they were none the less painful to her. Might we not say that
these trials constituted an interior martyrdom sustained by God and
known to him alone?

Sister Catherine, despite her strong constitution, was not exempt from
physical suffering, and her companions were sometimes astonished at the
simplicity with which she asked for little comforts that a mortified
soul would have denied itself. These slight defects formed a veil that
obscured the sight of many, and partially concealed the beauties of her

Apparently, the very depths of this simple nature might be read at a
glance, and yet she faithfully guarded the secrets of God. In her were
seen, by a singular contrast, prudence and discretion allied to perfect
simplicity. Thus, whilst some found her a little too thoughtful of her
health, others observed that on all great feasts of the Blessed Virgin,
particularly that of the Immaculate Conception, she was either sick
or suffering acute pain, which trials the humble Sister received as a
favor from her celestial Mother.

The Superior of the Hospital d'Enghien relates that, one year, when
Sister Catherine had gone with several of her companions to spend the
beautiful Feast of December 8th at the Community, on getting into the
omnibus that evening she fell and broke her wrist. She said not a word,
and no one perceived the accident. Some minutes after, seeing that
she held her arm in her handkerchief, Sister Dufès inquired what had
happened. "Ah! Sister," she quietly replied, "I am holding my bouquet;
every year the Blessed Virgin sends me one of this sort."

Detachment from the esteem and affection of creatures was still another
trait characteristic of our dear Sister. God sufficed her; that God
who had manifested Himself to her in so wonderful a manner, that
Immaculate Virgin whose charms had ravished her heart, were her sole
joy and delight. The Blessed Virgin, pointing to the sacred tabernacle
where her divine Son reposes, had said to her: "In all your trials, my
daughter, it is there you must seek consolation." Faithful to these
words of her good Mother, Sister Catherine in moments of trial sought
the chapel, whence she soon returned to her occupations with renewed
serenity of soul and countenance ever cheerful. Jesus and Mary alone
received the confidence of her sufferings and her fervor, so that her
virtues in a measure were concealed from creatures.

One of the Sisters of the house says that, having often observed her
closely to discover, if possible, some trace of her communications with
God, she could find nothing especial except that during prayer she
did not cast down her eyes, but always kept them fixed upon the image
of Mary. She remarks, also, that Sister Catherine never wept except
from great anguish of heart, but many times she saw her shed tears in
abundance on listening to some traits of protection or some conversion
obtained through the Blessed Virgin's intercession, or, as in 1871, at
the evils afflicting the Church and France.

Solidly pious in the midst of companions apparently more so, we see
nothing indeed in our humble Sister to distinguish her from others.
Only one especial circumstance has been remarked, the importance
she attached to the recitation of the chaplet. Let us hear what her
Sister-Servant says on this point--

"We were always struck," writes Sister Dufès, "when saying the chaplet
in common, with the grave and pious manner in which our dear companion
pronounced the words of the Angelical Salutation. And what convinced
us of the depth of her respect and devotion was the fact that she,
always so humble, so reserved, could not refrain from censuring the
indifference, the want of attention, which too often accompanies the
recitation of a prayer, so beautiful and efficacious."

Her love for the two families of St. Vincent, far from diminishing with
age, only incited her to employ continually in their behalf the sole
influence at her disposal, prayer; regularly every week, she offered a
Communion to attract the benediction of Heaven upon the Congregation of
the Mission; her prayers for her Community were incessant.

Sister Catherine always retained the same duty at the Hospital
d'Enghien; with truly admirable solicitude, she nursed the old men
entrusted to her, at the same time not neglecting the pigeon house,
which recalled the purest and sweetest joys of her childhood. The young
girl of former days, whom we have seen with her dear pigeons hovering
round her, was now a poor Sister, quite aged, but none the less
attentive to her little charge.

Sister Catherine was, then, the soul of the little family in charge of
the hospital. During these later years, the number of our Sisters had
increased considerably, and consequently the administration of the two
houses, d'Enghien and Reuilly, being very difficult for one person, an
assistant was sent me for the hospital. If Sister Catherine had not
for years been moulded to obedience and abnegation, it would have been
hard to her quick, impulsive nature, to recognize the authority of a
companion so much younger than herself; but far different were the
thoughts of this humble Sister, who always endeavored to abase herself.

    "She was the first to tender her perfect submission. 'Sister,'
    said she, 'be at ease, it suffices that our Superiors have
    spoken; we will receive Sister Angélique as one sent from God,
    and obey her as we do you.' Her conduct justified her words.

    "Although Sister Catherine guarded rigorously the supernatural
    communications she had received, she occasionally expressed her
    views to me on actual occurrences, speaking then as if inspired
    by God.

    "Thus, at the time of the Commune, she told me that I would
    leave the house accompanied by a certain Sister, that I would
    return the 31st of May, and she assured me I need have no
    fears, as the Blessed Virgin would take my place and guard the
    house. At the time, I paid very little attention to the good
    Sister's words.

    "I left, indeed, and realized, contrary to my plans, and
    without a thought on the subject, all that Sister Catherine
    had predicted. On my return from the Community, May 31st, I
    expressed my anxiety concerning the house, which had been in
    the hands of the Communists, and, it was said, plundered.
    Sister Catherine endeavored to reassure me, repeating that the
    Blessed Virgin had taken care of everything, she was confident
    of it, for the Blessed Virgin had promised her.

    "We found on our arrival that this Mother of mercy had, indeed,
    guarded and saved all, notwithstanding the long occupation of
    our dear house by a mob of furies, whose Satanic pleasure was
    to destroy.

    "One circumstance in particular struck me most forcibly; these
    wretches had made useless efforts to overthrow the statue of
    Mary Immaculate placed in the garden--it had withstood all
    their sacrilegious attempts.

    "Sister Catherine hastened to place upon the head of our august
    Queen the crown she had taken with her in our exile, telling
    the Blessed Virgin she restored it in token of gratitude.

    "Many times did Sister Catherine thus reveal her thoughts to
    me with the simplicity of a child. When her predictions were
    not realized, she would quietly say: 'Ah! well, Sister, I was
    mistaken. I believed what I told you. I am very glad the truth
    is known.'[6]

    [Footnote 6: Persons favored with supernatural communications
    are not thereby preserved from error. They may be deceived in
    misunderstanding what they see or hear, they may be duped by
    the illusions of the demon, they may involuntarily mingle their
    own ideas with those which come from God, and they may fail in
    transmitting with accuracy what has been revealed to them. We
    must also remark that prophecies are frequently conditional,
    and their accomplishment depends upon the manner in which the
    conditions are fulfilled; so that, when the Church approves
    these private revelations, she does nothing more than declare
    that, after grave examination, they may be published for the
    edification of the faithful, and that the proofs given are
    sufficient to ensure belief.

    To the Sacred Writers alone belongs the privilege of
    infallibility in receiving and transmitting divine

    "Meanwhile, time fled, and our good Sister often spoke of her
    approaching end. Our venerated Superiors began to feel anxious
    about losing her, and the Superior General one day sent for
    her to come to the Community that he might receive from her own
    lips certain communications which he considered very important.

    "Sister Catherine, to whom this was wholly unexpected, was
    almost speechless with amazement. On her return, she expressed
    to me her emotion, and, for the first time, opened her heart
    to me concerning that which she had formerly so much feared to

    "This repugnance had vanished; seeing herself on the borders
    of the tomb, she felt constrained to make known the details
    which she thought buried with the venerated Father Aladel,
    and she expressed great grief that devotion to the Immaculate
    Conception was less lively and general than it had been.

    "These communications, moreover, were for myself alone; I
    did not impart them to the other Sisters. It is true, the
    greater number were informed of this pious secret, but they
    never learned it from Sister Catherine herself. All they could
    observe in connexion with it was her ardent love for Mary
    Immaculate and her zeal for the propagation of the Miraculous
    Medal, also that, when she heard one of our Sisters express
    a desire to make the pilgrimage to Lourdes or some other
    privileged sanctuary of Mary, she could not refrain from
    saying, somewhat impetuously: 'But why do you wish to go so
    far? Have you not the Community? Did not the Blessed Virgin
    appear there as well as at Lourdes?' And a most extraordinary
    fact is, that, without having read any of the publications
    concerning this miraculous grotto, Sister Catherine was more
    familiar with what had taken place there than many who had made
    the pilgrimage. Leaving these incidents aside, never did she
    utter a word calculated to give the impression that she had
    any part in the singular favors the Blessed Virgin had lavished
    upon our humble chapel at the Mother House.

    "Since opening her heart to me, this good companion had become
    very affectionate; it was a rest for her, a consolation to
    find some one who understood her. Our worthy Father Chevalier,
    Assistant of the Congregation of the Mission, occasionally
    visited her to receive her communications concerning the
    apparition. One day, he spoke to her of the new edition he was
    preparing of the notice of the medal. 'When M. Aladel's edition
    of 1842 appeared,' replied Sister Catherine, 'I said to him,
    truly, that he would never publish another, and that I would
    never see another edition, because it would not be finished
    during my lifetime.' 'I shall catch you there,' replied M.
    Chevalier, who expected it to appear very soon. But unforeseen
    difficulties having retarded the publication, he subsequently
    recognized that the good Sister had spoken rightly.

    "From the beginning of the year 1876, Sister Catherine alluded
    very frequently to her death; on all our feast days, she never
    failed to say: 'It is the last time I shall see this feast.'
    And when we appeared not to credit her assertion, she added: 'I
    shall certainly not see the year 1877.' We could not, however,
    believe her end so near. For some months she had been obliged
    to keep her bed, and relinquish that active life she had led so
    many years.

    "Her strength was gradually failing; the asthma joined to some
    affection of the heart undermined her constitution; she felt
    that she was dying, but it was without a fear, we might say
    without emotion. One day, when speaking to her of her death:
    'You are not afraid, then,' said I, 'dear Sister Catherine.'
    'Afraid! Sister!' she exclaimed; 'why should I be afraid? I am
    going to our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, St. Vincent.'

    "And, truly, our dear companion had nothing to fear, for her
    death was as calm as her life.

    "Several days previous, one of our Sisters was talking
    familiarly with her, when, without any allusion to the subject
    from the other, our sick Sister said: 'I shall go to Reuilly.'
    This was the name given the House of Providence, separated
    from d'Enghien Hospital by a vast garden, and similar to it
    in the nature of its works. 'What! to Reuilly?' answered her
    companion; 'you would not have the heart to do so, you who love
    so well your Enghien, that you have never left.' 'I tell you, I
    shall go to Reuilly.' 'But when?' 'Ah! that is it!' said Sister
    Catherine, in a decided, mysterious tone, that disconcerted
    her companion. After a few moments, she added: 'There will be
    no need of a hearse at my funeral.' 'Oh! what do you mean?'
    replied the Sister. 'It will not be needed,' said the sick one,
    emphatically. 'But why not?' 'They will put me in the chapel at
    Reuilly.' These words struck her companion, who repeated the
    conversation to me. 'Keep that to yourself,' said I.

    "On the 31st of December, she had several spells of weakness,
    symptoms of her approaching end. We then proposed to her the
    last consolations of religion; she gratefully consented, and
    received the Sacraments with indescribable peace and happiness;
    then, at her request, we recited the litany of the Immaculate

    "Being one day near her bed, speaking to her of Heaven and
    of the Blessed Virgin, she expressed a desire to have during
    her agony sixty-three children, each invoking the Blessed
    Virgin by one of her titles in the litany of the Immaculate
    Conception, and especially these very consoling words: 'Terror
    of demons, pray for us.' It was observed that there were not
    sixty-three invocations in the litany. 'You will find them in
    the office of the Immaculate Conception,' said she. Measures
    were taken to comply with her desires, the invocations were
    written upon slips of paper and kept for the final hour,
    but, just at the time of her agony, we could not collect the
    children; she then asked that the litany be recited, and had us
    repeat three times the invocation which makes hell tremble.

    "Our Sisters were especially touched to hear her exclaim, with
    an accent of deep tenderness: 'My dear Community! my dear
    Mother House!' So true is it, that what we have loved most in
    life returns to us with renewed vigor at the hour of death!

    "Some of her former companions and friends of the House came
    during the day to see her for a last time; one of them,
    holding an office in the Seminary, approaching her, said
    sadly: 'Sister Catherine, are you going to leave us without
    telling me a word of the Blessed Virgin?' Then the dying
    Sister leaned towards her, and whispered softly in her ear
    quite a while. 'I ought not to speak,' said she; 'it is M.
    Chevalier who is commissioned to do that.' ... She continued,
    without interruption: 'The Blessed Virgin has promised to
    grant especial graces every time one prays in the chapel, but
    particularly an increase of purity, that purity of mind, heart,
    will, which is pure love.'

    "This good daughter, animated with the true primitive spirit
    of the Community, was, in uttering these last words, the
    unconscious echo of the venerable Mother Legras, whose writings
    breathe the same thought.

    "A Sister-Servant, who came to visit her, approaching the sick
    Sister, reminded her of the necessities of the Community and
    of the Seminary, and ended by saying: 'Dear Sister Catherine,
    when you get to Heaven, do not forget all this, attend to all
    my commissions.' Sister Catherine answered: 'Sister, my will is
    good, but I have always been so stupid, so dull, I shall not
    know how to explain myself, for I am ignorant of the language
    of Heaven.' Upon which the other, delighted with so much
    simplicity, was inspired to say: 'Oh! my dear Sister Catherine,
    in Heaven we do not speak as we do on earth; the soul regards
    God, the good God regards the soul, and all is understood--that
    is the language of Heaven.' Our dear Sister's countenance
    became radiant at this, and she answered: 'Oh! Sister, if it is
    thus, be tranquil, all your commissions will be fulfilled.'

    "M. Chevalier came, also, that day to give her his blessing,
    and he spoke to her on the same subject. Sister Catherine
    answered him with faculties undimmed, and said to him, among
    other things: 'The pilgrimages the Sisters make are not
    favorable to piety. The Blessed Virgin did not tell me to go
    so far to pray; it is in the Community chapel she wishes the
    Sisters to invoke her, that is their true pilgrimage.'

    "The poor, to whom she was so devoted, likewise occupied her

    "At four in the afternoon, another attack of weakness collected
    us all around our dear, dying one, but the supreme moment had
    not yet come. We surrounded her bed until evening. At seven,
    she seemed to sink into a slumber, and without the least agony
    or the least sign of suffering, she yielded her last sigh.
    Scarcely could we perceive that she had ceased to live....
    Never have I seen a death so calm and gentle."

    "The deepest emotion now filled our hearts; we pondered the
    celestial interview of our blessed companion with that good God
    who had so often revealed Himself to her during her Seminary
    life, and that beautiful Virgin, whose charms can never be
    depicted on earth.

    "It was not sorrow which pervaded our hearts; not a tear was
    shed in these first moments; we yielded to an indescribable
    emotion; we felt ourselves near a Saint; the veil of humility
    under which she had lived so long concealed was now rent, that
    we might see in her only the soul favored by Heaven.

    "Our Sisters disputed the happiness of passing the night beside
    her venerated remains, a magnetic attraction drawing them to

    "To perpetuate the fact that she had received these favors
    whilst still a Seminary Sister, we thought of having her
    photograph taken, also, in the Seminary habit; it succeeded
    completely in both costumes.

    "We now carried her blessed remains into the chapel. There
    the Immaculate Virgin watched over her; lilies and roses
    surrounded her virginal body, and her cherished device--'O
    Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to
    thee'--surrounding this little sanctuary, seemed the last echo
    of her life.

    "Then commenced the miracle of glorified humility; this
    humble Sister, who in life had been scarcely noticed, was
    suddenly surrounded by persons of every age and condition, who
    considered it a very great happiness to come, not to pray for
    her, but to recommend themselves to her blessed intercession.

    "As for us who were keeping watch around our dear relic, we
    could not bear to think of the moment which would take her
    from us. This house which had been protected by her presence
    for forty-six years, would it be deprived of her forever? The
    thought was heart-breaking; it seemed as if we were about
    to lose the protection of the Immaculate Virgin, who would
    henceforth cease to hover over us.

    "On the other hand, to keep our dear Sister with us appeared
    impossible. Our Superiors being consulted, permitted us to
    take measures in accordance with our wishes. We had a world of
    difficulties to surmount.

    "'Pray,' said I to our Sisters; and they passed the night
    supplicating the Immaculate Mary to let our beloved companion
    remain with us.

    "All night long, I vainly tried to think of a suitable resting
    place for her, when suddenly, at the sound of the four o'clock
    bell, I thought I heard these words: 'The vault is under the
    chapel of Reuilly.' 'True enough,' said I, joyfully, like a
    person who suddenly sees the realization of a long deferred
    hope. I remembered now that, during the construction of the
    chapel, a vault had been made communicating with the children's
    refectory. Our worthy Mother Mazin had assigned to it no actual
    purpose, saying we might have use for it hereafter.

    "There was no time to lose. We were on the eve of her funeral,
    and the authorization, so difficult to obtain, had not yet been

    "The vault was hastily prepared, and the petition, sustained by
    influential persons, succeeded as if by enchantment.

    "January 3d, the feast of St. Genevieve, was the day appointed
    for the interment of her, whom we regarded as the tutelary
    angel of our house. But the word 'interment' is not appropriate
    here--'triumph' is the proper expression--for it was a
    veritable triumph for our humble Sister.

    "A deputation was sent from all the houses of our Sisters, that
    had received timely notice, and the little chapel was much too
    small to accommodate the numbers that came. Mass over, the
    funeral cortege which was to accompany the body in procession
    from d'Enghien Hospital to the vault at Reuilly was organized,
    as follows: The inmates of our industrial school, Children of
    Mary, came first, bearing their banner; next to these, all our
    little orphans; then, our young girls of the Society (both
    externs and those belonging to the house), wearing the livery
    of the Immaculate Mary; the parishioners, and lastly, our
    Sisters preceding the clergy.

    "This lengthy procession passed slowly through the long garden
    walk, and whilst the solemn chants of the Benedictus resounded
    afar, the modest coffin appeared in sight, covered with lilies
    and eglantines, emblems of purity and simplicity.

    "At the entrance of the vault, the crowd stood aside, and our
    Children of Mary greeted the arrival of the body by singing the
    blessed invocation: 'O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us
    who have recourse to thee!' It would be impossible to describe
    the effect of these funeral obsequies, of a nature so entirely

    "To preserve our treasure, it was necessary to wall up the
    subterranean entrance, but we had an opening made communicating
    with the chapel.

    "The poor, whom Sister Catherine had nursed, lay a magnificent
    crown on the tomb of St. Vincent's humble daughter, who, in
    life, sought only the lowliest paths, and who had supplicated
    the Blessed Virgin to keep her unknown and unsought."----

The life of dear Sister Labouré was the faithful realization of Our
Lord's words in the Gospel: "I return Thee thanks, Father, that Thou
hast concealed these things from the wise of this world and hast
revealed them to little ones." Never were the gifts of God better
concealed in a soul, under the double mantle of humility and simplicity.

For forty-six years did she lead a life of obscurity and toil, seeking
no other satisfaction than that of pleasing God; she sanctified herself
in the lowliest paths by a faithful correspondence to grace, and an
exact compliance with the practices of a Community life. The favors she
received from Heaven never filled her heart with pride; witness of the
wonders daily wrought by the medal, she never uttered a word that might
lead others to suspect how much more she knew about it than any one

Might we not say, she had chosen for her motto these words of À Kempis:
"Love to be unknown and accounted as nothing?" How faithfully these
traits portray the true daughter of the humble Vincent de Paul!

What, in Heaven, must be the glory of those whose earthly life was
one of self-abasement? Do we not already perceive a faint radiance of
this glory? The obsequies of the humble servant of the poor resembled
a triumph; by an almost unheard of exception, her body remains in
the midst of her spiritual family; her tomb is visited by persons of
every condition, who, with confidence, recommend themselves to her
intercession, and many of whom assure us that their petitions have
been granted. In fine, this biographical notice discloses what Sister
Catherine so carefully concealed, and thus accomplishes Our Lord's
promise: "He who humbleth himself, shall be exalted."




Devotion to the most Blessed Virgin is as ancient as Christianity,
and we find traces of it from the very origin of the Church, among
all nations who accepted the Gospel. During the first ages, it was
concealed in the obscurity of the catacombs, or veiled itself under
symbolical forms to escape the profanation of infidels; but when the
era of peace succeeded that of bloody persecutions, it reappeared
openly and in all the brilliancy of its ravishing beauty. It developed
a wonderful growth, especially in the fifth century, after the Council
of Ephesus had proclaimed the divine maternity of Mary, thereby
sanctioning the exceptional homages rendered her above all the saints.

The image of the Virgin Mother, circulated throughout Christendom,
becomes the ornament of churches, the protection of the fireside, and
an object of devotion to the faithful. It is at this epoch, especially,
we see everywhere gradually disappearing the last vestiges of paganism.
The Immaculate Virgin, the Mother of tenderness, the Queen of Angels,
the Patroness of regenerated humanity, supplants those vain idols,
which for ages had fostered superstition, with its train of vices and

Every Catholic admits that the Church's veneration of Mary rests upon
an inviolable foundation--both faith and reason unite in justifying it.
Events have proved that God Himself has authorized it, for it has often
pleased Him to recompense the confidence and fidelity of her servants,
by sensible marks of His power, by extraordinary graces--in a word,
by true miracles. By a disposition of His Providence, He has decreed
Mary's intervention in the economy of the Church and the sanctification
of souls, as He did in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.
Her character of Mediatrix between Heaven and earth obliges her to make
this agency felt, to display the power she has received in favor of
man. These manifestations of the Blessed Virgin in the Church, these
marvelous proofs of her solicitude for us, form an interesting portion
of the history of Catholicity. The liturgy is full of such souvenirs,
and several feasts have been instituted to commemorate them. Christian
countries abound in traditions of this nature; they are one of the
sources whence piety derives its nourishment.

The majority of pilgrim shrines owe their origin to some supernatural
intervention of the Blessed Virgin. Sometimes she has manifested
herself under a visible form, most frequently to a poor shepherd
or peasant; again, she has wrought a miracle, as the recovery of
a sick person, the conversion of a hardened sinner, or some other
prodigy betokening the power of a supernatural agency. Sometimes, a
statue, a picture, apparently not fashioned by the hand of man, is
accidentally discovered; the neighboring population are touched, their
faith is reanimated, and soon a shrine, a chapel, or even a splendid
basilica, is erected to protect this gift of Heaven, this pledge of
Mary's affection. Innumerable generations repair to the spot, and new
favors, new miracles, ineffable consolations, ever attest the tutelary
guardianship of her, whom humble, confiding hearts have never invoked
in vain. We might cite hundreds of names in support of these assertions.

The history of devotion to Mary in Catholic countries gives rise to
an observation worthy of remark, that the faith of a country is in
proportion to its devotion to the Blessed Virgin. We can also add that,
when God wishes to revive the Faith among any people, He commissions
Mary to manifest there her goodness and power.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every age has furnished the Church with constantly increasing proofs of
Mary's mediation; there are epochs in which she seems to be so lavish
of her presence, that we might say she lives familiarly among mankind,
and that her delights are to converse with them.

Again, on the contrary, she appears to retire, to hold herself aloof
from the world, to give no more signs of her intervention. We have a
striking example of this in a somewhat recent age. More than a century
do we find deprived of Mary's sensible mediation; history records in
all that period not one of these apparitions, not a new pilgrim shrine
founded, not a signal grace obtained through the intercession of the
Mother of Mercy. If a few events of this kind took place, they were at
least very rare, and have remained in obscurity. This age, forsaken by
the Blessed Virgin, was the eighteenth century, to which we must add
the first thirty years of the nineteenth.

At this epoch, when impious rationalism endeavored to efface all idea
of the supernatural, when the most firmly established truths were
attacked, when among Christians the standard of virtue was lowered and
character was of slight esteem in any class or station of society, we
might believe that Mary, fatigued with men's ingratitude, had resolved
to leave them to their own devices, and let them govern the world
according to their ideas of assumed wisdom. She did, in reality, not
renounce her mission of Mediatrix in favor of the Church, she still
watched over her great adopted family, she listened to the prayers
of her faithful servants, but she remained invisible, she no longer
displayed any of those marks of tenderness her maternal heart had
lavished upon them in the ages of faith.

We know the consequences of Mary's abandoning the earth, and how these
sages who wished to dispense with God governed society. The history of
their reign is written in letters of fire, of blood and of filth.

This revolutionary and impious naturalism was prolonged into the
nineteenth century; it still exerts a deplorable influence at the
present day, but it encounters opposition; the supernatural order is
firmly asserted, the truths of Faith are warmly defended, the holy
Church is respected and obeyed, its august Head is held in veneration
to the very extremities of the earth, God's kingdom is still opposed,
but it numbers devoted subjects, who, if needful, would shed their
blood in its defence. Indifference, human respect, jeering scepticism,
are gradually disappearing, leaving the Church with only sincere
friends or declared enemies. It is a progress no one can ignore.

Whence comes this change? and what the date of so consoling a
resurrection? Beyond a doubt, it owes its origin to God's infinite
bounty--but the instrument, can it be ignored or contemned? Is it not
the Blessed Virgin Mary? Has not her mediation been visible for forty
years? Yes; it is Mary who has wrought this astonishing transformation,
and through the medal styled miraculous has this series of wonders been

In 1830, does Mary for the first time, after an interval of a century
and a half, manifest her desire of a reconciliation with earth.

It is the first sign of pardon she accords man, after her long silence.

It is the announcement of a new era which is about to commence.

       *       *       *       *       *

The apparition of November 27th, in the chapel of the Mother House of
the Daughters of Charity, Paris, appears, at first, to be of little
importance, yet it was destined to have an immense bearing upon the
future and its consequences were to be incalculable. Like a stream
whose source is concealed at the foot of a mountain, but which receives
as it advances numberless tributaries, and finally becomes a majestic
river, fertilizing the provinces and kingdoms through which it flows;
so the vision of the medal has been the initiatory step in a religious
movement, which, to-day, extends throughout the world, sitting in
justice upon old errors, superannuated prejudices; systems inimical to
truth, and fully revealing the true Church and true sanctity, rendering
to Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and Mother of men, such tributes of
veneration, love and devotion, as she has never received since the
preaching of the Gospel.

The reader is already acquainted with Sister Catherine, the humble
daughter whom Mary deigned to select for her confidante. The following
chapter gives a detailed account of the apparitions.

We have said that this event was the dawn of a new era, the signal
of renewed devotion to Mary throughout the world. It seemed as if
this tender Mother wished, by lavishing extraordinary graces upon her
children, to make them forget the severity with which she had punished
their offences.

A rapid glance at the development of devotion to Mary, during half a
century, will suffice to show the truth of this affirmation.

The medal, scarcely struck, is circulated by millions; it immediately
becomes the instrument of so many cures and conversions, that it is
universally styled the Miraculous Medal, a name which clung to it,
and which is justified by the constant working of new miracles, as
the second part of this book will show. But this medal was destined
not only to work miracles, it had an object still higher, it had a
dogmatical signification, it was to popularize the belief in the
Immaculate Conception of Mary.

As far as is possible for us to penetrate the adorable designs of
Providence, everything inclines us to believe that the Immaculate
Conception is one of those truths whose proclamation is interwoven
with the welfare of modern society, and whose influence upon
Catholicity is incalculable. It is the complement of the Blessed
Virgin's glory; even with the incomparable prerogative of her divine
maternity, her grandeur would still lack something, were she not
proclaimed free from original sin. The germ contained in the Holy
Scriptures, preserved by tradition, taught by the Fathers and holy
Doctors, supported by the Roman pontiffs, solemnized from the earliest
ages in many churches, adopted instinctively by the piety of the
faithful, and depicted under most graceful forms by brush and chisel of
Christian artist, this belief received, through the medal, the seal of
a popular devotion. The prayer revealed by the Blessed Virgin herself:
"O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"
this prayer, repeated incessantly by numberless mouths from infancy to
old age, by poor and rich, and in every quarter of the globe, entered
as a formula into the practices of a Christian life, and hastened, we
might safely say, the day when Pius IX was to declare the Immaculate
Conception an article of faith.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wonderful circulation of the medal, and the miracles wrought by
means of it, would soon have made the chapel of the rue du Bac a much
frequented pilgrim shrine, as many who were indebted to Mary for
their cure or conversion wished to testify their gratitude by leaving
there ex-voto offerings. But the Superiors of the Community deemed
it inadvisable to allow this. However, Divine Providence, wishing to
maintain this pious impulse, opened in the very centre of Paris a
sanctuary, to receive what the chapel of the Daughters of Charity had

The pastor of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, M. Desgenettes, who had
taken a lively interest in the apparition of 1830, was inspired to
consecrate his parish to the holy and immaculate Heart of Mary. An
Arch confraternity was established for the conversion of sinners; the
success was as rapid as it was wonderful, and soon the whole world
resounded with accounts of the miracles accorded the associates'
prayers. To remind them that Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is allied with
the vision of the Sister of St. Vincent de Paul, an article of their
rule enjoins them to wear, with respect and devotion, the indulgenced
medal of the Immaculate Conception, known as the Miraculous Medal, and
they are advised to recite occasionally the prayer engraven upon that
medal: "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to

Some years later, in 1846, the Blessed Virgin manifests herself upon
the mountain at La Salette to two little shepherd children, charging
them to warn mankind of the necessity of doing penance in order to
avert the impending evils.

At Lourdes, in 1858, Mary appears to a poor and ignorant young girl;
she tells her name, calling herself by that which is most dear to
her: "I am the Immaculate Conception," and she promises abundant
benedictions to all who come to pray in that favored place.

In 1871, she appears in the village of Pontmain to some children;
she comes to revive their drooping courage and restore hope to their
fainting hearts.

It would take too long to enumerate these manifestations of Mary
in various parts of Christendom--those images which seem animated;
those mysterious voices which warn, which encourage the world; those
supernatural revelations to privileged souls--all, we might say,
favors of a tender Mother, who pardons her guilty children, and who
wishes by multiplied tokens of her love to make them oblivious of her
past severity.

To so many marks of the Immaculate Mary's tenderness, the Catholic
world has responded by an admirable outburst of filial piety; each
year sees hundreds of thousands of pilgrims seeking her privileged
sanctuaries; her Feasts are celebrated with admirable splendor;
devotion to her is clothed in every form capable of expressing
admiration, gratitude and tenderness. Who could enumerate the churches
and monuments everywhere erected in her honor, the associations
established under her invocation, the books composed in her praises?

But the homage which eclipses all others, is the definition of the
dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. This definition, ardently
desired by the devout faithful, enthusiastically welcomed by the whole
world, was the grand thought of Pius IX after his elevation to the
chair of St. Peter, and it will be recorded in history as the crowning
event of his Pontificate, already illustrious for so many other causes.

Mary, by this, has received from her children all the glory it was
in their power to procure her; her prerogatives appear in all their
lustre; she is acknowledged as sovereign mistress of Heaven and earth;
she occupies in the economy of religion the true place Divine wisdom
has assigned her. Let us hope she will soon display to the world the
effects of her powerful protection, that she will crush the infernal
serpent's head, that she will calm the storms hell has unchained--in
fine, that she will assure the triumph of the Church and the reign of
Jesus Christ in justice and truth.





When Sister Catherine was favored with these apparitions of the Blessed
Virgin she related by word of mouth to her Director, what she had seen
and heard, and he, though apparently attaching little importance to her
communications, carefully took note of them. The Sister never thought
of writing them, she judged herself incapable of doing so, and,
moreover, in her opinion, it would have been contrary to humility.

In 1856, when events had confirmed the truth of her predictions, M.
Aladel told her to commit to writing all she could recollect of the
supernatural visitations of 1830. She obeyed, despite her repugnance,
and sketched an account of her vision of St. Vincent's heart, which we
have already read, and that of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin.

In obedience, she again wrote in 1876, an account of these same

Finally, another copy, not dated, was found among her papers after

These three narrations accord perfectly in the main, yet differ
sufficiently in detail to prove that one was not copied from the other.

To these manuscripts, in which no change has been made, except a
correction of faults in style and orthography, are we indebted for the
following account of the apparitions.

It is to be regretted that M. Aladel's notes should have been almost
entirely destroyed; no doubt they contained very interesting details,
but what portion of them remains, is of little importance.

Before quoting Sister Catherine's own narration, we must remark, that
the first vision, having little reference to anything but the Sister
herself and St. Vincent's two Communities, M. Aladel did not deem it
advisable to have published; also, that although the account of the
vision of the medal in the first editions of the notice, seems to
differ notably from that related by the Sister, we will see later how
these discrepancies can be explained, and that in the main the two
versions are identical.


_To Sister Catherine Labouré, Daughter of Charity. After a picture
painted from instructions given by Sister Catherine. (See the
explanation at the list of engravings._)]

Sister Catherine, already favored with celestial visions, ardently
desired, with all the simplicity of her nature, to see the Blessed
Virgin. To obtain this grace, she invoked her good Angel, St. Vincent,
and the Blessed Virgin herself.

On the 18th of July, 1830, eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul,
the Directress of the Seminary gave an instruction on devotion to
the Saints and the Blessed Virgin; this but inflamed our Sister's
pious desire. Fully imbued with the thought, she retired for the
night, recommending herself to her blessed Father, St. Vincent, and
confidently believing that her prayers would be answered.

About half-past eleven o'clock, she hears her name, "Sister Labouré,"
distinctly called three times; suddenly awaking, she opens her curtain
on the side whence the voice proceeds, and what does she perceive? A
little child of ravishing beauty, four or five years of age, dressed
in white and enveloped in the radiant light beaming from his fair hair
and noble person. "Come," said he, in a melodious voice, "come to the
chapel, the Blessed Virgin awaits you." But, thought Sister Catherine
(she slept in a large dormitory), the others will hear me, I shall be
discovered. "Have no fears," said the child, answering her thought, "it
is half-past eleven, everybody is asleep, I will accompany you."

At these words, no longer able to resist the invitation of her amiable
guide, Sister Catherine dresses hastily and follows the child, who
walks always at her left, illuming the places through which he passes;
and everywhere along their path, to the Sister's great astonishment,
does she find the lamps lighted. Her surprise redoubles, on seeing the
door open at the child's touch, and on finding the altar resplendent
with lights, "reminding her," she said, "of the midnight Mass."

The child conducts her into the sanctuary; here she kneels, whilst her
celestial guide remains standing a little behind at her left.

The moments of waiting seem long to Sister Catherine; at last, about
midnight, the child says to her: "Behold the Blessed Virgin, behold
her!" At that instant, she distinctly hears on the right hand side of
the chapel, a slight noise, like the rustling of a silk robe; a most
beautiful lady enters the sanctuary, and takes her seat in the place
ordinarily occupied by the Director of the Community, on the left side
of the sanctuary. The seat, the attitude, the costume (a white robe of
a golden tinge and a blue veil), strongly resemble the representation
of St. Anne in the picture adorning the sanctuary. Yet it is not
the same countenance, and Sister Catherine is struggling interiorly
against doubt. Can this indeed be the Blessed Virgin? she asks herself.
Suddenly, the little child, assuming the voice of a man, speaks aloud,
and in severe words asks her if the Queen of Heaven may not appear to a
poor mortal under whatever form she pleases.

Her doubts all vanish, and following only the impulses of her heart,
the Sister throws herself at the Blessed Virgin's feet, familiarly
placing her hands upon the Blessed Virgin's knees, like a child beside
its mother.

    "At this moment," said she, "I felt the sweetest emotion of
    my life, it would be impossible for me to express it. The
    Blessed Virgin told me how I must act in all my trials; and
    pointing with her left hand to the foot of the altar, she told
    me it was there I must come and lay open my heart, adding
    that it was there I would receive all needful consolation.
    Then she also said to me: 'My child, I am going to charge you
    with a mission; you will suffer many trials on account of
    it, but you will surmount them, knowing that you endure them
    for the glory of the good God. You will be contradicted, but
    you will be sustained by grace, do not fear; with simplicity
    and confidence, tell all that passes within you to him who
    is charged with the care of your soul. You will see certain
    things, you will be inspired in your prayers, give an account
    to him.'

    "I then asked the Blessed Virgin for an explanation of what she
    had already shown me. She answered: 'My child, the times are
    very disastrous, great trials are about to come upon France,
    the throne will be overturned, the entire world will be in
    confusion by reason of miseries of every kind.' (The Blessed
    Virgin looked very sad in saying this.) 'But come to the foot
    of this altar, here graces will be shed upon all--upon all who
    ask for them with confidence and fervor.

    "'At a certain time the danger will be great indeed, it will
    seem as if all were lost, but do not fear, I shall be with you;
    you will acknowledge my visit, the protection of God and that
    of St. Vincent upon the two Communities. Have confidence, do
    not be discouraged, you are in my especial keeping.

    "'There will be victims in other Communities.' (Tears were
    in the Blessed Virgin's eyes as she said this.) 'Among the
    clergy of Paris there will be victims, Mgr. the Archbishop
    will die.' (At these words her tears flowed anew.) 'My child,
    the cross will be despised, it will be trampled under foot,
    our Lord's side will be opened anew, the streets will flow
    with blood, the entire world will be in tribulation.'" (Here
    the Blessed Virgin could no longer speak, grief was depicted
    in her countenance.) At these words Sister Catherine thought,
    when will this take place? And an interior light distinctly
    indicated to her in forty years.

Another version, also written by her own hand, says forty years, then
ten, after which, peace. In connexion with this M. Aladel said to her:

    "Will you and I see the accomplishment of all these things?"
    "If we do not, others will," replied the simple daughter.

The Blessed Virgin also entrusted her with several communications for
her Director concerning the Daughters of Charity, and told her that
he would one day be clothed with the necessary authority for putting
them in execution.[7] After this, she said again: "But great troubles
will come, the danger will be imminent, yet do not fear, St. Vincent
will watch over you, and the protection of God is always here in a
particular manner." (The Blessed Virgin still looked very sad.) "I
will be with you myself, I will always keep my eye upon you, and I
will enrich you with many graces." The Sister adds: "Graces will be
bestowed, particularly upon all who ask for them, but they must pray,
they must pray.----

    [Footnote 7: M. Aladel was made Director of the Community in

    "I could not tell," continues the Sister, "how long I remained
    with the Blessed Virgin; all I can say is that, after talking
    with me a long time, she disappeared like a shadow that

On arising from her knees, Sister Catherine perceived the child just
where she had left him, to throw herself at the Blessed Virgin's feet.
He said: "She has gone," and, all resplendent with light as before, he
stationed himself anew at her left hand, and conducted her back to the
dormitory by the same paths as they had come.

    "I believe," continues the narration, "that this child was my
    Guardian Angel, because I had fervently implored him to procure
    me the favor of seeing the Blessed Virgin.... Returned to my
    bed, I heard the clock strike two, and I went to sleep no more."

       *       *       *       *       *

What has just been recounted was only a part of Sister Catherine's
mission, or rather a preparation for a future mission to be given her
as a pledge of the Immaculate Mary's tenderness for the human race.

In the month of November of this same year, 1830, Sister Catherine
communicates to M. Aladel a new vision; but it is no longer that of
an afflicted Mother weeping over the evils menacing her children, or
the martyrdom of her dearest friends. This vision recalls the rainbow
appearing in a sky still black with storms, or the star shining through
the tempest to inspire the mariner with confidence--it is the Virgin
Queen, bearing the promise of benediction, salvation and peace.

M. Aladel relates this to the Promoter of the diocese, and we find it
inserted in the verbal process of the investigation, dated February 16,
1836, as follows:

    "At half-past five in the evening, whilst the Sisters were in
    the chapel taking their meditation, the Blessed Virgin appeared
    to a young Sister as if in an oval picture; she was standing on
    a globe, only one-half of which was visible; she was clothed
    in a white robe and a mantle of shining blue, having her hands
    covered, as it were, with diamonds, whence emanated luminous
    rays falling upon the earth, but more abundantly upon one
    portion of it.

    "A voice seemed to say: 'These rays are symbolic of the graces
    Mary obtains for men, and the point upon which they fall most
    abundantly is France.' Around the picture, written in golden
    letters, were these words: 'O Mary! conceived without sin,
    pray for us who have recourse to thee!' This prayer, traced in
    a semi-circle, began at the Blessed Virgin's right hand, and,
    passing over her head, terminated at her left hand. The reverse
    of the picture bore the letter M surmounted by a cross, having
    a bar at its base, and beneath the monogram of Mary, were the
    hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first surrounded with a crown of
    thorns, the other transpierced with a sword. Then she seemed
    to hear these words: 'A medal must be struck upon this model;
    those who wear it indulgenced, and repeat this prayer with
    devotion, will be, in an especial manner, under the protection
    of the Mother of God.' At that instant, the vision disappeared."

According to the testimony of Sister Catherine's Director, this
apparition appeared several times in the course of a few months, always
in the chapel of the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity, either
during Mass or some of the religious exercises. M. Aladel adds that he
was not certain as to their number, but he knows they were repeated
thrice, at least, the Sister having mentioned it three different times.

Here is the account written by the Sister's own hand:

    "The 27th of November, 1830, which was a Saturday and eve of
    the first Sunday in Advent, whilst making my meditation in
    profound silence, at half-past five in the evening, I seemed
    to hear on the right hand side of the sanctuary something
    like the rustling of a silk dress, and, glancing in that
    direction, I perceived the Blessed Virgin standing near St.
    Joseph's picture; her height was medium, and her countenance
    so beautiful that it would be impossible for me to describe
    it. She was standing, clothed in a robe the color of auroral
    light, the style that is usually called _à la vierge_--that is,
    high neck and plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white
    veil, which descended on each side to her feet. Her hair was
    smooth on the forehead, and above was a coif ornamented with a
    little lace and fitting close to the head. Her face was only
    partially covered, and her feet rested upon a globe, or rather
    a hemisphere (at least, I saw but half a globe). Her hands were
    raised about as high as her waist, and she held in a graceful
    attitude another globe (a figure of the universe). Her eyes
    were lifted up to Heaven, and her countenance was radiant as
    she offered the globe to Our Lord.


_To Sister Catherine Labouré. First picture._ (_See the explanation at
the list of engravings._)]

    "Suddenly, her fingers were filled with rings[8] and most
    beautiful precious stones; the rays gleaming forth and
    reflected on all sides, enveloped her in such dazzling light
    that I could see neither her feet nor her robe. The stones were
    of different sizes, and the rays emanating from them were more
    or less brilliant in proportion to the size.

    [Footnote 8: The rings were three on each finger; the largest
    next to the hand, then the medium size, then the smallest; and
    each ring was covered with precious stones of proportional
    size; the largest stones emitted the most brilliant rays, the
    smallest the least brilliant.]

    "I could not express what I felt, nor what I learned, in these
    few moments.

    "Whilst occupied contemplating this vision, the Blessed Virgin
    cast her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my
    heart: 'The globe that you see represents the entire world, and
    particularly France, and each person in particular.'

    "I would not know how to express the beauty and brilliancy of
    these rays. And the Blessed Virgin added: 'Behold the symbol
    of the graces I shed upon those who ask me for them,' thus
    making me understand how generous she is to all who implore
    her intercession.... How many favors she grants to those who
    ask. At this moment I was not myself, I was in raptures! There
    now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame slightly oval,
    upon which appeared, in golden letters, these words: 'O Mary!
    conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!'

    "Then I heard a voice which said: 'Have a medal struck upon
    this model, persons who wear it indulgenced, will receive great
    graces, especially if they wear it around the neck; graces will
    be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.'

    "Suddenly," says the Sister, "the picture seemed to turn," and
    she saw the reverse, such as has already been described in the
    previous account of the investigation.

Sister Catherine's notes do not mention the twelve stars surrounding
the monogram of Mary and the two hearts. Yet they are always
represented on the medal. It is morally certain that she communicated
this detail, by word of mouth, at the time she related the apparitions.

Other notes in Sister Catherine's own hand-writing complete the
account. She adds, that some of these precious stones did not emit
rays, and when she expressed her astonishment at this, she was told
that they were a figure of the graces we neglect to ask of Mary. On a
hasty perusal, our Sister's account of the vision appears to differ
from M. Aladel's. We were struck with this, and had to study these
interesting and authentic documents attentively, in order to decide
whether the visions differed essentially or were really the same.


_To Sister Catherine Labouré. Second picture._ (_See the explanation at
the list of engravings._)]

According to M. Aladel's testimony in the investigation, the
apparitions relative to the medal were always similar, and Sister
Catherine, before her death, confirmed this assertion. As we have just
learned from our Sister's own words, the Blessed Virgin always appeared
with the terrestrial globe under her feet, and at the same time in her
virginal hands, pressing it and warming it, as it were, against her
maternal heart, and offering it to her Divine Son in her quality of
Advocate and Mother, with an ineffable expression of supplication and

This is what the Sister saw. Was it all? No, after the first act of
sublime intercession, after this most efficacious prayer of our divine
Mediatrix, her hands are suddenly filled with graces, under the figure
of rings and precious stones, which emit such brilliant rays that
all else is invisible, Mary is enveloped in them, and her hands are
bent beneath the weight of these treasures. Her eyes are cast upon
the humble Sister whose ravished glances can scarcely support this
celestial effulgence. At the same time, an oval frame is formed around
the vision, and a voice directs the Sister to have a medal struck
according to the medal presented. The medal is a faithful reproduction
of this picture, at the moment the symbolical part disappears in the
sheaves of light.

Sister Catherine being asked if she still saw the globe in the
Blessed Virgin's hands, when the luminous sheaves issued from them,
answered no, there remained nothing but the rays of light; and that
when the Blessed Virgin spoke of the globe, she meant that under her
feet, there being no longer any question of the first. Hence, we may
conclude, that Sister Catherine's description of the apparition and
M. Aladel's agree perfectly. The small globe which the Blessed Virgin
holds in her hands, and the large one on which she stands, are both
inundated with the same dazzling rays, or enriched with the same
graces. The august Mary seems to indicate by the small globe merely a
figure of the world, imperfectly represented beneath her feet, thus
reminding us that she is the all merciful Queen of the human race.

There is yet another variation in the description of the two
apparitions. M. Aladel, in conformity with the popular belief, that
white and blue combined constitute the Blessed Virgin's livery,
as emblems of purity, celestial purity, gives the mantle an azure
tint. Sister Catherine expresses the same idea several times in her
notes, saying: "White signifies innocence, and blue is the livery of
Mary." However, the blue mantle is not mentioned in the notice of
the apparition, Sister Catherine speaks only of the robe and veil of
auroral light.

When questioned as to a more definite description of this color, she
replied that it was a deep white, tinted with the mild, beautiful
radiance of dawn,[9] thus wishing, no doubt, to give some idea of the
celestial hue of the robe and veil. It is this hue that tortures the
artist, for he feels his pencil powerless to depict the beauties of
another sphere.

    [Footnote 9: We must remember that Sister Catherine's childhood
    was passed in the country, where she could admire the beauty
    of that luminous tint which precedes the sun, and colors the
    horizon at break of day with its increasing radiance.]

We can understand from the above, how M. Aladel could have mistaken
some details furnished by Sister Catherine, or have confounded the
apparition of the medal with the visions of July 18th and 19th, in
which the Blessed Virgin's apparel was white and blue.

However, the accessories of the mantle and its indescribable hue, in no
wise affect the reality of the apparition.

       *       *       *       *       *

We recollect with what indifference, we might say severity, M. Aladel
received his penitent's communications, bidding her give no heed
to them, but dismiss them from her mind, as altogether unworthy of
attention. But Sister Catherine's obedience, attested by her Director
himself, could not efface the delightful remembrance of what she had
seen and heard; to return to Mary's feet was her greatest happiness;
the thought never left her, nor the firm conviction that she would see
this dear Mother again. And, indeed, in the course of December, she
was favored with another vision, similar to that of November 27th, and
occurring at the same time, during evening meditation. But there was
a striking difference between this and the previous one, the Blessed
Virgin, instead of stopping at St. Joseph's picture, passed on, and
rested above the tabernacle, a little behind it, and precisely in the
place the statue now occupies. The Blessed Virgin appeared to be about
forty years of age, according to the Sister's judgment. The apparition
was, as it were, framed from the hands in the invocation: "O Mary!
conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" traced
in golden letters. The reverse presented the monogram of the Blessed
Virgin, surmounted by a cross, and beneath were the divine hearts of
Jesus and Mary. Sister Labouré was again directed to have a medal
struck upon this model. She terminates her account in these words: "To
tell you what I understood at the moment the Blessed Virgin offered the
globe to Our Lord, would be impossible, or what my feelings were whilst
gazing on her! A voice in the depths of my heart said to me: 'These
rays are symbolic of the graces the Blessed Virgin obtains for those
who ask for them.'"

These few lines, according to her, should be inscribed at the base of
the Blessed Virgin's statue. On this occasion, contrary to her usual
custom, she could not refrain from an exclamation of joy at the thought
of the homages which would be rendered Mary! "Oh! how delightful to
hear it said: 'Mary is Queen of the Universe, and particularly of
France!' The children will proclaim it, 'She is Queen of each soul!'"

When Sister Labouré related the third apparition of the medal, M.
Aladel asked her if she had seen anything written on the reverse. The
Sister answered that she had not. "Ah!" said the Father, "ask the
Blessed Virgin what to put there."

The young Sister obeyed; and after having prayed a long time, one day
during meditation, she seemed to hear a voice saying: "The M and the
two hearts express enough."

None of these narrations mention the serpent, yet it always figures in
representations of the apparition, and certainly in conformity with
Sister Catherine's earliest revelations of the vision. The following
shows why we are so positive of this fact.

Towards the close of her life, after a silence of forty-five years, M.
Aladel being no more, this good daughter was interiorly constrained to
confide to one of her Superiors the communications she had received
from the Blessed Virgin, that they might serve to reanimate devotion
and gratitude to Mary. Having done this, her mind was relieved; she
felt that now she could die in peace.

The Superior, favored with her confidence, wishing to realize one of
her venerable companion's most cherished desires, proposes a statue
of Mary Immaculate, holding the globe. On asking Sister Catherine if
the serpent must be represented under the Blessed Virgin's feet, she
answered: "Yes; there was a serpent of a greenish color, with yellow
spots." She also remarked that the globe in the Virgin's hands was
surmounted by a little cross, that her countenance was neither very
youthful nor very joyous, but indicative of gravity mingled with
sorrow, that the sorrowful expression vanished as her face became
irradiated with love, especially at the moment of her prayer.

Our attempt at representing the vision was successful, although the
tint of the robe and veil, the celestial radiance of the face, the
splendor of the rays, must always remain an impossibility for art;
as the good Sister, whilst declaring her satisfaction, betrayed by
her tone of voice and expression the disappointment she felt at the
impotency of human skill to depict the beauty of the celestial original.

Thirty-five years before, M. Aladel had vainly attempted a
representation of the same apparition, as we learn from a curious
fragment, a small design[10] representing the Immaculate Virgin holding
the globe, etc., as described by Sister Catherine. His note directing
the details is in exact conformity with the Sister's description,
except in one particular, the blue mantle. But little satisfied with
this attempt, which gave but a confused idea of the apparition, and
his own especial impression of it, he relinquished the undertaking, and
held to the known model.

    [Footnote 10: The author of this design is M. Letaille, editor
    of religious imagery.]

We may say, with truth, that nothing can equal the beauty, the grace,
the expression of tenderness depicted in the attitude of this Virgin,
whose graciously downcast glances and hands, filled with blessings,
proclaim her the Mother, inviting her little child to cast itself into
her arms, or earnestly entreating the prodigal son to confide in her
merciful mediation.

This image of the Immaculate Mother, universally admired and honored,
has a mute eloquence which never fails to touch the heart; and, truly,
may it ever be styled the miraculous Virgin. Were we to cite only those
which have come to our knowledge, a volume would be insufficient to
contain an account of all the wonderful conversions, cures, marks of
protection, wrought since the appearance of this vision to the present

The production of new models, representing the Immaculate Virgin in a
different attitude, should never supplant this, which is, as it were,
the type of all others; nor weaken the devotion heretofore accorded it
by popular gratitude.




We have already seen with what mistrust M. Aladel received Sister
Catherine's communications, and how he hesitated to assume the mission
proposed to him. At last, after grave reflection, after consultations
with enlightened persons, and upon the formal authorization of Mgr.
de Quélen, Archbishop of Paris, he decided to have the medal of the
Immaculate Conception struck. This was in 1832.

When about to depict the details as related by the Sister, many
difficulties presented themselves. In what attitude should the Blessed
Virgin be represented, for in the apparition she had several? Should
a globe be in her hands? Again, at one instant she was enveloped in
waves of light, but this could not be gracefully reproduced in an
engraving. After mature consideration, it was decided to adopt the
already existing model of the Immaculate Virgin, which represents her
with hands extended; to this were added the luminous rays escaping from
the rings on her fingers, the terrestrial globe on which she stands,
and the serpent she crushes under her feet. Around the oval were
inscribed these words: "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who
have recourse to thee!" The reverse bears the letter M, surmounted by a
cross, and the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary below the M, the first
surrounded with a crown of thorns, the second pierced by a sword.

    "As soon as the medal was struck," says M. Aladel, "it was
    freely circulated, especially among the Daughters of Charity,
    who, knowing something of its origin, wore it with great
    confidence. Shortly after, they gave it to several sick
    persons, six of whom experienced most beneficial results. Three
    cures and three conversions were wrought, some of them in
    Paris and some in the diocese of Meaux, all of a very sudden
    and unexpected nature. And now there was heard everywhere
    a great demand for the Miraculous Medal, the medal which
    heals--virtuous mothers of families giving it as a New-Year's
    present to their children, who received it so gladly and wore
    it with such respect that no one could doubt how their innocent
    hearts prized it. All the pious hastened to procure it as soon
    as it was known to be within reach; but the event it gives us
    most pleasure to record here, and which edified us most in
    these early days of the propagation of the medal, is that,
    in two cities of the province, nearly all the young people
    united in wearing the medal as the safeguard of their youth.
    Four hundred silver medals were sent for, to be indulged for
    this purpose. Very soon entire parishes in various counties
    solicited their pastors to get them medals, and in Paris an
    officer of high rank bought sixty for brother officers at their

    "Thus, the medals of the Immaculate Conception were circulated
    in a truly wonderful manner, in all the provinces and among
    all classes; from every side we heard most consoling things;
    priests filled with the spirit of God wrote to us that these
    medals reanimated piety in the cities as well as in the
    country; grand vicars, enjoying the high esteem due their piety
    and intellect, prelates, even more distinguished, assured us
    of their entire confidence in the medals, which they regarded
    as means sent by Providence to revive the faith so sensibly
    enfeebled in our age; that in reality they did awaken faith
    daily in many hearts apparently devoid of it, that they
    re-established peace and union in families divided by discord,
    in fine, that not one of all those wearing the medal but had
    experienced most salutary effects.

    "Mgr. de Quélen himself (whose great charity brought him
    in contact with all classes) told me several times, that
    he had given the medal to numbers of sick persons of every
    condition in life, and never had he failed to recognize the
    blessed results. Very soon he publishes these in a circular of
    December 15th, 1836, on the occasion of consecrating the parish
    church of Our Lady of Loretto. It is a fact we are jealous
    of confirming, and the knowledge of which we desire should
    reach even the most remote parts of the Catholic world; in our
    diocese this devotion has become more deeply rooted with time;
    the afflicted still affirm, increase and extend its marvelous
    progress; signal favors, graces of healing, preservation and
    salvation seem to multiply among us, in proportion as we
    implore the tender pity of Mary conceived without sin. 'We
    exhort the faithful,' adds he in the beginning of the same
    circular, 'to wear the medal struck a few years ago in honor
    of the Blessed Virgin,' and to repeat frequently the prayer
    inscribed around the image: 'O Mary! conceived without sin,
    pray for us who have recourse to thee!'

    "Moreover, in every part of France have we witnessed the
    increasing eagerness of the faithful of all ages, sexes
    and conditions, to procure the Miraculous Medal. Careless
    Christians, hardened sinners, Protestants, the impious and even
    Jews, asked for it, received it with pleasure and wore it with
    religious veneration.

    "Not only in France were we forced to admire the propagation
    of the medal; it spread rapidly and extensively throughout
    Switzerland, Piedmont, Italy, Spain, Belgium, England, America,
    in the Levant, and even China. It is also said, that at Naples,
    as soon as they heard of it, the Metropolitan Chapter sent
    for some to one of our establishments in that city, that the
    king had silver medals struck for all the royal family and
    court, and a million of another medal, which were distributed
    during the cholera--that the image is there venerated in nearly
    every house, and the picture in several churches. At Rome, the
    Superior Generals of religious orders took pains to circulate
    it, and the Sovereign Pontiff himself, placed it at the foot of
    his crucifix. We also received a letter informing us that His
    Holiness gave it to several persons as a particular mark of his
    pontifical affection.

    "Moreover, to estimate the propagation of this medal, it
    suffices to consult the registry of M. Vachette, to whom was
    entrusted the striking of it.[11] This examen shows that, from
    June, 1832, to the present time, he has sold: 1st, two millions
    in silver or gold; 2d, eighteen millions of a cheaper metal.
    According to him, eleven other manufacturers in Paris have
    sold the same quantity; at Lyons, four others with whom he
    was acquainted, at least double the number; and in many other
    cities, whether of France or foreign countries, the manufacture
    and sales are incalculable."

    [Footnote 11: _Quai des Orfevres_, number 54. They are of
    different sizes, and the invocation is inscribed in several

Struck with this marvelous propagation, and the universal anxiety
to learn the origin of the medal, Sister Catherine's pious Director
published, in 1834, a short notice containing a brief narration of the
apparition, and of the graces obtained by means of the medal. This
book sold rapidly, and new editions had to be printed; when the eighth
appeared in 1842, the number of copies sold amounted to a hundred and
thirty thousand, and each successive edition was increased by well
authenticated accounts of many new miraculous occurrences.

       *       *       *       *       *

In consequence of all this, the venerable priest found himself engaged
in a vast and active correspondence, which, to the end of his days,
filled his heart with ineffable consolation, at the thought of his
thus assisting in the accomplishment of the Immaculate Mary's promises
throughout the universe.

Among the communications he received in the course of the year 1836,
there was one which appeared to him the confirmation of Sister
Catherine's vision. He published it in the notice of the medal.
It was the vision of a Swiss religious, already favored with many
extraordinary graces. We reproduce it here for the edification of the

    "The 17th of August, 1835, the first day of her retreat, this
    religious, in an ecstasy after Holy Communion, sees Our Lord
    seated upon a throne of glory, and holding a sword in His hand.
    'Where goest thou, and what seekest thou?' He asked. 'O Jesus!'
    she answered, 'I go to Thee, and it is Thyself alone I seek!'
    'Where dost thou seek Me, in what and through whom?' 'Lord,
    in myself I seek Thee, in Thy holy will and through Mary.'
    Here Our Lord disappeared, and the religious, awaking from her
    ecstasy, was reflecting upon His words, when there suddenly
    appeared to her the Blessed Virgin, all lovely and resplendent.
    She held in her hand a medal, on which was engraven her image
    and the inscription: 'O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for
    us who have recourse to thee!' And sheaves of light gleamed
    from her hands. 'These rays,' said Mary to her, 'are symbols
    of the graces I obtain for men.' She then turned the medal,
    and the religious saw on the reverse the letter M surmounted
    by a little cross, beneath which were the Sacred Hearts of
    Jesus and Mary. 'Wear this medal,' said the Queen of Heaven,
    'and thou wilt enjoy my very especial protection; take pains,
    also, that all who are in any pressing necessity wear it, that
    efforts are made to procure it for them.... Be in readiness,
    for I will put it upon thee myself, on the Feast of my beloved
    servant Bernard; to day, I leave it in thy hands.' The Blessed
    Virgin afterwards reproached her for misplacing the medal and
    taking little pains to find it; the religious acknowledged
    indeed, that she had received it in July, and that having lost
    it, she really gave herself no anxiety, considering it merely
    an ordinary medal, knowing neither its origin nor its effects
    till this vision. This is attested by the Superior of the
    Community. The Blessed Virgin kept her promise, and on the 20th
    of the same month, the Feast of St. Bernard, she placed on the
    neck of the religious, the medal she had already put in her
    hands, recommending her to wear it respectfully, to repeat the
    invocation frequently, and to apply herself to the invitation
    of the Immaculate Mary's virtues.

    "During her retreat in August, 1836, she sees the medal every
    day, suspended, as it were, in the air. At first, it appeared
    very high, shining a few moments like the sun, then like gold;
    again, it seemed not so high and was apparently of silver;
    finally, very near the earth, and of a baser metal. The
    religious gazed in admiration, though without comprehending the
    meaning of this vision, until Vespers, when it was explained
    to her. A sweet but unfamiliar voice asked her which of these
    medals she preferred. She answered, the most brilliant, and the
    same voice congratulating her on the choice she had made, told
    her, that the brilliant medal shining like the sun, was that of
    faithful Christians, who, in wearing it, honor Mary perfectly,
    and contribute to her glory; the gold medal, that of pious
    persons who have a tender and filial devotion to Mary, but
    who keeping it within their hearts, advance but slightly this
    divine Mother's cause; the silver medal, that of all who wear
    it with respect and devotion, but who sometimes lack constancy
    and generosity in imitating Mary's virtues--finally, that the
    brass medal, represented that of all, who contenting themselves
    with invoking Mary, take no pains to walk in her footsteps, and
    thus remain sadly attached to earth. The same voice added, that
    there is, however, a very especial and peculiar union among
    these various persons, marked, we might say, with the precious
    seal of Mary Immaculate; they all necessarily aid one another
    in a very particular manner by prayer, so that with this
    powerful assistance, the third can elevate the last, the second
    sustain the third, and the first, thus happily attract all the

    "These details have been communicated to us, from the abbey of
    Our Lady of Hermits at Einsiedlen, so renowned for the great
    virtues of its fervent religious, and the immense concourse of
    pilgrims, who repair hither from all parts of the world."

       *       *       *       *       *

Up to this time, the medal had received only the verbal approbation of
the Archbishop of Paris; a formal authorization was necessary to assure
the faithful of its authenticity, and to conform moreover to the laws
of the Church, which exact a canonical judgment, before permitting
the introduction of new images in the liturgical worship. A juridical
examination was consequently requested, in order to confirm the origin
of the medal.

Mgr. de Quélen willingly complied, and by his order an investigation
was begun February 16th, 1836, under the direction of M. Quentin, Vicar
General, Promoter of the diocese; it was prolonged into the month of
July, and had not less than nineteen sittings.

We still possess the verbal process of this inquiry. Various witnesses
appeared, the principal of whom was Sister Catherine's Director, M.

In the course of the process, the Promoter asked, why God had chosen
the Daughters of Charity for so rare a favor, and not one of those
convents noted for the observance of an austere rule, such as rigorous
fasts, mortifications, etc. For it was not in a contemplative order,
but in the Mother House of this modest institution so useful to
humanity, in the chapel which for a long time contained the mortal
remains of St. Vincent, the father of the poor, that the apparition,
which was the model of the medal, took place.

We believe the reason of this preference is to be found in the two
usages observed among the Daughters of Charity, from the beginning of
their Society; the first, an act of consecration to the Blessed Virgin
on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; the second, the ending each
decade of the chaplet by the following profession of faith: "O Most
Holy Virgin! I believe and confess thy Holy and Immaculate Conception,
pure and without spot! O Most Pure Virgin! by thy virginal purity, by
thy Immaculate Conception and thy glorious quality of Mother of God,
obtain for me of thy dear Son, humility, charity, great purity of
heart, body and soul, holy perseverance in my dear vocation, the gift
of prayer, a good life and a happy death."

The proofs admitted in the inquiry to establish the authenticity of the
vision of the medal, are:

    1st. The Sister's character--she is a poor young country girl,
    uneducated and without talent--of solid but simple piety,
    good judgment, and calm, sedate mind; we perceive at once
    that everything about her excludes all suspicion of deceit or
    illusion. The better to preserve her incognito, she will not
    allow her name to be mentioned, and she even refused to appear
    before the Promoter of the investigation.

    2d. The wisdom of the Sister's Director, who took all possible
    precautions to guard against deception, and who yielded to his
    penitent's reiterated entreaties, only from fear of displeasing
    the Blessed Virgin, and by the advice of his Superiors.

    3d. The apparition in itself, contains nothing, either in its
    character or object, opposed to the teachings of the Church,
    but is, on the contrary, conducive to edification. Being
    several times renewed and always in the same manner, we may
    conclude, that the Sister's imagination had nothing whatever to
    do with it.

    4th. The wonderful circulation of the medal, confirmed by the
    testimony of the first engraver, M. Vachette, and the extensive
    sales of copies of the notice, reaching 109,000 in sixteen
    months, as attested by the publisher, M. Bailly, must be
    regarded as a confirmation of its supernatural origin.

    5th. The extraordinary graces obtained through the
    instrumentality of the medal, cures and conversions, several
    of which are legally attested by the deposition of reliable
    witnesses, who appeared before the Promoter and signed the
    verbal process, give a last proof to the fact it was sought to
    establish, namely, that the Miraculous Medal must be of divine
    origin. Such is the formal conclusion, in the report addressed
    to the Archbishop by the Promoter, at the end of the inquiry.

Unfortunately, the ecclesiastical authority did not pronounce judgment;
we know not why the inquiry did not receive the sanction to which it
apparently led. The death of Mgr. de Quélen, at the end of the year
1839, caused all proceedings to be abandoned. Everything remains still
in the domain of private devotions, and the model of the Immaculate
Virgin, with its symbolical attributes, is not yet authorized as an
object of public veneration in the churches.

This deplorable omission is so much the more difficult to understand,
as, personally, Mgr. de Quélen took a serious interest in the
apparition of 1830, the compass of which he comprehended. It was he who
urged M. Aladel to have the medal struck; he expressed a wish to have
some of the first; he received them, and experienced their efficacy.
Before ordering the investigation, he had summoned to him the Mother
General of the Daughters of Charity, together with the officers forming
her council, and other Sisters well versed in Community affairs, to
learn from them what usages of the Community could have drawn down upon
it such a favor as the Blessed Virgin had just bestowed. Not content
with possessing the Miraculous Medal, the pious prelate had in his own
chamber a statue of the Immaculate Conception after the Sister's model.
It was cast in bronze, under his own eyes, as he wished to assist at
the operation. When, in 1839, the solemn octave of the Immaculate
Conception was celebrated in the diocese of Paris, for the first time,
this statue, on a throne surrounded with flowers, was exposed to the
veneration of the faithful. The 1st of January of this same year, he
consecrated his diocese to Mary Immaculate.

In commemoration of this, he had a picture painted, which represents
him standing at the foot of Mary's statue, his eyes fixed upon her
with love and confidence. The statue rests upon a globe which bears
these words: "_Virgo fidelis_." And the invocation, "_Regina, sine labe
concepta, ora pro nobis_," is inscribed upon the picture.

On the Feast of the Assumption, he presented this picture to his
chapter, that it might, he said, be a monument of his devotion and
that of the chapter of Paris to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother
of God.[12]

    [Footnote 12: "Life of Mgr. de Quélen," by the Baron Henrion.]

A medal, bearing date of January 1, 1839, reproduces this picture upon
one of its faces. On the other is a vessel, tempest-tossed, and a star
guiding it to the haven of peace. These words of St. Bernard, "_Respice
stellam, voca Mariam_,"[13] explain the allegory. The following lines
complete the explanation:

"_Vana, Hyacinthe, furit; Stella maris auspice, vincis._"[14]

    [Footnote 13: Look at the star, invoke Mary.]

    [Footnote 14: In vain, Hyacinthe (de Quélen) is the tempest
    unchained; under the auspices of the Star of the Sea, thou wilt
    triumph over its fury.]





The principal end of the Blessed Virgin's apparition to Sister
Catherine was to develop among the faithful, devotion to the Immaculate
Conception; and the medal was the instrument used to accomplish this.
Its influence was so prompt and perceptible that, in the year 1836, the
Promoter charged with directing the canonical inquiry attributed to
it, in a great measure, the wonderful development of devotion to the
Virgin Immaculate. This pious impulse, once firmly rooted, continued to
increase throughout the world; but, according to the ordinary ways of
Providence, whilst the effects struck the eyes of all, the cause was
forgotten, it was forgotten especially that God had chosen a modest
Daughter of Charity to revive in the Church devotion to the Blessed
Virgin. The medal was known everywhere, it was worn by everyone, it
accomplished numberless prodigies, but whence did it come? This no
one thought of asking. It is miraculous; that epithet includes its
name, its origin, its value, and the humble Daughter who received it
from Mary, to bestow upon mankind, silently admires these astonishing
results, and says, like her blessed Father: "I am nothing in all this
but a vile instrument, I cannot attribute to myself any of the glory
without committing an act of injustice."

The august Virgin had said that the graces obtained for mankind through
her intercession would be particularly abundant in France. Events
have proved the reality of the promise. It is in France, especially,
that the medal has been propagated, miracles multiplied, and devotion
to the Immaculate Conception most rapidly developed; it may be said,
with truth, that that country has, indeed, merited the title of Mary's
kingdom. As, among all the French dioceses, Paris was the one favored
with these apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, so was Paris the one
to inaugurate the religious movement. Faithful echo of the Church's
ancient traditions concerning the Immaculate Conception, a prelate,
whose piety equaled his nobility of character, and whose virtue
received a new lustre from the fire of persecution, Mgr. de Quélen
distinguished himself among all the bishops by his zeal in honoring the
privilege so dear to Mary. A witness of the influence exerted by the
medal upon the sensibly increasing devotion of the faithful to Mary
conceived without sin, and struck with the already abundant fruits of
this devotion in the conversion of sinners, the pious Archbishop was
filled with joy. Incited by a just hope of seeing the gifts of Heaven
still more abundantly multiplied, if devotion to Mary were produced
under new forms, he addressed a petition to the Sovereign Pontiff with
the view of obtaining from His Holiness: 1st. To celebrate solemnly, on
the second Sunday of Advent, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, that
the devotion might be maintained and strengthened among the faithful;
2d. To add to the preface, _Et te in Immaculata Conceptione_; 3d. A
plenary indulgence, in perpetuity, for this same day.

Our Holy Father, Pope Gregory XVI, approved the Archbishop's petition,
and granted it by a rescript of December 7, 1838. The privileges he had
just obtained, in honor of Mary, conceived without sin, this venerable
prelate joyfully published the first of the following January in a
solemn circular, which clearly depicts his eminent piety. We here
reproduce it for our readers' edification:

    "_Circular of the Archbishop of Paris on the subject of the Feast
    of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of

    "HYACINTHE LOUIS DE QUÉLEN, by the divine mercy and grace
    of the Holy Apostolic See, Archbishop of Paris, etc.

    "To the clergy and faithful of our diocese, health and benediction
    in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    "We do not wish, dearly beloved brethren, to await the end of the
    year which begins to-day, and which we dare regard as one fruitful
    in all manner of spiritual blessings, ere announcing to you the new
    favor we have just received from the Holy Apostolic See, so much
    have we loved to persuade ourselves that the joy of your hearts
    will equal our own, so confident are we that this favor is for us,
    the presage of multiplied graces, and that it becomes henceforth
    for our diocese an abundant source of sanctification and salvation.

    "Let us hasten to proclaim this favor: it treats of devotion to our
    august Queen, Mother and Mistress, the Most Holy and Immaculate
    Virgin Mary, honored especially in the mystery of her most pure

    "Mary was conceived without sin: Behold what the Catholic Church,
    what the infallible Church, what the true and only Church of Jesus
    Christ authorizes us to teach, without, however, declaring it an
    article of Faith,[15] what she prevents us denying publicly, what
    she instils into all the faithful, when in her general council,
    she declares, she proclaims, that in the decree treating of
    original sin, her intention is not to include therein the Blessed
    and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God.[16] Behold! what the
    Sovereign Pontiffs permit us to say, that always, and with a
    view of nourishing the piety of Mary's servants, who invoke her
    by recalling the first of her privileges, that which approaches
    nearest the sanctity of God, always do they deign to second
    these prayers, and zealously open the treasure of indulgences of
    which they are the supreme dispensers, in favor of a devotion so

    [Footnote 15: The Immaculate Conception had not then been defined.
    (Note by translator.)]

    [Footnote 16: Conc. Trid. sess. V. _Decret. de peccato originali_.]

    "Mary was conceived without sin. Behold! what the Church of Paris
    glories in professing and maintaining; what her Doctors hold it
    an honor to teach and defend; what her children are jealous of
    preserving as one of their dearest possessions after the sacred
    dogmas of faith; what they do not hesitate to regard as an
    immediate consequence of their faith, not believing it possible
    to separate in Mary, the title of Immaculate Virgin from that of
    Virgin Mother of God, and not considering it possible to refuse the
    privilege of a Conception without spot, to her who was to receive
    and who indeed did receive, that of the divine Maternity. Behold!
    what respect and love for the Word made Flesh, inspire for the
    chaste bosom the Most High sanctified, because He was to descend
    there, and there clothe Himself with our nature, there become man
    by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

    "Mary was conceived without sin. Behold! what for years, has been
    repeated thousands and thousands of times, not in this great city
    or diocese only, but in every part of France, among strangers
    and in the most distant countries. Behold! the cry of hope which
    suffering danger, public or private necessities, have wrung from
    mouths accustomed to bless God, and celebrate the praises of His
    Holy Mother. Behold! what has been written, engraved, religiously
    deposed, wherever there were spiritual or temporal favors to be
    asked, graces of protection, of healing or conversion; at the
    entrance of cities, at the doors of dwellings, on the breast of the
    sick, on the couch of the dying. Behold! what in these later times
    especially, has taken such deep root in all Christian hearts, what
    has received an extraordinary impulse, what has been propagated in
    so remarkable a manner, what seems to justify moreover, (the fact
    can no longer be disguised) the numberless graces obtained through
    the invocation of Mary conceived without sin.

    "Mary was conceived without sin. Behold! what the chaste generation
    has taken the pious custom of placing on its heart with the sign
    of the cross as an impenetrable buckler against the inflamed darts
    of Satan, and under which its innocence and virtue are shielded.
    Behold! what inspires it, fortifies it, renders it invincible in
    combats with the demon of darkness; what makes it victorious over
    all the seductions of the world and the attacks of hell; what
    attracts, what leads it to follow Mary in the path of angelic
    perfection, and makes it taste that celestial word which is not
    given to all to understand; finally, behold! what everywhere and in
    all conditions, fills with holy emulation, souls truly pious; what
    encourages them to walk with constancy in the ways of justice; what
    communicates to them a just horror of sin and the highest esteem
    for sanctifying grace, of which the Immaculate Virgin is for them
    the faithful mirror and venerable sanctuary.

    "And behold, also, our very dear brethren, what has urged, and
    determined us to regard as a consolation, a duty of our episcopate
    to second your piety in this regard, at the same time, that we
    satisfy our devotion to this Immaculate Virgin, to whom we are
    indebted for many signal benefits. We thought it not a rash zeal,
    to supplicate our Holy Father, the Pope, to deign confide to us the
    means of increasing devotion to Mary Immaculate in her Conception,
    to render it easier and thus more popular. The Feast of the Blessed
    Virgin's Conception, being now in France only one of devotion,
    we have feared that even if the memory of it were not gradually
    effaced, it might become insensibly neglected, and the fruits of
    sanctification and salvation diminished.

    "The Sovereign Pontiff has deigned to accord our humble request.
    The rescript we have received, our very dear brethren, sufficiently
    testifies how our petitions have been welcomed, our prayers
    answered, upon what foundation the regulations we are going to
    prescribe rest, and the advantages we have had reason to expect
    from them. We long, yes, we long, from lively gratitude, from
    tender love to Mary, to give vent to our transports and salute her
    solemnly by the title of Immaculate in her Conception that day, for
    distant day it seems to our hearts, when we will be permitted to
    proclaim it joyfully before the assembled faithful, and during the
    celebration of the holy mysteries.

    "O Mary! thou whom wisdom hast possessed in the beginning of thy
    ways, cloud divinely fruitful, always in light and never in shade,
    new Eve, who didst crush the infernal serpent's head; courageous
    Judith, glory of Jerusalem, joy of Israel, honor of thy people,
    amiable Esther, exempt from the common law which presses as a
    yoke of anathema upon all the children of Adam, full of grace,
    blessed among all women. O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for
    us who have recourse to thee! By thy most Holy Virginity and thy
    Immaculate Conception, O most Holy Virgin! obtain for us purity of
    heart and body, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
    the Holy Ghost. Amen!"

But this does not satisfy the prelate's piety; he also entreats the
Sovereign Pontiff that the belief in the Immaculate Conception be
expressed in the litanies of the Blessed Virgin. The Holy Father
grants this petition, and permits the addition to the litany of
the invocation: "_Regina sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis_." Then
Monseigneur, in a new circular of June 24th, orders that the Sunday
following its reception, this invocation should be chanted three
times at Benediction, and in future chanted or recited every time the
litany was chanted or recited, adding that no prayer-book without this
invocation inserted in the litany would have his approbation. The
prelate also exhorted all the clergy, pastors and others, to instill
into the faithful, devotion to the Immaculate Conception, recommending
the use of the formula, "_Regina sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis_."

At last, seeing the near approach of that epoch so dear and solemn, he
could not refrain, in spite of his extreme weakness and the violent
sufferings of a mortal malady, from giving vent to his feelings in
a third circular, which displays at the same time his zeal for the
Immaculate Virgin's honor and his indefatigable solicitude for the
welfare of his flock.

The feast and octave of the Immaculate Conception, announced and
prepared with so much zeal by the pious Bishop, were celebrated with
extraordinary solemnity in all the churches throughout the diocese
of Paris, and especially at Notre Dame. It was one of the last
consolations this great prelate enjoyed upon earth. He died the 31st
of December, crowning a life rich in virtues and sacrifices, by an act
of filial homage to Mary Immaculate, and a final testimony of tender
solicitude for the flock he was about to leave. He loved this flock
during life, and before dying, he confides it to the inexhaustible
charity of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of Jesus, he conceals it
under the mantle of her purity, that he may feel assured of the victory
over the enemies of its happiness. He had consecrated his person, his
diocese and all France to this Virgin, conceived without sin. Was it
not to her maternal protection the venerable prelate owed that generous
submission, that admirable tranquility, that tender love and sweet
serenity of the just, when he was hovering on the brink of eternity? He
had placed all his confidence in thee, O Mary! at that last moment, he
invoked thee as the Star of the Sea that was to guide him to Heaven,
and it was under thy auspices his beautiful soul winged its flight to
the bosom of its God.

           *       *       *       *       *

In emulation of the example of the illustrious Archbishop of the
capital, the other Archbishops and Bishops of France petition the
Holy See for the same privileges, publishing them in their respective
dioceses by solemn circulars, and proclaiming them a new source
of benediction for the people. Thus, in the same year, 1839, the
Archbishops of Toulouse and Bourges, the Bishops of Montauban, Pamiers,
Carcassonne, Fréjus, Châlons, Saint-Flour and Limoges; in 1840, the
Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen, the Archbishop of Lyons and Besançon,
the Bishops of Bayeux, Évreux, Séez, Coutance, Saint-Dié, La Rochelle,
Tulle, Ajaccio, Nantes and Amiens; in 1841, the Archbishop of Bordeaux,
the Bishops of Versailles, of Nîmes and Luçon, Mende and Périgueux. We
are fully persuaded, and even assured, of the fact that a great number
of the dioceses in France requested and obtained the same privileges;
but we cite only those of which we ourselves have kept note.

    "What should be our transports of joy, confidence, admiration and
    gratitude, at this universal tribute of honor and homage to the
    Virgin conceived without spot! All earth unites with Heaven in
    a concert of praise and thanksgiving, proclaiming that Mary has
    been conceived without sin; all hearts vie with one another in
    celebrating the signal favors, the miraculous cures and conversions
    God has deigned to accord those who invoke the Blessed Virgin
    under the title of Immaculate in her Conception." (Circular of the
    Archbishop of Bourges.)

    "This new lustre bestowed upon the devotion to Mary conceived
    without sin, should console religion and raise our hopes.... Oh!
    in this desolated region, how should we rejoice to see appear
    in Heaven, if not an omen of the end of all combats, at least
    the pledge of new triumphs and new conquests!" (Circular of the
    Archbishop of Digne.)

           *       *       *       *       *

    May this beautiful devotion, be powerful in attracting the
    benedictions of Heaven upon earth, ever increase. Let us fervently
    implore the Immaculate Mother of God to enkindle it in all hearts,
    to bless that France whose protectrice she has so often proved
    herself, to preserve and augment therein faith and piety, and to
    make all the children of France but one family, united by the bonds
    of religion and charity. Let us also implore the same grace for all
    countries, all peoples. Let each one of us wear the precious sign
    of her maternal tenderness, this Miraculous Medal, which, recalling
    to our minds the first and most glorious of her privileges, she
    gives us as the pledge of all her favors.

    Oh! if we knew the gift of our Mother! oh! if we understood
    the excess of her bounty! Does she not seem longing to give us
    knowledge, when she displays to us the abundance of her riches and
    the prodigies of her liberality, in those rays of grace she showers
    upon us like a deluge of love and mercy? Does she not likewise
    unveil to us the mystery of her charity, in the image of her heart
    united to that of the divine Jesus?... The same fire consumes them,
    the same zeal devours them, thirst for our salvation. This union
    of love and sacrifice is very clearly represented by the august
    Mary's initial joined to the sacred sign of the cross above the
    two hearts, as an authentic testimony, of the co-operation of the
    Mother of the Saviour in the salvation of the human race.

    Wear then, little children, this cherished medal, this precious
    souvenir of the best of mothers; learn and love to say: "O Mary!
    conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"

    Morning Star, she will delight to guide your first steps and to
    keep you in the paths of innocence. Wear it, Christian youth,
    and amidst the numberless dangers lurking in your paths repeat
    frequently: "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have
    recourse to thee!" Virgin most faithful, she will preserve you
    from all peril. Wear it, fathers and mothers; say often: "O Mary!
    conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"
    And the Mother of Jesus will shed upon you and your families the
    most abundant benedictions. Wear it, ye old and infirm; say also:
    "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse
    to thee!" Help of Christians, she will aid you in sanctifying
    your sufferings and the closing years of life. Wear it, souls
    consecrated to God, and never cease repeating: "O Mary! conceived
    without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" Queen of
    Virgins, she will implant in the garden of your heart those fruits
    and flowers which constitute the delight of the Spouse, and which
    will form your crown at the nuptials of the Lamb. Amidst the trials
    and tribulations of life, let us invoke Mary, conceived without
    sin, and our tears will be dried, our sufferings assuaged, our
    sorrows sweetened, for she dispenses the dew of all graces. In our
    combats against the demon, the world and the flesh, let us appeal
    to Mary, conceived without sin; Strength of combatants and Crown
    of victors, she will shield us against their most violent assaults
    and assure us of the victory; but oh! when standing on the brink
    of that moment which summons us before the Sovereign Judge, then
    especially must we invoke Mary, conceived without sin, and she
    whom the Church calls Gate of Heaven will herself receive our last
    sigh and introduce our soul into the abode of glory and perfect

    And you also, poor sinners, though covered with the wounds of sin,
    buried in the deepest abysses of passion, the arm of an avenging
    God lifted to descend upon your guilty head, despair seizing your
    soul, raise your eyes to the Star of the Sea; you are not bereft
    of Mary's compassion; take the medal, cry from the depths of your
    hearts, "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have
    recourse to thee!" Unfailing Refuge of sinners, her charitable hand
    will apply to your cruel wounds a healing ointment; she will rescue
    you from the depths whence you have fallen, she will turn aside
    the formidable blows of Divine justice, she will pour over your
    soul the balm of sweet hope, she will guide you anew in the paths
    of righteousness and conduct you even to the haven of a blessed

    Would that all might taste this means of salvation! the dismal
    shades of voluntary death would soon cease to terrify our cities
    and rural districts. Yes, the short prayer, "O Mary! conceived
    without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" made with
    faith, would, even amidst the violent agitation of a homicidal
    thought, banish the tempter; a simple glance at the medal of the
    Immaculate Mary would dissipate despair. "No one commits suicide
    under the eyes of a mother," said very truly, His Eminence, the
    Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen. And the same might be said of many
    other crimes of daily occurrence.

    Oh! you whose souls are cruelly afflicted night and day,
    virtuous wives, who shed burning tears over the irreligion of a
    tenderly-loved husband; sorrowful mothers, bitterly deploring the
    wanderings of a child reared in the bosom of an eminently Christian
    family, but drawn into the vortex of bad example; pious sisters,
    praying fervently and incessantly for the conversion of a brother,
    who once, like yourselves, enjoyed the sweet consolations of
    religion; Christian children, secretly bewailing the indifference
    of a father who seems to have lost, long since, the precious gift
    of Faith, console yourselves; a new hope is offered you, and it
    comes to you through the beneficent hands of Mary; offer, give the
    image of this tender Mother to the dear objects of your solicitude;
    the thought of this precious medal or a glance at it, will banish
    many a temptation, for we may say with truth of the soul as well as
    of the body, "no one commits suicide under the eyes of a mother."
    If they refuse your offer do not despair; Mary will find her way to
    these hardened hearts, and in spite of themselves, she will take
    them under her protection; imitate the pious ruse of many others,
    who in a like extremity, have stealthily slipped the precious medal
    under the pillow of the impenitent sick on the verge of death;
    imitate those mothers, those wives, those Christian daughters, who
    carefully concealed in the clothing of that child, that spouse,
    that father, the medal they had refused to wear, do this, and one
    day they will appreciate the pledge of your piety and tenderness.
    No, no, never does any one wear in vain, the medal of her to whom
    the Church applies these words of Scripture. "He who finds me,
    will find life, and will obtain salvation from the Lord."[17]

    [Footnote 17: Prov. viii.]

    But it is not enough to wear the medal as a mere pledge of the
    Immaculate Mary's love; we must regard it also, as an assistant in
    reaching perfection. This Mother, all amiable, proposes herself to
    our imitation, she places herself, in a measure, before our eyes,
    that seeing her so pure and perfect, we may be attracted by her
    charms. It is the image of her beauty and goodness she brings us
    from Heaven. It is a mirror in which we learn to know the Sun of
    Justice, by the perfections with which he has enriched His divine
    Mother.... It is on one side, the picture of what we should be, and
    on the other, an eloquent lesson of what we should practice. The
    shining purity of the Immaculate Mary, reveals to us the beauty of
    our soul, created in the image of the thrice holy God, and exciting
    in us, the love of that amiable virtue which makes us resemble the
    angels, it necessarily inspires us with the most vivid horror of
    evil, and causes us to shun the slightest imperfections, since they
    tarnish this divine resemblance.

    And, as though it were not enough to excite our fervor by the
    sight of her ravishing beauty, this faithful Virgin discovers to
    us the means of preserving innocence or recovering it, should we
    have been so unfortunate as to lose it. This is the lesson of the
    symbolic figures engraven on the reverse of the medal: "Nothing
    shall be written on the reverse of the medal; ... what is already
    there says enough to the Christian soul." The Sacred Heart of
    Jesus and Mary placed beneath the cross tell us that purity is
    preserved or restored by love and union with our Lord.... Love
    covers a multitude of sins; love is the bond of perfection, the
    consummation of all virtues.... Love assures fidelity. It must
    be stronger than death to make us die to the world, to sin and
    ourselves, that we may be attached inseparably to Jesus crucified.
    There is also another lesson to be learned--that taught by Mary's
    holy name, united to the sign of the cross. It is placed above the
    two hearts because true love leads to sacrifice; it immolates, it
    fastens, it nails to the cross of Jesus Christ, and this union of
    sufferings on earth is the pledge of a glorious and eternal union

    Children of Mary, respond to her loving tenderness; be docile to
    the salutary lessons of our divine Mother, gratefully acknowledge
    this inappreciable testimony of her ingenious liberality. Go to
    Mary with the simplicity of a child, who lovingly clings to her
    bountiful hand until he obtains the object of his desires. Amidst
    all the storms of life, let your eyes be fixed upon this Star of
    the Sea. Invoke Mary; ever seek her amiable protection; she will
    never refuse to hear our petitions. May her remembrance and love
    reign always in our minds and hearts! May we repeat incessantly
    this sweet invocation: "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for
    us who have recourse to thee!" and when strength and speech have
    failed us may the Miraculous Medal be pressed to our dying lips,
    and the last throb of our heart protest that we wish to die
    murmuring: "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have
    recourse to thee!"





    _Graces Obtained from 1832 to 1835._

"Bless the God of heaven," said the angel to Tobias and his son; "chant
His praises among all mankind for the blessings with which He has
loaded you, for it is good to conceal the secret of the king, but it is
glorious to reveal and publish the works of God. _Elenim sacramentum
regis abscondere bonum est; opera autem Dei revelare et confiteri
honorificum est._"[18] Blessed, then, always and everywhere, be the God
of heaven and earth, for the numberless benefits He has been pleased to
confer upon us through Mary! Let us adore the mysterious destiny of
the Mother of the King of Kings, "who, by reason of this title, truly
merits the name of Queen," says St. Athanasius; and let us rob neither
God nor Mary of the honor and glory due them. Let us publish the
Lord's works of power and goodness to man through the mediation of the
Immaculate Virgin, whom He has established Depositary and Dispensatrix
of the treasures of His mercy, that mercy which embraces our corporal
infirmities as well as spiritual needs.

    [Footnote 18: Tob., xii, 7.]

An account of the extraordinary graces obtained by means of the
Immaculate Conception Medal will be for all Christian souls a source of
precious benedictions. At the view of these prodigies of mercy, these
marvelous cures and conversions, the reader will be led to thank God
and glorify His Holy Mother; those who have already loved Mary will be
incited to still greater love; careless Christians, those who are tried
by suffering, those who have the misfortune to be in a state of sin,
will feel their confidence awakened, and they will tenderly invoke her
whom the Church so justly styles Health of the weak, Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted.

Experience proves this. Every one knows, moreover, that an example of
virtue or an event which clearly reveals God's agency, acts much more
powerfully on the soul than a simple consideration of the subject or a
series of arguments. "_Verba movent, exempla trahunt_--words can move,
example attract."

We also hope for something more from the publication of these
accounts--we hope by them to convince the faithful that Mary's dearest
title is that of Immaculate, and that she knows not how to refuse the
petitions of those who, with lively faith, invoke her by this dearest
title. It is, moreover, the Church of Rome which thus reveals, as it
were, all the merciful tenderness of Mary's Heart, and presents us the
devotion to her spotless Conception as the sure means of enriching
ourselves from the exhaustless treasures of that Heart and according
to all our necessities. "_Sacra Virgo Maria ... sentiant omnes tuam
juvamen quicumque celebrant tuam sanctam Conceptionem_;"[19] and
surely this prayer of the Mother of all churches--prayer which we
might readily style prophetic--has long since been answered. We have
recently seen a compilation, made in 1663 by a Jesuit father, with
the approbation of the Ordinary, containing an account of sixty-two
conversions or cures effected in different places by the invocation
of Mary conceived without sin, and apparently nothing less than
miraculous. It is also a well known fact, mentioned in the life of
B. Peter Fourrier, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, that
these simple words, "Mary was conceived without sin," worn with faith,
brought relief to a multitude of sick persons during an epidemic. The
same means obtained not less visible protection at Nemours, when that
city was in imminent danger of being sacked, and also at Paris in 1830.
But we confine ourselves to the graces obtained through the Miraculous
Medal. Our choice of examples will show that, in bestowing especial
favors upon France, the Immaculate Mary gives no less striking proofs
of her protection in other countries where the medal is known and
piously worn.

    [Footnote 19: Offic. Concept. B.V.M.R. viii.]

Among the traits of protection obtained through the medal in the
diocese of Paris, nine (three conversions and six cures) underwent a
detailed examination, and were pronounced veritable by the Promoter in
the investigation of 1836. We mention them in this edition, adding to
each one's title the word--Attested.

Quite a number of incidents printed in the edition of 1842 we have
omitted here, in order to insert (without greatly increasing the size
of the volume) more recent accounts equally reliable, thus proving that
the medal is not less miraculous in our day than at the time of the

The extraordinary graces of which it has been the instrument, would
have formed an uninterrupted series from the year 1832 till the
present, if unfortunately, neglecting to keep note of them, an interval
of several years had not crept into the documents in our possession.

For the future, please God, no such omission will occur, and all the
authenticated accounts which come to our knowledge will be carefully
registered for the glory of Mary conceived without sin, and the
edification of her servants.


    The 14th of April, 1833, there was brought to the hospital of
    Alençon (Orne) a sick soldier, who came from the hospital of Vitré
    (Ile-et-Vilaine). His impiety there had greatly distressed the
    hospitable ladies of St. Augustin, in charge of that establishment,
    a circumstance communicated to us by persons who witnessed the
    insulting manner in which he rewarded the kind attentions of their
    unfailing charity. Arrived at the hospital Alençon, we soon saw
    what he was, irreligious, impious, and brutally rude. The chaplain
    hastened to visit him, and condole with him on his sufferings; and
    as the opening of the Jubilee very naturally paved the way for a
    few words on that extraordinary grace, he gently exhorted the sick
    man to imitate the example of other soldiers who were preparing to
    profit by it, but his words were answered by insults. The chaplain
    did not insist, and contented himself for several days with merely
    visiting him, and kindly sympathizing with his sufferings; the sick
    man scarcely replied, and seemed much annoyed, even at the visits.

    The Daughters of Charity in charge of this hospital, met with no
    better treatment, notwithstanding the kind attentions they lavished
    on him. His malady increased; seeing that it was becoming very
    necessary for him to receive the consolations of religion, the
    chaplain urged him again to make his peace with the good God, but
    he was answered by blasphemies. "Ah! yes, the good God, little He
    cares for me." In answer to this the abbé made a few observations
    full of charity, and the patient continued: "Your good God does
    not like the French; you say He is good and He loves me; if He
    loved me, would he afflict me like this, have I deserved it?"
    These outbursts of impiety only inflamed the charitable zeal of
    the minister of a God who died for sinners, and inspired him with
    forcible language, to depict the justice and merciful goodness of
    the Lord. The sick man soon interrupted him by invectives: "You
    worry me; let me alone; go away from here; I need neither you nor
    your sermons," and he turned over to avoid seeing the priest.
    His treatment to the Sisters was no better; and he continued to
    utter the most horrible blasphemies against religion, and those
    who reminded him of it; he carried this to such a degree, that
    the other soldiers were indignant, especially at his outrageous
    behaviour, after any one has spoken to him about his soul, or there
    had been prayers or a little spiritual reading in the room--he
    appeared dissatisfied, until he had vomited forth his stock of
    blasphemies and imprecations. Some days passed and nothing was
    said to him on the subject of religion, but every care for his
    bodily comfort was redoubled; no one now scarcely dared hope
    for his return to God, for his malady increased, and likewise
    his impiety; all contented themselves with praying for him, and
    recommending him to the prayers of others. The Sister in charge of
    that ward, having great confidence in the Blessed Virgin's promises
    to all under the protection of the medal, felt urged interiorly
    to hang one at the foot of his bed; she yielded to the apparent
    inspiration, and, unknown to him, the medal was there. He still
    showed no signs of relenting, and even became indignant when some
    of the other soldiers prepared themselves, by confession, to gain
    the Jubilee. The medal had now been six days hanging at the foot of
    his bed, and many and fervent were the prayers offered up to God
    for this miserable creature's conversion, although nearly every one
    despaired of it. One day, when all the convalescents of the ward
    were assisting at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sister
    approached his bed, detached the medal and held it up before him.
    "Look," said she, "at this medal, it is miraculous; I hung it to
    your bed several days ago, and thereby put you under the Blessed
    Virgin's especial protection. With her powerful assistance, I
    confidently hope for your conversion. Look at this good Mother, she
    is praying for you now." He never raised his eyes, but already was
    grace working in his heart, for he showed no signs of irritation
    which had heretofore been the inevitable consequence of mentioning
    religion. Profiting by this, the Sister spoke to him of God's
    mercy, and begged him again to cast a glance at the medal she had
    just hung at the foot of his bed on the inner side. After being
    repeatedly urged, he opened his eyes and looked towards it. "I do
    not see your medal," said he to the Sister, "but I see the candle
    which, doubtless, you have just lit; yes, it is certainly a light."
    It was five o'clock in the afternoon, June 13th; his bed was so
    placed that it could not receive any reflection of the sun's rays,
    and the chaplain, after examining the spot felt assured, that at
    no time could a reflection strike it in that direction. "You are
    mistaken," said she, "look at it carefully." He repeated in the
    most positive manner, "I see it distinctly, it is certainly a
    light." Astonished beyond expression, but fearing her patient's
    sight was affected, the Sister showed him other and more distant
    objects; these he distinguished perfectly, and continued to see
    this light for a quarter of an hour. During this interval, the
    Sister spoke to him of God; suddenly, fear and love filled his
    heart. "I do not wish to die as I am!" he exclaimed, "tell the
    chaplain to come immediately and hear my confession." Hearing one
    of the other patients utter an oath, "oh! make that miserable man
    hush!" said he, to the Sister; "oh! I beg you to make him stop

    "I was still ignorant," says the chaplain, "of the origin and
    effects of this medal. It was a very familiar object, and I
    regarded it as nothing more than an ordinary medal. When told
    that the sick man wanted me, I went joyfully, and saw for myself
    what a complete change had taken place in him. Congratulating
    and encouraging him, without knowing the cause of this change,
    I hastened to ask him if he wished me to hear his confession.
    He replied in the affirmative, and made it without delay; I had
    every opportunity of admiring his good will and the pleasure he
    manifested at each repetition of my visit. I endeavored to make him
    explain himself, and asked if he had not acted from mere civility
    or a desire to rid himself of the importunities by which he had
    been so long beset. "No," he answered, "I sent for you, because
    I wished seriously to make my confession and arise from my state
    of sin." Henceforth he was no longer the same man; he was now as
    docile, patient, gentle and edifying in all his words and ways,
    as he had formerly been unmanageable, brutal and scandalous.
    He eagerly desired the Last Sacraments, which, after proper
    preparation, he received with lively faith. His happiness seemed
    beyond expression, and though suffering intensely, no one ever
    heard the least sign of impatience escape his lips. He continued
    to give the most unequivocal signs of a true conversion; peace and
    resignation were depicted in his countenance, and to his last sigh,
    which he breathed June 27th, 1833, did he persevere most faithfully.

NOTE.--These details are attested by M. Yver Bordeaux, chaplain of the
Hotel Dieu; by the Sisters of Charity; by a woman patient named Bidon;
Julien Prével, an infirmarian; by Jean François Royer, of the Seventh
Cuirassiers; Marie Favry, infirmarian, all eye witnesses, besides
a large number of other soldiers who left the city whilst we were
investigating the matter.


The account of this cure was sent us by the person herself in the month
of May, 1834.

    The 3d of November, 1833, I was attacked by a typhoid fever, for
    which I was treated by a skillful physician and the Sisters of
    Charity, who spared no pains for my recovery. At the end of a month
    I was able to take a little nourishment, and I had the happiness
    of assisting at the Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion on the
    Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I was still very weak, and
    utterly incapable of any exertion. In this state of exhaustion, I
    took a little chocolate. The fever soon returned, and continued
    with daily increasing violence until Christmas. Then the physician
    said there was no longer any hope of my recovery. Another physician
    was called in, who, after an examination, declared me consumptive
    to the last degree, but said they might try the effect of a few
    blisters. Those proved of no benefit. The 27th of December, the
    physicians finding me extremely ill, informed the Sisters that my
    death was imminent. Moreover, I had been cold for two days. About
    half-past six that day, I received the last Sacraments, and at nine
    every one thought I would soon breathe my last. Suddenly, one of
    the good Sisters around my couch thought of putting the medal on
    me. I kissed it continually with great confidence, and began to
    feel better. My condition next morning was a matter of astonishment
    to the physician, and I continued to improve so rapidly that,
    at the end of two days, the fever had entirely disappeared. My
    appetite was ravenous, I soon resumed my occupations, and ever
    since have been in perfect health. I doubt not, Monsieur, that I
    owe my recovery to Mary, my good Mother, my love for whom seems to
    have increased; my greatest happiness being to decorate her altars,
    and my most earnest desire that of consecrating myself to God in a
    Community whose works have so touching a connexion with the sublime
    destiny of the Mother of Jesus; it is under her protection I expect
    the accomplishment of my designs.

                Yours very respectfully,

                                  AURELIE B.

NOTE.--The nine Sisters of the establishment have attested the truth
of these details, and one of the two physicians does not hesitate to
declare her recovery supernatural.

Moreover, this young person has ever since remained in perfect health.
Her prayers are granted, the Immaculate Mary has also obtained for her
the grace of being received into the Community she wished to enter,
which is the reason we do not give her name.

    CURE OF A RELIGIOUS (PARIS)--1834.--_Attested._

This fact is known to many; however, to prevent too great a number
of visitors, the Superior requests us not to publish the name of the

A young religious, twenty-seven and a-half years old and eight years
professed, in an Order especially consecrated to the Blessed Virgin
(Paris), had been kept in the infirmary by various maladies, for the
space of five months. At the very time she appeared convalescent, an
accident of the gravest nature happened; her left thigh bone became
disjointed and shrunken, the limb was attacked by paralysis, and the
sick religious lay upon her bed one month, without experiencing the
slightest alleviation from human remedies. Two physicians and a surgeon
being consulted at various times, pronounced the displacing of the bone
due an irritating humor; but they could not check it, even by means of
cauterizing and issues, so that after a long and painful treatment,
she remained a cripple. She now had recourse to the Blessed Virgin as
a child to its good mother; a religious of the house having brought
her one of those medals called miraculous, which had been given her,
she received it gratefully, applied it to the afflicted member and
commenced, Saturday, March 1st, 1834, a novena to the Blessed Virgin.
All human remedies seemed unavailing; she lost her appetite and was
unable to sleep. She was also racked with high fever; however, having
snatched a little repose during the Wednesday night after beginning
the novena, she was suddenly awakened by a very painful commotion,
which re-established the bones in their place; the leg which had been
shortened about six inches, became lengthened almost even with the
other, and recovered its usual strength. On visiting her next morning,
the physicians were greatly astonished, but gave orders that she should
not yet leave her bed. On Sunday, the last day of the novena, the fact
of the cure was established beyond a doubt. The religious arose quite
naturally, and without any assistance, ran to kiss the feet of Mary's
statue, placed over the infirmary fire-place; then, dressed in her
habit, and accompanied by the Mother Infirmarian, she descended about a
dozen steps to the chapel to adore the Blessed Sacrament, after which
she repaired to the community room, where the Superior with her Mothers
and Sisters were assembled, to give her the kiss of congratulation.
This touching scene was terminated by the recitation of the _Te Deum_,
and _Sub Tuum_. No trace of disease remained, except a slight weakness
for a few days, and as this was felt only in the sound limb, it was
evidently the result of her having been six months in bed.

Two of the physicians acknowledged, with all the Community, that it was
a supernatural favor. One of them has even declared in a certificate
of May 4th, 1834, that without wishing to characterize a fact as
extraordinary, he observes that in this circumstance there are: 1st,
spontaneous disjointing; 2d, spontaneous diminution, three days
convalescence, and these last two are, to the extent of his knowledge,
without parallel in the records of surgery.

The religious has never had another attack of this infirmity.


The Abbé Bégin, an eye-witness of this cure, which took place at the
hospital St. Maur, where he is chaplain, has prepared a verbal process
which attests: 1st, that the patient was really afflicted; 2d, that she
was cured March 14th, 1834; 3d, that she declares no other means were
employed than the medal and prayer. This verbal process is signed by a
hundred persons of the above-mentioned hospital.

    "Madame C.H., a widow, aged seventy, a charity patient at the
    hospital St. Maur, was, in consequence of a fall the 7th of
    August, 1833, crippled to such a degree that it was with great
    difficulty she could walk, even with the aid of a crutch, and
    sometimes the additional assistance of another person's arm; she
    could scarcely seat herself, and to rise was still more of an
    effort. To ascend the stairs was almost impossible, she could
    accomplish it only by grasping as she went along whatever lay
    within reach. She could not stoop or kneel; the left limb, which
    was the principal seat of her malady, she dragged helplessly after
    her, not being able to bend it.

    "Such was her sad condition at the beginning of March, 1834.
    However, she heard something that enkindled a ray of hope in her
    heart. Some one had spoken to her the January previous of a medal
    said to be miraculous; it bore on one side the image of Mary
    crushing the infernal serpent's head, her hands full of graces
    figured by rays of light proceeding from them, and the invocation:
    'O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to
    thee!' on the other, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, with
    the letter M surmounted by a cross. She was also informed of the
    wonders it had wrought, and her heart awoke to the consoling hope
    of realizing some benefit from the medal which had been promised
    her. How she sighed for the happy moment when it would be in her
    possession! How long the time of waiting appeared! At last, her
    desires were gratified; the 6th of March she received, as if
    it were a present from Heaven, the long wished-for medal, and
    hastened, by the reception of the Sacrament of Penance, to prepare
    herself for the desired favor. Next day, the first Wednesday in
    the month, she commenced by Holy Communion a novena to the Sacred
    Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Twenty times, day and night, did she
    press to her lips the precious medal hung around her neck. For
    several days of the novena, our Lord severely tried her faith
    anew. Her sufferings increased greatly, likewise her fervor and
    confidence, and soon the most blessed results were the recompense
    of this poor woman's prayers.

    "Seven days of the novena had not elapsed ere she was relieved of
    the sufferings that had so cruelly afflicted her for seven months.
    I could not depict the astonishment and admiration of every one,
    who saw on the morning of March 14th this person so helpless
    the very evening before, walk with all ease imaginable, bend,
    kneel, go up and down high steps. One spoke of it to another for
    mutual edification, and, in turn, came to congratulate her on her
    recovery, and give thanks to God and Mary. The Superior, who had
    bestowed constant care upon the sick woman during her crippled
    state, and had thus been a daily witness of her sufferings,
    returned solemn thanks for this extraordinary grace, the whole
    Community chanting a _Te Deum_ in their chapel.

    "P.S.--I forgot to say that the widow has the free use of all her
    limbs, and has never since had a return of her former infirmity."

The following is what Monseigneur thought proper to append to the
verbal process, an extract from which we have just read: "We certify
that credence can, and ought to, be placed in the testimony of the Abbé
Bégin, that of the Sisters and so many other eye-witnesses who have
spoken conscientiously and from no motive save that of zeal for the

    "† M.S.F.V., Bishop of Châlons.

    "_Châlons, May 30, 1834._"

    AND OF A WOMAN--1834.

    Extract from a letter of Sister C. (Herault) to M.E.:

                                            "_November 13, 1834._

    "It should be the duty of children to glorify their mother, and
    a very sweet one it is for me to acquaint you with two incidents
    manifesting the boundless charity of Mary conceived without sin.

    "The first relates to a sick soldier in our house. Though we
    had already witnessed the efficacy of the medal, in effecting
    the conversion of several soldiers most obstinate in resisting
    grace, no conversion was so striking as this. M. Frederick de
    Castillon, aged thirty-five, Captain in the 21st Light Guards,
    entered the hospital, April 29th, in the last stage of consumption,
    and attacked by paralysis of the left side. We nursed him a long
    time, his condition grew alarmingly worse, but how could we
    mention religion to a young soldier who boasted of having none?
    I kept myself always informed of his state, and contented myself
    (apparently) with watching the progress of the disease. Several
    times I attempted to make him realize his danger, but in vain. One
    day, when he was much worse, and I had an opportunity of seeing
    him alone, I ventured to inquire if he were a Catholic. 'Yes,
    Sister,' he replied, looking steadily at me. I then asked him to
    accept a medal, to wear it, and frequently invoke the Immaculate
    Mary, telling him at the same time that, if he did so with faith,
    this good Mother would obtain for him all the graces he needed, for
    bearing his sufferings patiently and meritoriously. He received it
    gratefully, but did not put it on.

    "But our confidence in the Blessed Virgin's influence over him
    was not diminished, especially when we saw him place the medal
    on the side of his bed. The Sister in charge of that hall had
    already slipped one in his pillow-case. Several days passed, his
    strength was gradually ebbing away, and after many ineffectual
    efforts to obtain his consent to see a priest, I asked a clergyman
    to visit him notwithstanding, and I introduced him into the sick
    man's presence just as some one came to tell me he could not live
    through that night (October 15th). We found him extremely ill,
    but still inflexible. After a few moments, I withdrew, and left
    him alone with the charitable priest, who could get nothing from
    him but these despairing words: 'Leave me in peace, to-morrow I
    shall be dead, and all will be over!' Of course, there was nothing
    else to be done but comply with his request, and you can imagine
    how painful it was. We redoubled our petitions to the Immaculate
    Virgin, and this good Mother soon wrought a change in the
    unfortunate man's heart.

    "Next day, he asked the physician to tell him candidly if his case
    were hopeless, because he wished to arrange his affairs. That same
    evening, as soon as the Sister in charge of the hall entered, he
    said to her very gently and penitently: 'Oh! how sorry I am to have
    treated the Superior so badly, and the good priest she brought
    me! Present my apologies to them, I beg you, and ask them to come
    again.' You know we delayed not a moment in going to see him.
    Next morning he began his new life, and during the nine days M.
    Castillon still lived the chaplain visited him several times every
    day, remaining two hours at a time. One of his brother officers,
    coming to see him just after his first confession: 'If you had
    been here a few minutes sooner,' said M. de Castillon, with an
    utter disregard of human respect, 'you would have found me in good
    company. I was with the curé, and I could not have been in better.'
    He had the happiness of receiving the Last Sacraments with the most
    admirable dispositions. Here are his dying words, which he asked
    this gentleman to commit to writing: 'I die in the religion of my
    fathers, I love and revere it, I humbly beg God's pardon for not
    always having practiced it publicly.' And he expired in the peace
    of the Lord, October 23d.

    "I now relate the second conversion, that of a woman who, for
    eighteen years, had been a public scandal, living with a wretch who
    had abandoned wife and children for her. To such wicked conduct,
    she added a more than ordinary degree of impiety, boasting that
    she believed neither in God nor hell, and mocking at everything
    religion held sacred. Although dangerously ill, she declared that
    never would she make a confession. Sister N., seeing the rapid
    progress of the disease and near approach of death, had recourse
    to the Blessed Virgin; she put a medal around the woman's neck,
    and began a novena for her conversion, relying upon the assistance
    of her who, every day, gives us continually increasing proofs
    that she is our Mother and a most merciful one. Before the novena
    was finished, this poor creature, yielding to grace, made her
    confession, and renounced forever the wretch who had been her
    curse, manifesting as much sorrow for her past life, and proving
    herself as pious as she had heretofore been shamelessly impious.

    "The above facts, Monsieur, I have thought it my duty to make known
    to you, for the edification of the faithful and the glory of Mary.
    May these examples of her power and bounty, lead all sinners to
    cast themselves into her arms!"

NOTE.--These two events are truly a confirmation of what St. Bernard
says, "that no one ever invokes Mary in vain;" but what a misfortune
for those who refuse her succor! A very reliable individual once told
us, that a sick person to whom a medal had been given, and who began
to feel the effects of grace, suddenly insisted upon having the medal
taken off, saying: "It hurts me; I can wear it no longer." To quiet him
it was taken off, and he soon expired without the slightest sign of
conversion. The person relating this, was an eye-witness; it happened
in the month of October, 1834.


NOTE.--It is Mme. Péron herself who gives us all the details. She lives
in Paris, rue des Petites-Écuries, No. 24. We quote her own account,
written February 26th, 1835, from her dictation, and in presence of the
Sister who visited her in her sickness.

    "I was sick eight years, and afflicted with very considerable
    hemorrhages. I suffered much and almost continually. I was without
    strength; I took but little nourishment, and that little increased
    my malady, which was gradually exhausting me. I do not remember
    to have had during these eight years, more than eight entire days
    of relief from pain; the rest of the time I passed on the bed,
    unable to perform the work necessary to aid my poor husband in
    supporting the family. I have even been confined to my bed as
    long as eighteen months without intermission. I consulted several
    physicians, who prescribed the remedies usual in such cases, but
    all to no purpose. My husband, not being able to afford such
    expense, and seeing no hope of my recovery, lost courage and was
    almost in despair. Some kind persons sought to cheer him: 'You must
    not be so low-spirited, my poor Bourbonnais, you must bear up under
    these trials and show your strength of character; your wife is very
    sick, but she will recover and your friends will not abandon you.'
    As for myself, seeing that medicines had no effect and cost us a
    great deal of money, I dispensed with doctors, and was a long time
    without seeing one, having resigned myself to a slow death.

    "A neighbor who understood my position, came one day to see me,
    and urged me not to give up thus, but to have the physician again.
    I opposed it, because we had not the wherewith to remunerate him.
    She then proposed to call in a Sister of Charity. I observed that
    not being in want, perhaps the Sisters would refuse to come, as it
    might thus deprive of their services, others more unfortunate than
    myself. This good lady insisted, and I yielded.

    "Next morning, I received a visit from Sister Marie (of St. Vincent
    de Paul's parish), who brought me some assistance, encouraged me to
    support my sufferings, and did her best to console me. I can truly
    say that happiness entered my house with this good Sister. She
    soon sent a physician, who, after examining me and understanding
    my case, told her, as I have since learned, that it was a hopeless
    one, I had a very little while to live, and ought to be sent to
    the hospital to spare my family the sad spectacle of my death.
    Hearing this, Sister Marie believed it her duty to give my soul
    especial attention. I was not an enemy to religion, but I was
    not very practical; I went sometimes to the parish functions,
    when my sufferings and occupations permitted, but (and I say it
    to my shame) I had not approached the Sacraments for years. When
    the Sister, after several other questions, asked me if I went to
    confession, blushing, I said 'no.' She begged me to do so, and
    I replied: 'When I am cured, I will.' The good Sister, little
    satisfied with my evasive answer, urged me again to see a priest.
    'Sister,' said I, 'I don't like to be persecuted with things of
    this sort, when I am cured I will go to confession.' I saw that
    this answer grieved her, but she never remitted her visits and kind
    attentions. My malady increased. One Saturday or Sunday night, at
    the commencement of October, 1834, my whole body was cold, and
    vainly did my friends endeavor to restore a natural warmth, the
    chill of death seemed on me. They spoke of reciting the prayers
    for the dying; I understood a part of what was said, but myself
    was speechless. Whilst I was so ill, my husband told our eldest
    daughter to go to bed, and he, thinking me easier because I was
    feebly breathing, threw himself, without undressing, upon the bed
    to snatch a little repose; but, getting up a few minutes later, he
    came to me, put his hand on my face, and was horrified to find it
    covered with a cold sweat. He thought me dead, and called aloud:
    'Euphemie,' (this is our eldest daughter's name), 'Euphemie, alas!
    thy mother is dead!' Euphemie arose and mingled her lamentations
    with those of her father. Their cries awakened Madame Pellevé, our
    neighbor, who came to console them. 'Ah! madame,' said my husband,
    on seeing her, 'my wife is dead!' Having begged him to be resigned
    to God's will, this lady approached me, and, placing her hand upon
    my heart: 'No,' she exclaimed, 'she is not dead, her heart still
    beats.' They kindled a fire, and succeeded in restoring a little
    warmth to my body.

    "Madame Pellevé went betimes to inform Sister Marie of all this,
    and the latter hastened to tell the physician. 'I am not at all
    surprised,' he answered; 'this lady has two incurable diseases.
    Besides these hemorrhages, she is in the last stage of consumption,
    as I have already told you, and if not dead before this, she will
    not live through the day.' My chest had, indeed, been very weak for
    some time, and the physicians in consultation had all said I could
    never be cured.

    "At two o'clock in the afternoon I received a visit from Sister
    Marie, who found me not quite so ill; I could speak. 'Do you
    love the Blessed Virgin very much?' said she. 'Yes, Sister,' I
    had indeed always practiced some devotion in honor of this good
    Mother. 'If you love her very much, I can give you something to
    cure you.' 'Oh! yes, I shall soon be well.' I spoke of death, for
    I felt that it was near. Then she showed me a medal and said:
    'Take this medal of the Blessed Virgin, who will cure you, if you
    have great confidence in her.' The sight of the medal filled me
    with joy; I took it and kissed it fervently, for I truly longed to
    be cured. The Sister now recited aloud the little prayer which I
    could not read, and urged me to repeat it daily; I promised to add
    five Paters and five Aves. She then put the medal around my neck.
    At that instant, there passed through me a new, strange feeling,
    a general revolution in my whole body, a thrill through all my
    members. It was not a painful sensation, on the contrary, I began
    to shed tears of joy. I was not cured, but I felt that I was going
    to be cured, and I experienced a confidence that came not from

    "Sister Marie left me in this state; after her departure, my
    husband who had remained motionless at the foot of my bed said:
    'Put all your confidence in the Blessed Virgin; we are going to
    make a novena for you.' Towards evening I could raise myself up in
    bed, which was very astonishing, considering my extreme exhaustion,
    but a few hours previous. On Tuesday I requested some broth,
    which was given me at last, and a little while after I took some
    soup. My strength returned; I felt that I was cured. Finally, on
    Thursday, I wished to go to church to thank the Blessed Virgin.
    This suggestion was opposed, but I insisted and at length went.
    Whilst on the way and alone (for I preferred going by myself), I
    met Sister Marie, who did not recognize me; I took her hand: 'Oh!'
    said she, 'it is really yourself!' 'Yes, Sister, it is I indeed; I
    am going to Mass: I am cured!' 'And what has cured you so quickly?'
    'The Blessed Virgin, and I am going to thank her.' The Sister was
    lost in astonishment. I recounted to her how it had all come about
    in less than three days, and I kept on to church and heard Mass.
    Since then, I have had no return of my malady; I enjoy good health;
    I go about my duties, performing a regular day's work, and to the
    Miraculous Medal am I indebted for it all."

Not only Madame Péron's body but her soul, did the Blessed Virgin
restore to health; she soon chose a Director and went to confession,
and she has continued to do so ever since; her life is really very
edifying. As she deeply regrets having lived so long estranged from
God, her greatest happiness now is in frequently approaching the
Sacraments; two things awaken her tears, the recollection of her past
life, and gratitude for her twofold recovery.

Nor is this all; the Blessed Virgin seems to have chosen this family
for the purpose of displaying in it the wonders of her power. Madam
Péron had a daughter aged sixteen, who, after her mother's recovery,
gave herself to God in an especial manner, employing in exercises of
piety, all her leisure moments, and edifying her companions in the
parish confraternity, whenever she could take part in their devotions
for she lived in another quarter.

The father also was deeply touched at the favors accorded his wife; he
wears the medal, and he has experienced its blessed effects.

Madame Péron has still another daughter, a little girl six years and
a-half old, who had great difficulty in speaking, or rather, who did
not speak at all, although she was not mute. Her utterance was so
impeded, that she scarcely ever finished a word, thus disconcerting
the most patient. It was so much the more deplorable, as she was
quite a bright child. 'What a pity she does not talk!' said everyone
who witnessed her infirmity. When Sister Marie saw this little girl,
'Why do you not send her to school,' said she to the mother, 'instead
of keeping her home all day?' 'You hear how she talks,' answered
the mother, who did not like to have her child's infirmity exposed.
However, she yielded to the Sister's wishes, and little Hortense was
sent to the Sister's parish school. Her imperfect speech did not
improve, it would sometimes take her five minutes to pronounce half
a word. Some days after, Sister Marie, who deeply pitied the child,
spoke to her mother of a novena for curing this defect. "Cure Hortense,
Sister! it is impossible, it is a natural defect!" The Sister, with
increasing anxiety insisted. The novena was commenced on Saturday;
it consisted in hearing Mass every day, and reciting a few prayers
in honor of the Blessed Virgin. The medal was hung around the little
girl's neck, and she was to take part in all the exercises of the
novena. For several days there was no change, but Thursday after the
Mass of the Blessed Sacrament, Hortense, on leaving church, could
speak as distinctly and with as much ease as any one. Those who first
heard her were struck with admiration, the news soon spread, and from
all sides came persons to see her; they questioned her, and the child
answered, they scanned her to see if it were really the same, and
recognizing her, they returned, saying: "This is certainly a great
miracle, a sudden cure of a natural defect!"

Little Hortense, showing her medal with delight, would say to all who
knew and congratulated her: "The Blessed Virgin has cured me."

In thanksgiving for so great a benefit, the child was consecrated
to Mary on the 21st of November, Feast of the Presentation, in the
same chapel where the apparition of the medal took place, and, in
commemoration of this great event of her life, she was to wear only
blue and white until her First Communion. Previous to this ceremony,
she made her confession, with every evidence of understanding
thoroughly the importance of the act. When asked if she loves the
Blessed Virgin, "Oh! yes," she answers, "I love her with more than all
my heart!" an expression invented, it seems, solely by the fulness of
her gratitude. She prizes her brass medal so highly, that she would
not exchange it for one of silver or gold, and she wishes it put in the
tomb with her when she dies. "We hope, Hortense," said her father not
long ago, (he always finds a new pleasure in hearing her talk), "we
hope, when you die, that you will leave us this medal as a souvenir of
yourself and a relic of the Blessed Virgin." "Certainly, papa, if it
gives you so much pleasure, but I promised the Blessed Virgin, the day
of my consecration, that the medal should never leave me, but should
even descend with me into the tomb when I died."

We publish these details, with the cordial approbation of this family,
fully imbued with ever increasing gratitude to Mary Immaculate.

These two accounts have been confirmed by nine other persons.


NOTE.--All these edifying details, which have already produced a most
beneficial effect upon many young men, were given us and attested by
Sisters Radier and Pourrat, who, having charge of that ward, were
witnesses of the facts, and also instruments of divine mercy in
operating these prodigies.

    "We had in St. Vincent's ward, number 20, royal hotel des
    Invalides, Paris, a soldier who had been spitting blood about six
    months, and who, it was thought, would soon die of consumption. He
    was naturally polite and grateful for the attentions bestowed upon
    him, but he showed no signs of religion; his morals were bad, and
    it was a well-known fact that, for twenty years, his life had been
    one of scandal.

    "It appeared, however, that faith was not entirely extinguished in
    his heart, for another patient, his neighbor, being on the point
    of death and refusing to see a priest, this one entreated him to
    yield, and was instrumental in bringing about his conversion.
    Alas! his own turn soon came, we saw him growing worse day by day,
    he was wasting visibly, and had not once mentioned receiving the
    Sacraments. As he had urged his neighbor to prepare for death, we
    hoped he would make his own preparation, without being reminded
    of it, or, at least, that he would willingly comply with the
    first suggestion. On the contrary, he absolutely resisted all our
    entreaties, saying: 'I am an honest man, Sister, I have neither
    killed nor robbed.' 'Even so,' we would answer, 'we all stand in
    need of God's mercy, we are all sinners.' 'Oh! Sister, just leave
    me in peace, I beg you.'

    "However, he began to realize that he had been sinking for several
    days, and he said aloud: 'There is no hope for me!' This thought
    appeared to distress him. One day (it was Wednesday, the 26th of
    November), the disease took such a sudden turn for the worse, we
    feared he would not live through the day, and, being unable to
    make any religious impression on him, we warned the chaplain of
    his condition and his resistance to all our entreaties. The latter
    went to see him. Our patient received him with great respect, but,
    wishing to get rid of him adroitly, said: 'I am acquainted with the
    curé.' A little while after, the curé visited him, and conversed
    with him some time. On leaving his bedside, the venerable, zealous
    pastor came to us and said: 'Your patient is very low, and I have
    not succeeded in getting him to do anything for his soul; indeed,
    I did not urge him too much, for fear he might say _no_, and then
    would not revoke it, like so many others, after once giving a
    decided negative.'

    "The same day a lady of his acquaintance also came to see him, and
    earnestly but vainly urged him to make his peace with God. To get
    rid of her importunity he said: 'I know the curé; he has already
    been to see me, and will return this evening.' The curé returned
    indeed, according to promise; the sick man, on seeing him, jumped
    out of bed to show that he was not so ill as to make confession a
    very pressing matter. The curé, a true Samaritan, rendered him all
    the little services imaginable, helping him back to bed, and even
    offering to dress his blister; he then spoke to him about his soul,
    but without avail, for after an hour's conversation he came to us
    and said: 'I am deeply grieved, for I have done my utmost, but it
    has had no effect upon him.' We asked the curé if we must call him
    during the night, in case the sick man grew worse. 'I think,' said
    he, 'you had better not, unless he asks for me.' A little later one
    of us reminded him again of the chaplain, who was passing, but he
    got enraged and began to swear, so that we had to drop the subject,
    despite our distress at the thought of his appearing so unprepared
    before his God. Our grief was so much the greater in proportion to
    his extreme danger, for the death rattle was already in his throat,
    and it did not seem possible that he could survive the night. It
    was then my young companion said to me: 'Oh! Sister, perhaps our
    sins, as our holy St. Vincent says, have been the cause of this
    man's impenitence.' Expecting nothing more from the patient, Sister
    Radier now turned all her hopes towards the Blessed Virgin. During
    night prayers thoughts of the medal came into her mind, and she
    said to herself: 'If we put the medal on him perhaps the Blessed
    Virgin will obtain his conversion,' and she determined to make a
    novena. After prayers she said to her companion: 'Let us go see the
    sick man and put a medal on him; perhaps the Blessed Virgin will
    grant our petitions.' She went immediately, and found him up and
    in a state of great agitation, and about to leave the room; all
    the other patients saw it clearly, and said that it was with the
    intention of committing suicide. The Sister cautiously took away
    his knife and whatever else might be used in this way, slipped
    unperceived the medal between his two mattresses, and returned to
    us very sadly, saying: 'Let us fervently invoke the Blessed Virgin,
    for I very much fear this poor man will kill himself during the

    "Next day, immediately after rising, and even before seeing the
    Sister who had kept watch, one of us hastened to visit our patient,
    and not without most dire forebodings, but, to our astonishment,
    his mind was calm and he seemed better. On inquiring how he felt,
    'Very well, Sister,' he answered, 'I passed a good night, I slept
    well (which I have not done for a long time), and I am better in
    consequence.' As the Sister retired, he called to her, saying:
    'Sister, I wish to make my confession, oh! send the curé to me!'
    'You wish to confess?' replied the Sister, 'take care; are you
    going to do as you did all day yesterday, do you really want him?'
    'Yes, Sister, upon my honor.' 'Well, since you wish him, I will go
    for him, it will certainly be well for you to confess your sins,
    for it is said that your life has not always been edifying.' Then,
    without the slightest human respect, he began to mention his sins
    aloud, and with great sentiments of compunction; we could scarcely
    induce him to stop. The curé came, and he made his confession,
    which lasted an hour. Afterwards, one of us having come to see
    him, he exclaimed joyfully at our reproach: 'Oh! Sister, how happy
    I am, I have been to confession, I have received absolution, and
    the curé is to return this evening. Since my First Communion, this
    is the happiest day of my life!' He appeared deeply affected, and
    expressed a most ardent desire to receive the good God. 'Do you
    know what we did?' 'What was it, Sister?' 'We put between your
    mattresses a Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin.' 'Ah! then,
    that is why I passed such a comfortable night; moreover, I felt as
    if there was something about me that wrought a wonderful change,
    and I do not know why I did not search my bed; I thought of doing
    so.' The Sister then produced the medal, which he kissed with
    respect and affection. 'It is this,' he exclaimed, 'that gave me
    strength to brave human respect. I must place it on my breast; I
    will give you a ribbon to attach it to my decoration,' (he wore the
    cross of honor.) The first ribbon offered being a little faded,
    'No, Sister,' said he, 'not that, but this; the Blessed Virgin must
    have a new ribbon.' The Sister, regarding his weak state, placed
    the medal in such a manner that it was somewhat concealed. 'Oh! do
    not hide it, Sister,' said he; 'put it beside my cross, I shall not
    blush to show it.'

    "In the afternoon the curé asked us how our patient was, and he
    was not less edified than ourselves at the account we gave of his
    admirable dispositions. Preparations were made to give him the last
    Sacraments. At the sight of the Holy Viaticum, he was so penetrated
    with emotion that he begged pardon aloud of God for all the sins
    of his life in detail, and it was with the utmost difficulty he
    could be persuaded to lower his voice, his heart being too full
    to contain itself. He passed the following night and the next day
    in the same dispositions of faith, regret and piety, until Monday
    morning, December 1st, when he peacefully rendered his soul to God,
    and we have every confidence that it was received into the arms of
    His mercy.

    "We relate what we saw and heard; it took place in our ward, which
    numbers sixty patients, the majority of whom witnessed a part of
    these details."

NOTE.--Before burial, the Sister took the medal off his corpse, and the
patient in the next bed begged to have it, so persuaded was he that it
had been the instrument of this touching conversion.

This consoling return to God was followed by several others not less
striking or less sincere, and in that very institution, by the same
means--the medal. Quite lately two have taken place, but the details
are so very much like the above that for this reason alone we refrain
from giving them.

All this has been confirmed by M. Ancelin, curé of the Invalides.


This account was sent us by the Superior General of St. Sulpice, who
was anxious that we should have it. The venerable priest of this very
estimable Community, who was favored with this grace, wrote the details
himself, and they were attested by the Superior and the Director of the
grand Seminary of Rheims, both of whom were witnesses.

    "To the glory of Mary conceived without sin, I, Jean Baptiste
    Fermin, unworthy servant of the Blessed Virgin, and subject of M.
    Olier, have, together with my Superior and confrères, thought it
    my duty to transmit to our very honored Father, an account of the
    special favor accorded me.

    "Many persons knew what I suffered for six whole years, how I
    was worn out with a nervous, worrying cough, whose attacks were
    so frequent and so prolonged that one can scarcely imagine how I
    ever survived them. My physician himself told me that, for the
    first three years, my life was in imminent danger, and if in the
    last three I was less exposed to death at every step, as it were,
    the giving way of my stomach, the weakness of my chest, were such
    that all my days were filled with bitterness, and new crosses
    were laid upon me. In this condition, what ecclesiastical fasts
    could I keep? Four or five years ago, the desire of complying,
    in some degree, with the precepts of the Church led me to fast
    the Ember week before Christmas, and the prejudice to my health
    was such that I was not permitted to fast again even for a day.
    Abstinence from meat became impossible, and for having attempted
    this slight mortification, how much I suffered in consequence, even
    in the very month of July, 1834! Whilst my health was so impaired,
    and I saw only a lingering end to my afflictions, it pleased my
    Superiors to give me a year's rest. I received with gratitude this
    additional evidence of their consideration for me, and endeavored
    to co-operate with them in re-establishing my health, of which they
    had been so thoughtful; but, in my condition, the recuperative
    powers of nature were of slight avail. Even amidst perfect
    quiet and rest for four whole months, I experienced but little
    alleviation of my sufferings, for though my chest became, at least,
    apparently stronger, my stomach grew weaker and more disordered,
    so that I was obliged to diet, which, added to the dieting I had
    already practiced, reduced me to such a state of exhaustion that I
    could not foresee the consequences.

    "O, Mary, how deplorable was my condition when you cast upon
    me a look of mercy! The 15th of November, 1834, I was sent a
    medal, struck in honor of the Immaculate Conception, and already
    celebrated as the instrument of many miracles. In receiving it,
    I was penetrated, for the first time, with a strong feeling
    of confidence, that this was the Heaven-sent means by which I
    would reach the end of my afflictions; I had not foreseen this
    hope, still less had I excited it, for I believe I can say,
    conscientiously, that I felt naturally disinclined to ask a favor
    of which I deemed myself unworthy. However, the feeling became so
    strong that I thought it my duty to consider it prayerfully next
    morning; and not to oppose so good an impulse, I determined to
    make a novena, and I commenced it on the 16th. From that moment my
    confidence was boundless, and like a child who reasons no longer,
    but sees only what he feels sure of obtaining, it sustained me
    amidst the new trials to which I was subjected; for on the 19th,
    and several days after, my sufferings were redoubled, affecting at
    once both stomach and chest. On the 22d I felt considerably better,
    on the 23d I believed myself strong enough to abandon a diet on
    which I had subsisted a long time, and on the 24th I wished to eat
    just what was served the Community; that very morning I commenced,
    like the hearty seminarians, to take a little dry bread and wine,
    and it agreed with me. Thus my desires were accomplished. I had
    implored the Blessed Virgin to give me health to live according
    to the rule, and she had done so; but a good Mother like Mary
    would not leave her work imperfect, and she chose the very day of
    her Conception to bestow upon me her crowning favors. I was still
    troubled with a slight indisposition of the stomach accompanying
    digestion after dinner, but it was not positive suffering, and even
    this remnant of my old infirmity disappeared entirely. On the eve
    of that Feast my devotion to Mary, which had lost a little of its
    first fervor, was, when I least expected it, excited anew, and I
    felt urged to implore the consummation of a good work so happily
    begun. I did so that evening, and next morning at prayers, at Mass,
    at my thanksgiving, and it was in finishing this last exercise
    before a statue of the Blessed Virgin, after a most fervent prayer,
    that I realized the recompense of my confidence--I felt assured
    that my petitions had been granted. Since then I have experienced
    no indisposition worthy of attention. I was able to fast the Ember
    week before Christmas and the eve of that great solemnity; I sang
    the ten o'clock High Mass the fourth Sunday in Advent; I followed
    all the offices of the choir on those days the Church consecrates
    to the celebration of our Divine Master's birth, and, instead of
    regretting these efforts, I find in each one of them a new motive
    for blessing the Lord and testifying my gratitude to our good

                                         J.B. FERMIN."

    "Though surpassing our hopes, we have witnessed the speedy and
    perfect recovery of M.J. Fermin, which appears to be something
    supernatural, since he employed no other remedies than great
    devotion to the Blessed Virgin and a novena in her honor.

                                       "AUBRY, RAIGECOURT GOURNAY."


    _Graces Obtained during the Year 1835, in France, Switzerland,
    Savoy and Turkey._


NOTE.--The account of this very striking cure was sent us by M.
Poinsel, Vicar General of Limoges, whom I took the liberty of asking
for it.

                                        "_Bishopric of Limoges._

    "Glory to God! honor to Mary!

    "The 10th of February, 1834, Mlle. Joubert, aged twenty-nine
    years, a person of solid piety, was suddenly cured of a painful
    and very serious infirmity. For more than a year, she had carried
    her left arm in a sling, by reason of an unaccountable disease
    which extended from the shoulder to the hand, and was of such a
    nature that the afflicted member seemed dead; when necessary to
    be handled, it had to be done with extreme precaution, and even
    then the pain was so excessive that often the patient fell sick
    in consequence. The disease was successively styled rheumatic
    gout, inflammatory and gangrenous rheumatism; science employed in
    combating it, baths, shower baths, poultices, liniments of all
    sort, vain remedies which only aggravated the evil and varied
    the suffering. Sometimes amputation was spoken of: 'Would to
    God, Mademoiselle, you had but one arm!' said the physician,
    not concealing his anxiety and fears of her death, as spring
    approached, for the diseased arm was pale, livid, and frightful to

    "The young lady, a true Christian, was resigned to all; by
    meditations upon the cross, she encouraged herself to suffer,
    and, perceiving the progress of the disease, she thought only of
    dying the precious death of the just. A friend, one day, proposed
    to her that she should wear the medal with confidence, and make a
    novena to Mary. She acted upon the suggestion; at the end of the
    novena, on the usual day of her confession (she was accustomed to
    confess weekly), she approached the sacred tribunal, and lo! at the
    very instant when recollected, contrite and humbled, she received
    the moral effect of the priest's benediction and holy words, an
    extraordinary physical change took place in the arm heretofore
    judged incurable, it suddenly became unloosed and free, all
    suffering vanished! 'I scarcely knew where I was,' said she, 'but
    it seemed to me as if a cord that had been tightly drawn around my
    arm was unwound, ring after ring, and I was cured! My surprise, my
    joy, were extreme and beyond all power of expression!'

    "On reaching home, she exclaimed: 'A miracle! light a taper, light
    two, come, come, see the miracle! I can move my arm, animation is
    restored to it, I am cured!' Oh! how great the joy of that family!
    They surrounded the favored one, they looked at, they touched the
    resuscitated member, they tested its powers in various ways, making
    her lift divers objects and execute a variety of movements; then,
    all the members of this truly Christian family, moved even to
    tears, fell on their knees, and recited that hymn of thanksgiving,
    the _Te Deum_.

    "Since then, (that is, for more than a year), her arm has been
    perfectly well. The physician himself was struck with this event,
    which it would be difficult to attribute to concealed resources,
    or the sudden agency of nature. What is nature without the
    intervention and action of God? He is sole Master of nature, life
    and death are at His will. It is not necessary, then, to reason so
    much on the subject; a little faith will easily make us recognize
    here a special grace of God, through the intercession of Mary, our
    kind, sweet Mother, to whom we must ever repair, invoking her with
    love and confidence.

    "Such is the simple and conscientious account of the event given
    me, the undersigned, by the person herself, in answer to my
    questions, in the presence of an intelligent, reliable individual
    who saw all, having several times dressed the arm, and who, by
    reason of her skill and long experience, was well calculated to
    judge of the danger.

    "In attestation of which, etc.

                                         "POINSEL, Vicar General.

    "_February 14, 1835._"

These details are confirmed by two letters of Madame and Mademoiselle
Joubert, by the testimony of the Superior of the Daughters of Charity
of Limoges, and that of M. Dumonteil, a lawyer and friend of the family.


Letter from Sister Boubat, Superioress of the Daughters of Charity in

                                               "_February 12, 1835._

    "I have not great miracles to recount to-day, but the facts I give
    are certainly very striking traits of protection. However, I shall
    tell them just as they are, and let you judge of them for yourself.
    Those of which I was not an eye-witness have been told me by very
    reliable parties who were.

    "1st. A woman who had been sick a long time, and given up by the
    doctors, received, one evening, the Miraculous Medal, and was
    restored to her usual health that night; feeling perfectly well,
    she said to her husband next morning that she would get up and
    prepare breakfast. He treated this as nonsense, and when she really
    did arise, his astonishment was great, and beyond all bounds when
    he found that her health was fully restored.

    "2d. In the same village, a young mother had two children, one six
    the other eight years old. The latter was attacked by a violent
    malady, described to me as a convulsion, and died in a few days.
    The younger had a similar attack, and seemed on the verge of death.
    The poor mother was in the depths of grief, when some one thought
    of offering her a medal. She received it as a treasure. It was
    evening; she put it on the dying child, who soon fell asleep, and
    slept soundly the whole night. In the morning he awoke perfectly
    cured! This good woman afterwards came to me to get medals for
    herself and some others. Oh! I wish you could have seen her as she
    wept for joy whilst expressing to me, with all simplicity, the
    transports of her soul! Never will I forget it, so deep was the
    impression it made upon me.

    "3d. A child five years old had been racked for several months by a
    fever, which resisted all efforts to check it. One day, he was in
    his grandmother's arms when the paroxysm began. This woman, full of
    faith, applied the medal; the child soon grew better, and the fever
    never troubled him again.

    "The attending physician was a relation; on seeing him after this,
    the child ran towards him, exclaiming with all the animation and
    artlessness of his age: 'I am cured, but it was not you who cured
    me, it was the medal.' He repeats these words nearly every time he
    sees the doctor.

    "4th. A young man, on his death-bed, filled all his friends with
    serious apprehensions for his salvation. After several vain efforts
    of the most charitable zeal, the curé induced him to accept a
    medal, and very soon the dying man expressed a wish to confess. He
    expired in the most edifying dispositions.

    "5th. Three sinners obstinately refused to assist at the exercises
    of a mission given in their parish, and even sought to oppose it.
    One of the missionaries persuaded them to accept a medal, and as
    soon as they had received it, a great change was visible. They
    not only made the mission, most devoutly, but became its zealous

    "I get these details from a very venerable curé, who gave them to
    me himself.

    "6th. There came to me recently a woman from the neighboring
    mountainous district, who said without any previous explanation:
    'You cured one of my daughters whom all the physicians had given
    up; I now wish you to give me the same thing.' I tried at once to
    recollect what medicines I had prescribed, and asked question after
    question concerning the nature of the malady, so as to know what
    remedy I had dispensed. After puzzling my brain to discover, she
    told me it was a piece, thus suddenly reminding me that I had given
    a medal to a young woman from that place, who came to consult me
    about her failing health. To verify the fact, I sent word for the
    young woman to come to see me.

    "I pass over in silence a multitude of other events which, without
    being termed miracles, are none the less real graces; and in my
    eyes one most precious and great grace for us is, that the Blessed
    Virgin deigns to make use of our poor little house to propagate
    devotion to her. Oh! if you could see these good mountaineers
    of every age and sex come with the greatest confidence and most
    touching simplicity, asking for _na médaillot_--a medal. It has
    affected me deeply, and I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude
    to our tender and Immaculate Mother.

    "Even Protestants have asked us for these medals, and I am
    assured it was with perfect sincerity. The pastors in Savoy are
    also very zealous in propagating this devotion to Mary. Since
    reading the notice, they have mentioned it from the pulpit to
    their parishioners, many of whom have, in consequence, procured
    the medal. Likewise, do we see young men about to enter the army
    fortify themselves with it, and persons undertaking a voyage
    wearing it as their safeguard; indeed, every one has recourse to it
    as the universal remedy for soul and body."


It is the Mother General of the Community who has given us these
details. Her letter is dated February 7th, 1835.

    "I am overwhelmed with joy; our poor patient is perfectly cured
    by virtue of the Miraculous Medal. I could say our patients,
    for our prayers were offered both for the paralytic and that
    young person whom I told you had been sick eleven months;
    she was able to remain out of bed only a few hours each day;
    whenever she could go to Mass, and that was rarely, she had to
    be assisted, and the support of an arm was necessary when she
    approached the Holy Table. Since Thursday she walks alone and
    eats without experiencing the slightest symptom of her former
    infirmity, except a little weakness. I hope the Lord will
    finish His work and restore her to perfect health; but let us
    speak of our dear Sister.

    "The following is a copy of the account I wrote of this marvel
    to our holy Bishop day before yesterday, after Mass:

    "'I acquaint Your Grace with an incident of God's great mercy,
    displayed to our Community in the sudden cure of one of our
    choir religious, named Hyacinthe, aged forty-seven years.
    This good Mother, the 14th of last January, had a stroke of
    paralysis. It did not affect her head, but immediately fixed
    itself in the left side, which became motionless and devoid
    of feeling. We hastened to summon the physician, who bled
    her freely in the arm; next day we tried leeches, medicines,
    a blister on the neck, and three days after one upon the
    paralyzed limb, but all of no avail. The poor patient, as well
    as ourselves, must submit to the decrees of Him who strikes
    and heals at will. At the end of fifteen days I was inspired
    with the thought of making a novena in honor of the Immaculate
    Conception, the medal of which, called the miraculous, we all
    wear. On the fourth day of the novena, as we were about to
    recite the prayers around her bed, the good Mother desired Holy
    Communion. She was taken to the choir by three persons; after
    receiving, the limb felt a little better, and she could return
    with the aid of two persons only. Her confidence in the Mother
    of God increased daily; yesterday she asked permission to come
    down on the last day of the novena, and this morning, with the
    assistance of a cane and some one to support her, she came down
    and had the happiness of receiving Holy Communion. Immediately
    after, we finished the novena prayers, just at the end of which
    she was seized with a pain in the paralyzed arm, followed by an
    icy chill and then a sensation of extreme heat. She came to me
    with both arms lifted, exclaiming, "I am cured!" And perfectly
    cured she was, being able to walk and use her limbs as freely
    as if she had never felt a symptom of paralysis.

    "'To give you an idea of our joy and gratitude, Monseigneur,
    would be impossible. The patient fainted, and I came very near
    doing the same; it was with difficulty I could continue our
    prayers of thanksgiving, so marvelous did it seem that the Lord
    should have granted this favor to our Community, under the
    government of one of His most unworthy servants.'

    "I send you this copy, which we had kept, of the letter.

    "In the same letter I asked Monseigneur's permission to have
    a _Te Deum_ chanted at the end of Benediction. His Grace
    hastened to send word that he not only permitted but ordered
    it, which order was joyfully complied with. The Vicar General,
    our Superior, wrote, asking me to defer our Vespers half an
    hour, as he wished to assist at the _Te Deum_. Several other
    ecclesiastics also came, and saw our healed ones blessing God.
    Since that day our good Mother Hyacinthe follows the rules,
    complies with all her duties, and has never felt the least
    return of her malady.

    "This miracle created great excitement in our city; the
    laborers who were working at the house having learned it on
    the spot, immediately spread the news; the evening previous,
    they had seen our poor Sister dragging her limb, a cane in
    hand, and almost carried by two persons, and next morning they
    beheld her perfectly cured! These men, who have seldom much
    religion, sang the praises of God's power, and asked me to
    give them medals. I gave a medal to each with great pleasure.
    Clergymen have come to learn the particulars of this event, and
    I let the miraculously cured herself recount the wonders of the

    "I must not omit informing you that the physician having vainly
    exhausted all remedies, had been nine days without seeing the
    patient; and the very eve of her recovery he told one of our
    boarders that the disease having settled itself he believed
    our afflicted one might be able to walk, but she could never
    use her arm again. On coming next day to visit his other
    patients, he was surprised beyond expression when she appeared
    before him perfectly cured. Wishing to get his candid opinion
    on the subject, I remarked that probably it was not real
    paralysis, but only a numbness. 'It was a strongly marked case
    of paralysis,' he answered, 'and there is certainly something
    supernatural in her recovery.'

    "In thanksgiving we continue the novena prayers, but preface
    them with the _Laudate_.

    "Make such use of this letter as you may deem advisable. If
    you insert it in the notice, you are at liberty to name our
    city and house. Oh! how we long to spread abroad the knowledge
    and love of God's power, signally displayed in answer to our
    invocation of the Immaculate Mother of His Divine Son.

                                   "SISTER ST. MARIE,
                              "_Superioress of Calvary of Orleans_."


NOTE.--"The venerable lady upon whom this cure was wrought
belongs to a highly honorable family of Dijon, and her personal
character is very well calculated to inspire the utmost confidence,"
says _L'Ami de la Religion_, in its issue of April 17th, 1835.
Moreover, the letter she wrote, March 12th, to one of her friends, and
which she was anxious should be transmitted to us, is accompanied by
the certificates of the pastors of St. Michael of Dijon, of Dampierre
and Beaumont-sur-Vingeanne, also of five members of the municipal
council, and several other very reliable persons, some of them members
of her family; more than this, it is followed by a detailed account
given by the medical attendant, who had charge of her case for sixteen

    "_Dijon, March 12, 1835._

    "_Madame and Dear Friend_:

    "You ask me the details of the miraculous manner in which it
    has pleased God to restore me to health. Well! it might be
    summed up in these few words: I implored Mary to obtain my
    recovery, and she did obtain it instantly; having said this,
    you know all, but you desire me to recall the circumstances of
    my sickness and my experience subsequent to the cure. I give
    them as follows:

    "You doubtless remember that, for more than twenty years, I
    could not walk, in consequence of an abscess on the intestines,
    which left me in such a state of sensibility that ever after a
    walk of more than a hundred steps I was exposing myself to the
    most serious accidents. Neither are you ignorant of the fact
    that, nearly fifteen months ago, by reason of influenza, a
    second abscess formed, and so increased the irritability that I
    hovered between life and death, and even when at my best I was
    scarcely able to drag myself from one room to another. But you
    have probably never heard that, since the 1st of last December,
    my condition was so critical that, with great difficulty, could
    I remain out of bed three or four hours at a time, which made
    me, as well as those around me, think my end was near and I
    would not survive the spring.

    "This was my condition, dear friend, when some one mentioned
    to me the medal of the Immaculate Virgin, and urged me to get
    it. I was a long time deciding to do so, for I considered it
    presumptuous to solicit the cure of an infirmity the physicians
    had pronounced incurable. At last, having thought, on the one
    side, that the more desperate the malady, the greater God's
    glory should He deign to cure it; and, on the other, that He
    had wrought the most wonderful miracles for those who were
    least worthy, I decided to mention it to my confessor. I did
    so, and he encouraged me to make the novena.

    "The 2d of February, Feast of the Purification, the first
    day of the novena and one ever memorable for me, I was taken
    to church in a carriage; my daughter, sole confidante of my
    intentions, assisted me to the Blessed Virgin's altar, where,
    after hearing Mass as well as my infirmity would permit, I
    received Holy Communion. Scarcely had I knelt to make an act
    of adoration, when I was obliged to take my seat. A Sister of
    Charity, whom I did not know was there, for I had not hoped to
    receive the medal just yet, put it on my neck. Immediately,
    I got on my knees to beg the Mother of the afflicted to
    intercede with her divine Son for the restoration of my health,
    should He foresee that it would be conducive to God's glory and
    her honor, to my salvation and the happiness of my husband and
    children. Scarcely had I pronounced a few words, petitioning
    our Lord to graciously hear His holy Mother's prayer, ere Mary
    had interceded and God in His great mercy had hearkened; I was
    cured, Madame, entirely cured.... I finished all the prayers
    of thanksgiving after Communion and those of the novena on my
    knees, and, without experiencing the slightest inconvenience,
    my malady had disappeared and I have never felt the slightest
    symptom of it since. I walked, unassisted, to the church door,
    sent away the carriage and returned home on foot.

    "I have given you a detail of the facts, but to express the
    feelings that filled my heart on re-entering my house would be
    impossible; my joy, my astonishment, were boundless; I could
    hardly realize it myself. Cured in an instant! The thought was
    overpowering! It seemed as if I must be in a dream, but my
    husband's astonishment, my mother's, and that of the servants,
    who, seeing the great change wrought in me, although they were
    ignorant of the means, could not forbear exclaiming: 'But a
    miracle must have been worked upon you!' convinced me that I
    was not asleep.

    "Since that time I walk as well as any one; scarcely was my
    novena finished ere I could go from one end of the city to the
    other. It has not been six weeks since my cure, and I have
    already walked more than three miles at a time, and could have
    accomplished twice as much. You see, Madame and dear friend,
    that the miracle is a most striking one.

    "I now beg of you, as well as all other pious souls, to unite
    heartily with me in thanking God and His august Mother.

                             "Your ever devoted
                                     "ÉLIS. M. DARBEAUMONT LEBON."

The physician's certificate ends thus: "Whatever may have been the
cause of a cure, heretofore regarded as impossible by all the doctors
who attended Mme. Lebon, it should be considered none the less certain
and positive, for the evidence of the fact is indubitable.

"Wherefore, I sign the present attestation, which I declare sincere and

                                             "FOURNIER, Doctor.
"_Dampierre, March 19, 1835._"


Extract of a letter from M. Le Leu, Lazarist missionary:

    "_Constantinople, March 16, 1835._

    "It has been a long time since I proposed writing you something
    about the medal. In my eyes, one of the greatest miracles it
    has ever worked is the rapidity of its propagation and the
    confidence it inspires. By our demands upon you for medals, you
    may judge of their effect in this country. We could dispose
    of thousands and yet not satisfy the innumerable calls we
    have for them. At Smyrna, it is the same. We had occasion to
    send a few into the interior of Asia, and the Blessed Virgin
    showed herself no less powerful or beneficent there than in
    Europe. At Angora, an old man was deprived of the use of all
    his limbs, and had neither walked nor worked for years; he
    lived in frightful poverty, and sighed for death, for he was
    especially grieved at being so long a burden upon a family in
    indigent circumstances. (In this country there are numbers of
    Armenian families very devoted to the Blessed Virgin, and this
    was one of them.) He had no sooner heard of the Miraculous
    Medal, than he solicited the happiness of obtaining and wearing
    it. In these countries the Faith has retained its primitive
    simplicity; this recipient of a medal does not content himself
    with praying before it, or hanging it around his neck, but he
    kisses it with profound respect and applies it to the affected
    part; the Blessed Virgin cannot resist such confidence, and the
    good old man instantly recovers the use of his limbs--he now
    works and supports himself.

    "Here is another incident: A young woman belonging to a
    respectable and very pious family had, for a long time, been
    a prey to a disease, the nature of which neither the French,
    Greek nor Turkish physicians could understand. Its symptoms
    were most violent pains in the side, which prevented her
    walking, eating or sleeping, and which sometimes disappeared,
    only to return with renewed violence. Having heard of our
    medal, this lady felt interiorly urged to employ it for her
    recovery, but believing herself unworthy of obtaining a direct
    miracle, she besought the Blessed Virgin to enlighten the
    physician and make known to him the proper remedy. Thereupon,
    she went to the country. At the end of several days, she was
    astonished to see her physician, who exclaimed as soon as he
    saw her: 'Madame, good news! I have found the remedy for your
    disease. I am sure of it; in a few days you will be perfectly
    well. I do not know why it is, but your case has constantly
    occupied my mind since your departure, and by a careful study
    of it I have at last discovered the cause of the disease and
    the manner of treating it.' The lady recognized at once that
    this knowledge came from above, and she had not implored Mary
    in vain. To-day she is in excellent health. It was from the
    mouth of her mother I received these details. 'O Monsieur,'
    exclaimed this good mother, 'how happy I am at my poor
    daughter's recovery! It is the Blessed Virgin who has restored
    her to me. If you could only get me a few more of these medals;
    I am overwhelmed with requests for them.' The physician himself
    published the details I have just given. So persuaded is he of
    the efficacy of the medal that he calls it his final remedy,
    and advises his patients to wear it whenever he is at a loss
    concerning their malady. And the Blessed Virgin has rewarded
    his faith; for one of his own daughters, a most pious person,
    but in miserable health, has just experienced its beneficial

    "I could mention numberless other incidents, as many
    conversions as cures, but one more will suffice for to-day.
    Not long ago the mother of a family had every symptom of an
    attack of apoplexy; she had already lost consciousness, when
    her son, a very pious young man, who wore one of these medals,
    took it off his neck and put it around hers. He then ran for a
    doctor and a priest. On reaching the house they were all three
    astonished to find that she had quite recovered. That evening
    the son asked his mother for the medal, and she returned it,
    but a moment after was stricken with another attack. The
    protection of the Blessed Virgin seemed to have been withdrawn
    with this sign of her power. He immediately put the medal on
    her neck again, this time to remain, and she has been well ever

    "Oh! do not delay, I beg you, in sending us the medals we have
    asked of you."


NOTE.--These details are sent us and attested by M. Bellos,
clerk of registration at Auch, and by other very reliable persons.

    "In the early part of March, 1835, an old man in the parish of
    Castera-les-Bains (Gers), fell dangerously ill. The venerable
    parish priest, M. Barère, hastened to visit him, hoping he
    might persuade the poor creature to cast himself into those
    arms that were extended on the cross for all sinners. Our
    patient, who had not been to confession for long years,
    received him like an infidel as he was, refused all religious
    assistance, and ended by saying: 'M. curé, I would rather
    lose my speech than comply with your wishes!' The charitable
    pastor retiring, though very reluctantly, now thought of the
    Miraculous Medal he wore, and, taking it off, gave it to one
    of the household with instructions to put it in the patient's
    bed; advising, however, in case the ruse were discovered, no
    allusion to the subject, so as to spare the unhappy one all
    occasion of invective against religion. But, oh! marvelous
    to relate! a little while after, the dying man awakens as if
    from a profound slumber, and earnestly begs that the curé
    be sent for to hear his confession. At this news, the good
    pastor flies to his lost sheep, who receives him with every
    expression of joy, begs his pardon, and asks to receive the
    Sacrament of Penance. It would be superfluous for us to dwell
    at length upon the sentiments and language of the charitable
    minister of religion. He was so touched by his penitent's
    dispositions, that he did not hesitate to take him the Holy
    Viaticum next morning. Many of the faithful accompanied the
    Blessed Sacrament to the sick man's chamber; confessing again,
    he abjured his errors before all the assistants, and earnestly
    entreated them to pardon the scandal his past conduct had
    given them. Every one was affected to tears, and it was in
    the midst of this universal emotion that he received the good
    God, with the deepest sentiments of humility and compunction,
    and recommending himself to the prayers of all present. In the
    course of the following night, fearing he might be carried
    off by a spell of weakness, he requested Extreme Unction, and
    received it with the same evidences of faith and piety. This
    conversion was followed by his perfect recovery, and the good
    old man now blesses Divine Providence, which, through Mary's
    protection, rescued him from the borders of a frightful abyss
    into which his infidelity would have plunged him forever.

    "The undersigned, who got these details from the mouth of
    the curé of Castera, vouches for their authenticity. He has
    neither added to nor taken from them in the slightest, knowing
    full well that the Blessed Virgin has no need of falsehoods
    to prove her power and goodness. It is, then, on his word of
    conscience he gives this fact, which none of the inhabitants of
    Castera and the neighboring country would deny, even were he


    "_Hangest_ (_Somme_).

    "I have mentioned to you the cure wrought by the Miraculous
    Medal upon a person aged fifty years; the fact is
    incontestable. Rosalie Morvilliers, the recipient of this
    favor, had never been free from suffering since her seventh
    year; an affection of the nerves caused almost constant
    palpitations of the heart and severe headaches, which, however,
    did not hinder her performing some slight work without
    aggravating the malady. But about five years ago, she was
    afflicted by an unmistakable attack of epilepsy, which threw
    her family into the greatest consternation. Henceforth, she was
    obliged to keep her bed, and saw no one but her most intimate
    friends; the very sight of a face that was not familiar was
    sufficient to throw her into dreadful convulsions for several
    hours. Independent of any external cause, these paroxysms
    usually came on three times a day, and so violent were they,
    that it was with great difficulty she could be kept in her
    room; she uttered most frightful cries, her features were
    horribly distorted, her mouth covered with foam, and, indeed,
    according to the testimony of those who usually witnessed the
    attacks, it was some time before she regained consciousness.

    "Such was her condition when some one gave her a Miraculous
    Medal. She received it with the greatest confidence, and
    immediately applied it to that part of her head where the
    pain was most acute; the pain disappeared immediately. From
    that moment she felt urged to make a novena in honor of the
    Immaculate Conception for the cure of her epilepsy. But
    diffidence in mentioning the matter to her director made her
    defer the execution of this pious design six weeks. At length,
    she yielded to her desires, saying she felt fully persuaded
    that this novena would ensure her recovery through the Blessed
    Virgin's intercession, and her confidence was not misplaced.
    The curé immediately began the novena, engaging in it the
    sodality of the Holy Family. Whilst at Mass on the morning of
    the last day, the 17th of Mary's month, the patient was seized
    with the most violent attack possible, the worst she had ever
    had, although during the novena, the paroxysms had increased
    in intensity. Suddenly it ceases. A number of persons begin to
    pray and recite the chaplet; the patient, regarding them with
    a smile, gently falls asleep. A few minutes after, she opens
    her eyes and exclaims: 'I am cured! I am cured! The Blessed
    Virgin has just cured me of epilepsy! Oh! how good she is, how
    powerful! It seems to me as if there had just been a general
    revolution throughout my body. I feel confident, my friends,
    that this disease has been banished from my system forever.'

    "It was very easy for the assistants to believe that some
    extraordinary change had really been wrought in her, for her
    countenance presented not the slightest vestige of the attack.
    She now desired to communicate, and oh! with what transports of
    faith, gratitude and love she received the good God!

    "The noise of this cure soon reached the neighboring villages.
    How beautiful yet, Monsieur, is the simplicity of the faith in
    these rural districts! Henceforth, every one wished to wear the

    "This event took place on the 17th of May, at nine o'clock
    in the morning. Since that time the patient has not felt the
    slightest symptom of epilepsy. She leaves her room, walks about
    the garden, and receives visitors indiscriminately, without
    experiencing any ill effects. However, the Blessed Virgin
    did not cure all her infirmities; she still has the nervous
    affection that existed before the epileptic attacks, but I
    should observe that as the novena was made solely for the cure
    of epilepsy, the Blessed Virgin has obtained all that was asked
    of her.

    "This, Monsieur, is the exact statement. Some, no doubt, would
    attribute the cure to natural causes; as for ourselves, we,
    like the patient, feel convinced that it was owing to Mary's
    powerful intercession. The curé agrees with us, and so do all
    who glory in the truths of religion. Honored, then, be the
    power and goodness of Mary conceived without sin!"


The following letter was sent by a gentleman of unquestionable veracity
to the _Journal du Bourbonnais_, and published in its issue of June 6,


    "We are all Mary's children; at the foot of her Divine Son's
    cross did her maternal heart adopt us as her own. All ages
    have felt the salutary effects of her powerful protection; our
    fathers have admired them, we ourselves admire them, and our
    days are filled with marvels. Even recently has she appeared,
    shedding torrents of grace upon a privileged kingdom, and this
    kingdom is France. The vision is verified, for the age which
    saw it has also witnessed the multiplication of countless
    miraculous cures and conversions.

    "And shall Bourbonnais, our dear country, be excepted in the
    distribution of Mary's favors? Oh! no; it also shall have a
    share in this harvest of glory. The truly astonishing rapidity
    with which the thousand Miraculous Medals brought to our city
    have been disposed of is to me a sufficient guaranty of our
    hopes, and it would keep one's pen in daily use to note the
    wonderful traits of Mary's protection.

    "1st. Sister Chapin, of St. Joseph's Hospital, was for more
    than two years racked by pains and a fever that defied all
    medical skill.

    "This angel of earth lamented her inability to fulfil the
    duties of her noble vocation; far from abating, her charity,
    zeal and resignation seemed to increase with her gradually
    declining health, which now excited our serious fears. Having
    vainly exhausted all the resources of medicine, she turned her
    back upon art and nature that she might address herself to
    faith alone. Full of confidence in the Miraculous Medal, she
    began a novena to Mary for the recovery of her health. Before
    the novena was ended, both pains and fever had disappeared, and
    henceforth, she began a new existence, her strength returned,
    and she is happy to prove herself by deeds (fulfilling with
    ease the most painful duties) what her virtues have ever
    proclaimed her, a true daughter of St. Vincent de Paul.

    "2nd. Yesterday, again, was witnessed in our Bourbonnais,
    another wonderful trait of Mary's protection. Here are the
    facts: On Monday, June 1st, at eight o'clock in the evening,
    in the parish of Montilly, near the borders of Allier and the
    castle of Beau-Regard, a woman was stricken with a violent
    rush of blood to the head; the lamentations and piercing cries
    of the family attracted their neighbors. Two alarming crises
    succeeded; they were followed by a third, which was thought to
    be mortal. The patient, after violently struggling against the
    combined efforts of four men to restrain her, fell motionless
    and apparently lifeless; her limbs were stiff and chill, her
    face a livid blue, her features distorted, her eyes fixed, her
    respiration insensible, death seemed imminent. This frightful
    attack had lasted about half an hour, when some one present
    thought of the Miraculous Medal; she approaches the dying woman
    and lays the medal upon her lips. At that instant the latter
    arouses from her slumber, she breathes, she clasps her hands
    as if thanking the person who had restored her to life she
    recognizes all around her, speaks to them and thanks them for
    their kind attentions.

    "The next morning, Tuesday, it was not at the gates of death
    she was to be found, but in the streets of Moulins, where I saw
    her myself and spoke to her.

    "Pardon me, O divine Mary, if among a thousand striking
    traits of your power and goodness, I dwell upon some which
    are comparatively slight, it is only because of their recent
    occurrence in our very midst. Happy shall I esteem myself to
    awaken among my brethren a passing tribute to Faith, that
    living, salutary Faith, whose efficacy I have experienced, and
    whose truths I long to see planted and nourished in all hearts!

    "Deign to accord, etc."

We have learned that Sister Chapin's recovery is permanent.


NOTE.--It is M. Barillot, Vicar General, who sends us this

                              "_Bishopric of Langres, June 20, 1835._


    "M. Regnault, curé of Ormoy, canton of Chateau-Villain, in our
    diocese, an excellent pastor and judicious priest, writes me
    the subjoined letter of the 19th inst.:

    "'A very extraordinary thing has just taken place in my
    parish. A young woman aged twenty went blind in consequence
    of a fall; her hip was displaced, and she lost all use of
    her limbs, except the arms. For three months she was at a
    hospital of Bar-sur-Aube, under treatment for these severe
    afflictions, but in vain. At last, judging her case hopeless,
    the physicians sent her back to her parents at Ormoy. Here,
    as at Bar-sur-Aube, she endured for three months incredible
    sufferings, not even being able to turn herself in bed or
    change her position in the slightest. Her recovery was now
    despaired of by all, and lately the minister received a
    petition (with the accompanying certificates of the two
    physicians who had attended her at Bar-sur-Aube) asking her
    admission into the hospital of Quinze-Vingts. Meanwhile,
    this young woman, who had always appeared to me very pious
    and submissive to God's will, having received a Miraculous
    Medal, immediately begins a novena. Seven days elapse, and
    her sufferings, far from diminishing, are intensified; on the
    eighth she is bathed in a profuse perspiration, after which she
    suddenly rises, dresses herself, and walks through the streets
    to church, to the great astonishment of all the people, who,
    seeing her, cannot restrain their tears.

    "'I questioned her closely, but did not express my opinion
    on the subject. I went to Bar-sur-Aube to get additional
    information; the physician declares it astonishing, especially
    when we consider her former hopeless condition. The hospital
    Sisters, the curés of Bar-sur-Aube, the patients, all say it is
    truly a miracle. The people of Ormoy and even of the vicinity,
    who come to see her, wonder that I do not mention it from the
    pulpit. I beg of you to let me know how to act in the affair,
    and also that you will speak to the Bishop about it.'

    "The Bishop has since sent word through me to the curé
    of Ormoy, to publish this miraculous occurrence to his
    parishioners; he has also charged me with forwarding you a copy
    of the good curé's letter, leaving to your discretion the use
    you may make of it.

                         "I am, etc.,

                              "BARILLOT, Canon, Vicar General."

Before printing this, we wished to ascertain if the cure were
permanent, and the Vicar General sent us the following response from
the curé of Ormoy:

    "The cure is permanent; for several months past the young
    woman has been with the Ursulines of La Chapelle, who consider
    her physically able to share in the labors of the house; her
    condition having been attested by three doctors. Her sudden
    recovery, as above mentioned, leads us to believe that it was
    surely supernatural. I was far from meriting this favor which
    has been granted my poor parish. I hope the Blessed Virgin will
    finish her work.

    "_November 3, 1835._"


                    "_The Borders of Lake Geneva, June 18, 1835._


    "The country purged of Calvin's heresy by the labors of
    Geneva's holy bishop, is not a stranger to the blessings
    figured by the medal's mysterious rays. This wonderful
    instrument of Mary's liberality has been propagated with
    astonishing rapidity, though only a few months since we heard
    of it in our midst. I consider it a pious obligation to offer
    you a few small stones towards the construction of that temple
    of glory now in process of erection, to the honor of her,
    who has lately proved herself more powerful and merciful on
    earth than ever before. I am a young villager living amidst my
    family; I do not announce miracles to you, but merely recount
    facts just as I have seen or heard them. I could have subjoined
    a list of signatures, but I did not judge it necessary, the
    docile, religious heart deeming them superfluous, and the
    skeptic, fraudulent, like the facts. On a perusal of the first
    few phrases in each incident, persons living in the vicinity
    will recognize the individuals concerned, and thereby be more
    deeply impressed.

    "1st. In the month of July, 1824, Mlle. C., aged twenty-nine
    years, bade, as she thought, a last adieu to her family; she
    and some other generous companions were going to one of the
    large cities in southern Italy to consecrate themselves there
    to the service of the sick and poor. After a few months'
    novitiate in a religious house devoted to works of this nature,
    she was attacked by one of those debilitating, wasting maladies
    that physicians are at a loss to define. Attributing it to the
    climate, the Superiors, after twenty-two months' ineffectual
    treatment at the novitiate, sent her to breathe her natal
    air. But change of air proved vain also, and the doctors at
    last ceased their visits, judging the re-establishment of
    her health an impossibility. About six years ago, she had
    improved sufficiently to walk a few steps beyond her chamber,
    and even remain in the open air some minutes, but amelioration
    was illusory, and since 1830 she had not been able to leave
    her couch of suffering except for a few instants. Many times
    during these last five years was she apparently on the verge
    of death, and that for several consecutive days, always,
    however, retaining her hearing and intellectual faculties,
    since she could respond by signs to the priest who visited
    her. It was he who gave me these particulars. Her condition
    had become such that it was judged advisable to administer the
    Last Sacraments. This house was now a school of edification,
    where Christians might study the price of sufferings and the
    heroism of patience. Finally, about the end of last April,
    this poor creature, so tortured for the past eleven years,
    conceived a hope of relief through the Miraculous Medal,
    but, mistrusting the somewhat extraordinary impressions the
    thought made upon her imagination, it was only from obedience
    she could be induced to commence a novena. The sole exercises
    consisted of repeating, three times a day, the invocation: 'O
    Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to
    thee!' On Wednesday, April 24th, the second or third day of
    the novena, she felt an irresistible desire to arise. It was
    yet very early in the morning; a little child assisted her
    to dress. Finding that her limbs support her, she begins to
    think it must be something miraculous, and, filled with joy,
    she wishes to announce the news to her mother, who is in an
    adjoining room. Arrived at the door, she is seized with fright,
    and precipitately turns back; but, being reassured of her newly
    restored strength by the facility with which she reaches her
    own chamber, she overcomes herself, and, retracing her steps,
    seeks the embraces of her mother, her sister and brother.
    Her unexpected appearance fills them with great emotion, and
    abundant tears attest the depths of their joy and gratitude. A
    clergyman, who often visited this lady, soon heard rumors of
    her recovery, but gave no credit to them. Meeting her mother
    on the street not long after, she burst into tears at sight
    of him, and was unable to express the cause of her emotion.
    Suspecting it, he went immediately to the house, and saw for
    himself what a miracle had been wrought. With Mlle. C., he
    unites in blessing her powerful protectress, the Immaculate

    "Since that time, April 24, to the present date, June 18th,
    Mlle. C. rises about seven o'clock, hears Mass on her knees,
    employs herself in various duties during the day, makes visits
    and walks of half an hour's or even an hour's duration, and
    continues well, even her complexion begins to assume a healthy
    tinge. Her legs are still a little swollen, and she cannot yet
    take much nourishment.

    "The sudden appearance of this person, whom every one had
    known to be seriously afflicted for eleven years, created an
    extraordinary sensation. All eyes were fixed upon her, and many
    persons even followed her. This took place in the capital of
    the province.

    "2d. In the month of August, 1833, my sister, at the sight of
    a child who barely missed falling through an open trap door,
    was suddenly attacked by frightful nervous convulsions, which
    henceforth returned daily, and even as often as fifteen times
    a day. It was only at the end of two months that remedies, and
    a four weeks' strict hospital treatment, succeeded in checking
    them. Last year, they manifested themselves again in the month
    of February, but disappeared, leaving her a prey to great
    weakness, and a fever that kept her in bed four weeks.

    "In the February of this year, the nervous convulsions
    returned, and with a frequency and force that were truly
    alarming. The patient wasted visibly, the paroxysms were
    renewed seven and ten times a day, and were of a most frightful
    character; the circulation of her blood seemed checked, her
    feet and hands were deathly chilled, she jerked her head with
    violence and precipitation, an agitated cry escaped her breast;
    the attack lasted from three to six minutes, and left her
    completely exhausted. The witnesses of this painful spectacle
    were affected to tears. She was taken to a skillful physician,
    who after seeing her in one of these convulsions, pronounced
    the case hopeless, saying, 'it baffled him, he could not
    understand it.' However, he prescribed remedies. Meanwhile, the
    first medals arrived in our midst. On Shrove Tuesday, my sister
    had five attacks, which she assured me were the worst she had
    ever had. Next day, wearing the medal, she began a novena, and
    the two convulsions she had that day were the last; never since
    has she felt the slightest symptom (and that without employing
    the prescribed remedies), neither has she had a sign of the
    fever, which last year replaced the less violent convulsions.
    This cure was wrought in an insensible, but very efficacious
    manner, the first day of a novena made through the medal. My
    sister immediately resumed the manifold duties of a laborious
    household. She attributes, and we also, her recovery to Mary
    alone. Thousands of times be love and glory to this good Mother!

    "3d. In the Chablais district, on the frontiers of the canton
    of Geneva, lived a poor widow, the mother of quite a large
    family. This good woman, about sixty years old, had a natural
    predisposition to paralysis. At the age of forty-eight, an
    attack of this disease deprived her of the use of her left
    arm. At intervals since then, she has had spells of illness
    so serious and so protracted, that at least a hundred times
    she seemed on the verge of the tomb. She never consulted a
    physician, but animated with a lively, persevering faith, she
    employed only supernatural means. 'God and the Saints are the
    only good doctors,' she would say, and 'God and the Saints'
    rewarded her confidence. She has recovered from these hopeless
    maladies in an extraordinary manner. On the first of last
    March, her left foot lost the power of supporting her body
    in walking, doubtless owing to her natural predisposition to
    paralysis. Persons informed on the subject have given the
    following description of the convulsive movements of this poor
    woman's foot: suspended, it preserved its natural position, but
    on putting it to the ground, it immediately lost its balance;
    her body was bent, her knee turned out, the sole of her foot
    exposed, and the left side of her foot was the foundation of
    support for the left limb in walking. She went thus to church,
    distant about four minutes' walk; but even in that short space
    of time, the convulsive movements of the foot were sometimes
    such that she was not able to keep her balance, but fell to
    the ground. Every one pitied her, she was always calm and
    perfectly resigned. Her children had made for her an iron
    brace which reached to the knee, but after a trial, she was
    obliged to discard it, the remedy causing more suffering than
    the disease. During the Lenten season, some charitable persons
    advised her to seek Mary's assistance through the Miraculous
    Medal. The good widow did so, and wore her medal with the
    utmost confidence. On Holy Saturday, she perceived that her
    foot had become steady; the next day, Easter, without any
    remedies having been used, it resumed its natural position, and
    since that time, though a little weaker than the right, not
    once has it given way or turned. She attributes her recovery to
    the Blessed Virgin, whom she invoked by wearing the medal, so
    justly styled miraculous.

    "I could cite many other less striking cases; one time it is a
    hardy peasant who attributes to Mary's intercession relief from
    violent pains; another time, a little child, who in a few days,
    is completely cured of a large tumor under its arm, accompanied
    by fever; a mother who tells me how her daughter's ill health
    is sensibly improved by the application of the medal; or a
    Protestant girl, who, after wearing it, abjures heresy, etc.
    Nearly all the children of our village wear the Miraculous
    Medal around their neck, they recite the invocation, they kiss
    the precious image and give it to their little sisters and
    brothers in the cradle to kiss.


_Graces obtained from 1836 to 1838 in France, Italy, Holland, etc._


This account was sent me by the curé of Boulogne, February 8, 1836.

    "In my parish, a young man named Gaetan U---, aged twenty-seven
    years, was leading a life of criminal intimacy with a woman.
    Several years after abandoning his mother and brother, that he
    might be under no restraint in his shameless course, he was
    prostrated by a serious pulmonary attack. M. Jean Pulioli, an
    excellent physician, undertook the case; but the violence or
    the disease overcame his skill, and the patient (still in the
    house of the bad character with whom he lived,) was reduced to
    such a deplorable state of exhaustion, that he could not move
    himself. From the beginning of his sickness he had insisted
    that he would not be worried by a priest. But the disease
    making very rapid progress, the doctor believed it his duty to
    warn a priest of his condition. My chaplain went immediately
    to see him, and earnestly entreated him to put an end to this
    scandalous state of affairs by marrying the woman, but all in
    vain. I then paid him a visit, and besides remarking in him
    neither any intention of marrying her nor of separating from
    her, I perceived from the excuses he gave, that his soul was
    enshrouded in impenetrable indifference. Having uselessly
    exhausted all efforts to effect a change, I concluded it would
    be better to leave him awhile to quiet and serious reflection,
    and return later to know his decision. I urged him to seek
    the mediation of that refuge of sinners, the Blessed Virgin,
    and slipping the Miraculous Medal under his pillow, I left.
    There was no necessity for my returning to learn his decision,
    he sent his mother for me, with whom he had become reconciled
    in the meantime; after informing me of the very just reasons
    he had for not marrying the woman, he asked me if I would
    not request her to leave, a commission I willingly accepted.
    She consented, and immediately abandoned the house. The sick
    man's peace and joy at this were indescribable; when I showed
    him the medal, he kissed it most fervently and impulsively,
    notwithstanding his state of exhaustion. Then, with every mark
    of sincere repentance, he confessed, received the Holy Viaticum
    and Extreme Unction, for we expected each moment he would
    breathe his last. This occurred January 19, 1836. Interiorly,
    he enjoyed unspeakable peace, a favor he always attributed to
    the Blessed Virgin. From this time he began to improve, and
    in a few days his health was completely re-established. He
    continues to persevere in his good resolutions, and full of the
    tenderest affection for his celestial Benefactress, he still
    reverently wears the medal I gave him, often kissing it with
    truly filial love.

    "Monsieur, I was a witness of the above-mentioned fact; I send
    it to you, not only with the permission of the newly converted
    and cured, but at his request, and I hope that the knowledge
    will redound to the honor and glory of the Omnipotent God, who,
    through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, has wrought
    this double miracle.

    "I subjoin the certificate of the physician who attests the
    disease and its cure."


The judge of the civil tribunal of Naples, M. Joseph Cocchia, seriously
debilitated by a chronic disease of the bowels, was afflicted with most
violent pains, accompanied by a spasmodic sensation that, continually
increasing, banished sleep and appetite, and perceptibly diminished
his frame. This was followed by a bilious gastric fever, long and
obstinate, of fifty days duration. When freed from the fever, the sick
man found himself in a frightful state of emaciation and exhaustion;
signs of inflammation in the bowels, and such extreme irritation that
the least jolt induced fever, made skillful physicians fear lest these
were the symptoms of an incurable malady still more deplorable. Whilst
in this pitiable condition, there reached the sick man's ears accounts
of the prodigies Divine mercy had wrought in favor of those who wore
the medal; he eagerly asked for one, and received it with faith;
henceforth, he had no longer any need of medical assistance, for he
recovered the strength and perfect health he now enjoys.


M.F. Paul de Magistris, aged seven years, was attacked about the
middle of November, 1835, by a bilious gastric fever, which, by reason
of accompanying circumstances, threatened to shorten his life. After
three weeks' illness, his nervous system was also attacked, and he
became a prey to a state of profound drowsiness that resulted in the
loss of reason and speech. His afflicted parents, seeing the obstinacy
of the disease, notwithstanding all efforts of medical skill to the
contrary, considered the case hopeless, and their child lost to them.
On the evening of January 9th, the curé administered Extreme Unction,
believing, as did all the assistants, that the little sufferer had but
a few hours to live. A young person, who came to the house, having
mentioned the Miraculous Medal brought from France by the priests of
the Congregation of the Mission, it was immediately procured, and,
with confidence in its healing powers, applied to the child, whilst
all present knelt around his bed and recited the _Ave Maris Stella_.
Scarcely had they finished, ere he was considered out of danger. With
renewed confidence in the medal, it was resolved to begin a novena
in honor of the Blessed Virgin. During its progress, the disease
diminished perceptibly, and the child has now entirely recovered. Its
parents, as well as other persons of credit and veracity, among them
the attendant physician, attest that, having witnessed his deplorable
condition, they feel convinced his recovery was a miracle, resulting
from the application of the medal.

_February 22, 1836._


                            "_Soleure, January 19th, 1836._

    "Baptiste, a wood sawyer, whom you knew during your sojourn
    in this city, was confined to his bed two whole months by
    an attack of the severest form of dropsy on the chest. One
    of our best physicians, who attended him at the beginning
    of his sickness, having told Baptiste's wife that the case
    was a hopeless one, the family decided to consult another,
    M. Gougelmann, at Attyswill, a league from Soleure. After
    seeing the patient, he also gave the same opinion, and the
    poor wife's distress was beyond expression. A pious lady,
    witnessing her grief, gave her a Miraculous Medal. The sick
    man's arms, legs, and whole body were greatly swollen. His
    breath was short, and he had scarcely any power of motion; his
    back, and his elbows upon which he was obliged to lean, were a
    mass of sores. In this pitiable state, death might be expected
    any moment. His confessor having come to visit him, brought
    the Notice of the miracles wrought through the Miraculous
    Medal. The sick man on receiving it began to read it aloud,
    greatly to the astonishment of his wife and the priest, who
    were both witnesses that he had been almost past the power
    of speech but a few minutes before. And he continued reading
    thus until he had finished the little book (it was one of the
    first editions). This was the evening of January 19. His wife,
    overcome with fatigue, fell asleep for a few moments, his
    children were in an adjoining room expecting at any instant to
    hear the sad news of their father's death. He slept a little
    towards three o'clock in the morning, and on awaking found
    himself so well that it was impossible to resist the desire of
    rising from his bed and throwing himself on his knees before a
    crucifix, in thanksgiving to Our Lord and His divine Mother.
    His wife awoke, and not seeing him in bed, called to know where
    he was. 'I am well; the Blessed Virgin has cured me,' was the
    answer of Baptiste, whom she perceived kneeling before the
    crucifix. The children, hearing the noise, hastened to their
    father's presence, believing him about to breathe his last,
    but judge of their surprise at finding him restored to health,
    and his sores perfectly healed! Imagine, if you can, the joy
    of this poor family, and the happy effects the news of this
    wondrous cure produced upon the many who heard it. Baptiste has
    had excellent health ever since."

       *       *       *       *       *


The _Noord Brabander_, a Holland journal, printed at Bois-le-Duc,
contains in number 68 the following account of an extraordinary cure,
which is attributed to the Blessed Virgin:

                                "_Bois-le Duc, June 6th, 1836._

    "The 25th of last April, François Wenmakers, a young
    apprentice, aged fourteen years, fell from a height of
    about sixteen feet. An affection of the brain and an almost
    complete paralysis of the lungs, larynx and oesophagus were
    the result; he was not in a condition to take any medicine
    into his stomach, or even to swallow the least liquid, and he
    was deprived of consciousness. One of the physicians, feeling
    worried at his fixed stare, advised the administration of
    Extreme Unction; and yet another, the eve of his recovery,
    declared him on the verge of death. The sick man moreover,
    had become nearly blind the last few days. On the 1st of May,
    advantage was taken of a lucid interval, to give him the Holy
    Viaticum; and on the 4th of the same month, he received Extreme
    Unction from one of the chaplains of St. Jean. His parents, who
    immediately after his fall, had hung a medal of the Immaculate
    Conception around his neck, seeing there was now no hope of his
    recovery, except in the divine goodness and the intercession
    of the Blessed Virgin, began, on the 16th of May, a novena in
    honor of the Mother of God. Three days after, about six o'clock
    in the morning, the patient suddenly asked his mother if the
    medal around his neck were blessed. She answered yes, regarding
    the question as the effect of delirium. He immediately
    kissed it, and sat up for the first time since the fall, for
    heretofore he had been stretched out helpless on the bed, and,
    for some days past, had been deprived of the use of his limbs.
    'Something tells me,' he exclaimed, 'that I must get up, that
    I am cured!' The astonishment of those present may easily be
    imagined. The mother called his sisters, who repaired to the
    room with an elder girl, and they, seeing that he stoutly
    persisted in declaring himself cured, persuaded his mother to
    let him rise. He did indeed get up, and pointing to a picture
    in the room, representing the medal, he said: 'It is this good
    Mother who has cured me.' From that moment the boy's health was
    perfectly re-established, and his intellectual faculties were
    brighter than ever.

    "Reflections here are superfluous. Glory to God and her who
    thus rewards the confidence of her servants! The parents and
    their child will ever remember the blessing they have received,
    and never cease to publish it!"

       *       *       *       *       *


Rosalie Ducas, of Jauchelette, near Jodoigne, aged four years and
a-half, was, on the 9th of November, 1835, suddenly struck with total
blindness without the slightest premonitory symptoms; there was no
disease, no weakness, she was in apparently perfect health. Not only
was the least light, but the least breath of air so painful, that her
face had to be kept constantly covered with a cloth four doubled. This
poor child's sufferings night and day, were heart-rending! At last the
mother herself was taken sick. Some pious individual procured her a
blessed medal of the Immaculate Conception. She took it and commenced
a novena. Another medal was put on the child's neck, the 11th of June,
1836, about six o'clock in the evening; at midnight, the little one
ceased its moans, on the fourth or fifth day of the novena, it opened
its eyes. The mother and father redoubled their prayers to the Blessed
Virgin, and on the ninth day, towards evening, the child recovered its
sight entirely, to the great astonishment of the neighbors and all who
were witnesses of the occurrence.

    "The curé of Jodoigne-la-Souveraine, who had given the medal,
    has himself seen the child who lives not more than half a
    league distant; he positively asserts that it has perfectly
    recovered its sight, and that not the slightest vestige of the
    attack remains, which fact is well known, and contributes not a
    little in exciting devotion to the Immaculate Mary."

       *       *       *       *       *


    "There are still in existence here some families who,
    persistently recognizing in the present clergy only a purely
    civil power, hold themselves utterly aloof, live in a state of
    schism, and comply with none of the duties of religion.

    "One of these miserable creatures was afflicted with a virulent
    cancer on the side of his face, which for a long time had been
    eating away the flesh. The malady increasing, I believed it my
    duty to visit him and offer the consolations of my ministry.
    I saw him several times, he was suffering greatly; the
    oesophagus was exposed, the right side of his emaciated face
    presented only a deep sore, the eye, starting from its socket,
    hung suspended over a terrible disfigured mouth; his tongue
    caused him acute pain; his condition was pitiable indeed,
    especially as he seemed determined to die impenitent. He was
    a rough, blunt man, who wanted to hear nothing about priests
    or Sacraments. In vain was he reminded of our Lord's bountiful
    kindness and the rigors of His justice, nothing touched
    him; to all expostulations his invariable reply was: 'God's
    mercy is great, I will confess to God, the Blessed Virgin,
    to St. Barbara and the good Saints.' He was the counterpart
    of those men to whom Jesus Christ said: '_In peccato vestro
    moriemini_--you shall die in your sin.'

    "His relations and numerous friends endeavored both by prayers
    and entreaties to snatch him from perdition, but on the other
    side visited daily and sustained by his old associates in
    impiety, he persisted in dying as he had lived, in schism.

    "In the meantime, I was obliged to be absent several days. This
    period was for him one of Divine mercy. A lady of the parish
    made a last attempt to recall him to God, by bringing him one
    of those medals of the Immaculate Conception called miraculous.
    She sent it to him with the request to wear it and put all his
    confidence in the Blessed Virgin. The sick man took the medal,
    kissed it respectfully, and put it under his pillow. In giving
    it to him, his daughter had taken care to acquaint him with
    its origin and advantages, at the same time urging him, as
    usual, to make his confession. 'Leave me in peace,' was the
    wretched father's reply, and she could say no more. Next day,
    a neighboring curé was sent for to administer Extreme Unction
    to another person in the parish. He came, and forgetting, as
    it were, the one for whom he had been sent, he thought only of
    the cancerous patient. 'I felt,' he afterwards told me, 'an
    inexplicable and irresistible desire to visit him, I could not
    have returned without seeing him.' He asks some one to announce
    his arrival to the sick man; this person speaks to the latter,
    and urges him to confess. 'The curé of P. is here,' she adds,
    'and would like to see you, if you have no objection.' 'Well,
    yes, let him come.' The curé went to him immediately; at first
    there was a slight air of resistance about the patient, but it
    vanished, the hour of grace had come, he confessed with every
    indication of true repentance, and received Extreme Unction
    with an indescribable peace and joy, that never faltered during
    the four remaining days of his life. The Holy Viaticum could
    not be administered because he was not able to swallow.

    "At noon, on the 18th of last May, the month consecrated to
    Mary, he died, aged seventy-eight.

    "Except his former companions in irreligion, this conversion
    was a subject of rejoicing to the parish, and doubtless it
    will rejoice all the servants of Mary who hear of it. May this
    example, among thousands, inspire sinners with great confidence
    in the Blessed Virgin, propagate devotion to her, and multiply
    the medal styled miraculous!

    "I have thought it a duty to give these few details, for the
    purpose of making known the truly visible effects of the
    protection of the Mother of God, and the ever impenetrable
    springs of grace in regard to man.

    "I have the honor to be, Monsieur, with great esteem, &c."

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The protection of the Blessed Virgin, which for the last few
    months has shown itself so powerful in a neighboring kingdom,
    has also wrought wonders in Bois-le-Duc. Mary has here likewise
    given equal proofs of her maternal bounty when we have implored
    her intercession.

    "Mlle. Antoinette Van Ertryck, aged twenty-five years, was for
    more than twenty months deprived of the use of her limbs; they
    were stiff and paralyzed, almost without feeling, and stretched
    motionless on a sort of bench made for the express purpose.
    Medicine afforded no relief. In this sad condition, wearing
    a blessed medal of the Immaculate Conception, she thought of
    making a novena in honor of the Feast, to recover her health.
    On the last day of the novena, she made a fervent communion.
    Even after the departure of the priest, who came to administer
    the Blessed Sacrament, there seemed no change for the better,
    but she felt a shiver through all her body, like the impression
    often experienced from sudden cold. Just whilst finishing the
    last prayers, however, she seemed to hear an interior voice
    saying to her: 'You are cured.' On attempting to move, she
    found that her limbs had become flexible, and she was able to
    walk. The miracle was wrought on Saturday, May 16th. The next
    day, Sunday, she went to church to return thanks for this
    blessing to the common Mother of all the faithful. The people
    of our city, always distinguished for their veneration for the
    Blessed Virgin, and their confidence in her intercession are
    not wanting in gratitude, and this new favor will but increase
    their devotion to Mary Immaculate.

    "The duration of the malady, the inutility of medical skill,
    and her astonishing sudden cure are attested by the doctor.

    "A. BOLSIUS, M.D."


Extract from a letter of the Countess Lubinska:

                                    "_March 12th, 1837._

    "I took into my service, the 20th of last December, a young
    girl whose excellent qualities elicited my deepest interest.

    "After being with me some months, she began to suffer most
    acute pains in the head; the remedies we employed affording
    no relief, the attending physician advised her to keep her
    bed, and did not conceal from her his opinion that these pains
    proceeded from the humor flowing constantly from her ears, and
    which seeming to be upon the brain, threatened her life, or at
    all events, her reason.

    "What confirmed this opinion was the fact that whenever she
    walked rapidly or stooped, she was forced by the pain to throw
    her head back, as she assured me various times during her
    sickness. The continued suffering induced her, at last, to
    follow the physician's advice, and consent, if necessary, to
    the operation of trepanning. I shuddered at the very idea, and
    made her promise to ascertain if a delay of ten days would be
    attended with any serious consequences. Upon a negative answer
    from the physician, I stopped all medicines and determined
    to try the efficacy of the Miraculous Medal. This was on a
    Saturday, and the very day observed by her as a strict fast,
    in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin for having miraculously
    cured her of a mortal typhus, after her mother had dedicated
    her to Mary. Her confidence in Mary was great; and as I did
    not give her the medal for some hours after promising it,
    she told one of her friends, as I have since learned, that
    her impatience to receive it was almost beyond bounds, and
    assured her that she would not have hesitated between it and
    two thousand francs had she been allowed a choice, and we
    must remember that this girl was very poor. To display more
    clearly the miraculous nature of the cure, God permitted her
    sufferings to increase to such a degree that very day, that
    notwithstanding her patience and resignation, it seemed as
    if she really could not endure them much longer. Knowing her
    lively faith and confidence, I deemed it unnecessary to enter
    into a detailed account of the salutary effects of the medal;
    I gave it to her; she immediately made with it the sign of
    the cross upon her poor head, repeated the invocation and
    fell asleep amidst excessive sufferings. On awaking she was
    perfectly cured, and has never since experienced the slightest
    symptom of the disease.

    "Filled with sentiments of the deepest humility and the
    most lively gratitude, the miraculously cured now wishes to
    consecrate herself to God in the religious life.

    "Blessed a thousand times be God and the Immaculate Mary, and
    may we ever appreciate such boundless mercy!"


The following account was sent us by the abbé of Chazelle:

                                "_Poitiers, June 12th, 1837._

    "M. Regnault, mayor of Poitiers, had exercised his functions
    since the year 1830. In some difficulties, occurring during his
    administration, with the bishop and several of the clergy, he
    had shown himself just and equitable. His charity to the poor
    was well known. But far different are these moral virtues,
    which generally receive their recompense here below, from the
    Christian virtues so seldom rewarded, except in a better world!
    M. Regnault never appeared at church, except when his presence
    as mayor was necessary. A prey for some time to a grave malady,
    he continued to exercise his functions as long as possible,
    imposing upon himself for that purpose many sacrifices, and
    displaying an admirable zeal; but, vanquished by the disease,
    he was at length forced to suspend his duties, and, since the
    1st of last January, to resign altogether. The curé of St.
    Hilaire, having learned the alarming state of his parishioner's
    health, hastened to visit him, and offer the consolations of
    his ministry, but in vain. He repeated his visits. He was
    received into the house, but not taken to see the patient. He
    now sent word to the latter that he was at his command, and
    would come immediately when sent for. Meanwhile, the disease
    made such rapid progress that there was no longer any hope of
    recovery. Several of his friends, interested in his salvation,
    were grieved to see him so near death without the slightest
    preparation for it. One of them brought him a Miraculous Medal,
    and, not being able to see him herself, she asked a woman
    about the house to give it to him for her. The woman did so,
    and, fearing he might reject it with contempt, she begged him
    to receive it for the donor's sake. He took it, saying: 'It is
    a medal of the Blessed Virgin; I accept it respectfully, God
    is not to be trifled with.' And, putting it under his pillow,
    he sent a kind message of thanks to the lady who had given
    it. Some moments after, he takes it out, contemplates it, and
    kisses it respectfully.

    "Having placed his temporal affairs in order, he now expresses
    a wish to do the same with his conscience, and requests his
    attendants to send for the parish curé. The latter hastens to
    the sick man's bedside. 'I have made you come in a hurry,'
    says the patient, 'I want to have a conversation with you.'
    After this conversation, he asks the curé to return next day,
    as he wishes time to prepare himself for the grand action he
    contemplates. 'The step I am about to take,' he adds, 'I do
    with full knowledge and entire conviction.' The curé of St.
    Hilaire, with whom, as mayor, he had just had a law-suit,
    suggested that he make his confession to some other priest; he
    answered that he wished no one but his pastor. Next day, the
    curé returned, and as he addressed his penitent by the title of
    M. the Mayor: 'Do not call me that,' said M. Regnault; 'you are
    now my father, I am your son, I beg you to address me thus.'
    The curé paid him frequent visits, and as the disease continued
    to progress, he suggested administering the Holy Viaticum and
    Extreme Unction. 'I have not been confirmed,' replied the
    pious patient, 'I ardently desire to receive Confirmation.'
    The bishop was soon informed, and, readily forgetting all
    subject of complaint, and thanking God for this unexpected
    change, the venerable prelate went at once to the sick man.
    The happy dispositions of the latter touched him deeply, and he
    administered to him the Sacrament of Confirmation the very day
    of his receiving Extreme Unction and the Holy Viaticum.

    "It is impossible to give an idea of M. Regnault's faith
    and truly angelic fervor during this ceremony, or the deep
    impression made upon him at seeing Monseigneur enter his
    chamber. It was Saturday, January 21st, the eve of Septuagesima
    Sunday. Monseigneur addressed him in a few words full of
    unction and charity, and to inspire him with hope, reminded
    him of the very touching parable of the next day's Gospel, the
    laborers in the Father's vineyard, who coming at the last hour
    received the same recompense as those who had borne the heat
    and burden of the day. All the assistants were deeply affected
    at this edifying spectacle, and many were moved to tears.
    The bishop, on leaving, charged the curé to testify again to
    M. Regnault how great consolation he had experienced at this
    happy change, and how much he had been edified at his piety
    during this touching but long ceremony. 'As first magistrate
    of the city,' he answered, with a peaceful smile, 'I ought to
    set good example to those under my administration.' The curé
    sought by repeated visits to sustain this new-born piety,
    already tried most severely by the excruciating sufferings of
    the malady, sufferings which the patient bore with calmness
    and resignation, offering them to God in expiation of his past
    offences. To recompense his services to the city during his
    administration, the government bestowed upon him the cross of
    honor. The curé could not refrain from congratulating him. 'I
    do not know,' was the modest answer, 'I do not know what I
    have done to merit it,' and when reminded of his services to
    the city, 'Oh! do not speak of them,' said he, 'such things
    might awaken self-love!' What immense progress virtue makes
    in the soul in a very little while! It was in these happy
    dispositions he died, the 2d of the following February, Feast
    of the Purification. The whole city of Poitiers, we might say,
    assisted at the funeral. The bishop, the authorities, and
    a host of other distinguished personages came to pay their
    tribute of gratitude and admiration to his memory, and the
    prefect congratulated the curé of St. Hilaire on so wonderful a


Madame Rémond, living number 70, rue Mouffetard, held at her chamber
window, on the second story, one of her children, aged twenty-two
months. Fainting suddenly, she fell back into the room, and the
child was precipitated upon the pavement below. Immediate death
might naturally have been expected as the inevitable consequence of
such a fall; but no, wonderful to relate, the child was not injured.
After reading the Archbishop's circular (upon the occasion of the
consecration of the church of Notre Dame de Lorette), in which he
recommends all the faithful to wear the Miraculous Medal, the pious
parents had hastened to procure one and put it on their child. The
Immaculate Mary did not fail to reward their piety. On picking the poor
little creature up, and examining it, not even the slightest bruise was
discovered. As the mother was a long time recovering from her swoon, it
caused great anxiety, and several physicians were called in to see her.
They also saw the child, and declared its escape wonderful indeed. But
by way of precaution, they applied a few leeches to it, and a poultice
to one knee which seemed to be the seat of some slight pain. The child
had been eating an instant before this terrible fall, which, strange
to say, occasioned no vomiting, and immediately after being picked up
it took all the little delicacies offered it. Every one declared this
occurrence a miracle, and the innocent little creature itself seemed
to proclaim it, by kissing the medal and pressing it to its lips,
especially when the subject was mentioned, as we ourselves witnessed
when the father showed him to us the 25th of June, 1837.

    "The mother recovered perfectly, and she never ceases to thank
    the Immaculate Mary for the double protection she considers due
    the medal."


Scarcely six years since the apparition of 1830, and already the
designs of Providence were realized; the Miraculous Medal had awakened
devotion to the Blessed Virgin, belief in the Immaculate Conception had
penetrated all classes of society, and the innumerable favors accorded
those who fervently recited the prayers revealed by Mary, had clearly
proved how she prizes this first of all her privileges. But so far, her
servants remained isolated, having no bond of union, no central point
where they could meet; the majority of those who wore the medal as the
livery of the spotless Virgin, knew neither the place, the mode, nor
date of its origin.

God was now about to complete the work, by giving to this devotion, an
organization and fixed exercises which favored its development, and
increased the efficacy of prayer, by the power of association.

Towards the end of the year 1836, a man was raised up to execute the
divine plans; this man was M. Dufriche Desgenettes, curé of Notre Dame
des Victoires, Paris. From 1820 to 1832, in charge of St. Francis
Xavier's Church, he numbered among the religious establishments of his
parish, the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity, where the Blessed
Virgin had appeared. He was one of the most earnest in thanking God for
this grace, and most eager to propagate the medal. It was his desire
that the privileged chapel should become a pilgrim shrine, but this
desire not being realized, he was chosen by Providence to supply the

Let us quote his own words, relating how he was led to found the
Archconfraternity of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary. "There
was in Paris, a parish scarcely known even to many of the Parisians.
It is situated in the centre of the city, between the Palais Royal
and the Bourse, surrounded by theatres and places of dissipation, a
quarter swallowed up in the vortex of cupidity and industry, and the
most abandoned to every species of criminal indulgence. Its church,
dedicated to Notre Dame des Victoires, remained deserted even on the
most solemn festivities.... No Sacraments were administered in this
parish, not even to the dying.... If, by dint of novel persuasion, the
curé obtained permission to visit a person dangerously ill, it was not
only on condition of waiting until the patient's faculties were dimmed,
but also on another almost insuperable condition, that of presenting
himself in a secular habit. What benefit were such visits? They were
merely a useless torment to the dying."[20]

    [Footnote 20: Manual of the Archconfraternity, edition of 1853.
    p. 84.]

Such was the parish confided to M. Desgenettes. With the hope of
recalling to God, even a few strayed souls, the poor curé, for four
years, employed every means that the most active zeal could suggest,
but in vain. Sad and grieved beyond measure, he thought of quitting
this ungrateful post, when a supernatural communication revived his
drooping courage.

On the 3d of December, Feast of St. Francis Xavier, thoroughly
penetrated with the inutility of his ministry in this parish, he
was saying Mass at the Blessed Virgin's altar, now the altar of the
Archconfraternity.... After the _Sanctus_, he distinctly heard these
words pronounced in a very solemn manner: "Consecrate thy parish to the
most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary." They did not strike his ears,
but seemed to proceed from an interior voice. He immediately recovered
peace and liberty of spirit. After finishing his thanksgiving, fearing
to be the dupe of an illusion, he endeavored to banish the thought of
what was apparently a supernatural communication, but the same interior
voice resounded again in the depths of his soul. Returned to his house,
he begins to compose the statutes of the association, with a view of
delivering himself from an importunate idea, and scarcely does he take
his pen in hand, ere he is fully enlightened on the subject, and the
organization of the work costs him nothing but the manual labor of the

    [Footnote 21: Manual of the Archconfraternity, p. 7.]

The statutes prepared, are submitted to Mgr. de Quélen who approves
them, and the 16th of the same month, an archiepiscopal ordinance
erects canonically the Association of the Holy and Immaculate Heart
of Mary for the conversion of sinners. The first meeting took place
on Sunday, the 11th of December. In announcing it at High Mass, the
pious pastor expected to see in the evening not more than fifty or
sixty persons at most. Judge of his astonishment on finding assembled
at the appointed hour, a congregation of about five hundred, a large
proportion of whom are men! What had brought them? The majority were
ignorant of the object of the meeting. An instruction explaining the
motive and end of the exercises made a deep impression; the Benediction
was chanted most fervently, and there was a notable increase of fervor
during the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, especially at the thrice
repeated invocation: "_Refugium peccatorum, ora pro nobis._" The cause
was gained, Mary took possession of the parish of Notre Dame des

The good curé still doubted; to assure himself that the association was
truly the work of God, he demanded a sign, the conversion of a great
sinner, an old man on the borders of the tomb, who had several times
refused to see him. His prayer was granted, the old man received him
gladly, and became sincerely converted. It was not long before new
graces showered upon his parish increased M. Desgenette's confidence,
numberless sinners changed their lives, indifferent Christians became
practical and fervent, the offices of the Church were attended, the
Sacraments frequented, the apparently extinguished Faith was relighted,
and this parish, lately so scandalous, soon became one of the most
edifying in Paris.

The Confraternity of the most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary was
not to embrace one parish only. God willed that it should extend
throughout France, and even the entire world. M. Desgenettes, who
understood this design, addressed himself to the Sovereign Pontiff,
and obtained, April 24th, 1838, a brief, erecting the association into
an Archconfraternity, with the power of affiliating to itself other
associations of the same kind throughout the Church, and granting them
a participation in the spiritual favors accorded it. From this day, the
Archconfraternity developed wonderfully, and became an inexhaustible
source of graces. The church of Notre Dame des Victoires was henceforth
numbered among the most celebrated sanctuaries in the world. At all
hours may the faithful be seen around its altars in the attitude of
prayer and recollection. The re-unions which take place every Sunday
present a touching spectacle, a dense crowd composed of persons of
every condition, who, after fervently chanting Mary's praises, listen
attentively to a long series of petitions received in the course of the
week from all quarters of the globe.

These present a picture of all the miseries, all the sufferings, all
the corporal and spiritual necessities possible; to which are added
numberless acts of thanksgiving for benefits obtained through the
associates' prayers. These petitions are so multitudinous that they
cannot be announced except in a general manner and by categories; they
actually amount, each week, to the number of twenty-five or thirty
thousand, and, for the entire year, form a total of a million and
a half. At the time of its founder's death, the Archconfraternity
numbered fifteen thousand affiliated confraternities in all quarters of
the globe, and more than twenty million associates. At the beginning of
this year, 1878, the affiliated confraternities amount to 17,472.

A bulletin, issued monthly, gives an account of the progress of the
Archconfraternity, the exercises which take place at Notre Dame des
Victoires, the graces obtained, etc. The first nine numbers were
published by M. Desgenettes himself, but at irregular intervals; they
are full of interest and edification.

Amidst the wonderful success of his work, the venerable pastor, far
from seeking any of the glory, thought only of humbling himself;
regarding his share in it as naught but that of a simple instrument, he
confesses even his resistance to the inspirations of grace, his doubts,
his incredulity;[22] he will not admit that he may be called the
founder of this work of mercy; it is God who has done all, it is the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, that has opened to poor sinners a new source
of graces, as for himself, he was not even the originator of the idea.

    [Footnote 22: Manual of the Archconfraternity, page 86.]

These sentiments reveal the soul of a saint; the true servants of
God are always humble of heart, and the good they accomplish is in
proportion to their self-abasement.

In his deep gratitude to God, the pious curé never forgot the bond
attaching Notre Dame des Victoires to the chapel of the Daughters of
Charity; he always loved this blessed sanctuary; it was there Mary had
concealed the source of those vivifying waters which flowed through
his parish; it was there this Mother of divine grace had promised
those benedictions which the Archconfraternity reaped so abundantly.
To preserve the remembrance of this mysterious relation, he desired
that the medal of the association should be the Miraculous Medal.
Henceforth, the influence of this medal became confounded with that
of the Archconfraternity, the extraordinary graces attributed to the
former were often due the associates' prayers, and reciprocally, for
example, the conversion of M. Ratisbonne. In this case, as in many
others, two equally supernatural means united to obtain the same result.

It is related that M. Desgenettes, seeing the Daughters of Charity
frequently around the altar of the most Holy Heart of Mary at Notre
Dame des Victoires, would sometimes say to them: "My good Sisters, I
am much pleased to see you in my dear church, but know that your own
chapel is the true pilgrim shrine, it is there you have the Blessed
Virgin, there she manifested herself to you."----

The Miraculous Medal, as revealed to Sister Catherine, bears on the
reverse the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first crowned with
thorns, the second pierced by a sword. These are symbols which all
comprehend. Are they not, at the same time, a prophetic sign?

We are permitted to recognize here a foreshadowing of that devotion
which would be rendered by the Archconfraternity of Notre Dame des
Victoires, to the most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We may likewise see pre-figured, that later development in our day, of
devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion born in France, and
which the entire nation wishes to proclaim amidst pomp and grandeur,
by the construction of a splendid monument, that from the heights of
Montmartre, shall overlook all Paris.

Thus by a mysterious gradation, the medal of the Immaculate Conception
has conducted us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Heart of the
Mother has introduced us into the Heart of the Son, the adorable Heart
of Jesus, that Heart which has so loved men, and which saves nations as
well as individuals.


_Graces Obtained from 1838 to 1842, in Greece, America, China, etc._


Letter of M.N., Priest of the Mission, in Santorin:

    "Mme. Marie Delenda, wife of M. Michel Chigi, son of the
    Vice-Consul from Holland to Santorin, for seven years had
    suffered most excruciating pains, inducing such a state of
    nervous sensibility, that she was unable to bear the least
    excitement. She had had several children, but they all died
    before birth and receiving baptism. The physicians consulted,
    declared unanimously, that her disease was incurable, and that
    none of her children would ever come into the world alive.
    Greatly distressed at such a sad prospect, she had recourse to
    the Miraculous Medal, and obtained from it what medical skill
    was unable to effect; her next child, born not long after, was
    a fine, live, healthy one. Her husband, as pious as herself,
    was transported with joy and gratitude. 'Behold!' said he to
    the attendant physician, and conducting him to an image of the
    Immaculate Mary, 'Behold our Protectrice, our Liberatrix, the
    Mother of our child!' The physician knelt, said a prayer and
    retired. Since then, the mother's health is good; at least she
    has had no relapse of her former apparently incurable disease,
    which recovery is sufficient to attest the protection of Mary
    Immaculate. Full of gratitude, the two spouses have never
    ceased to urge the erection of the altar and inauguration of
    the image of Mary Immaculate, in fulfillment of their promise.

    "Several other miraculous cures have also been wrought there
    through the invocation of Mary Immaculate. I am assured of
    this; four of them are well attested, and really marvelous.
    The bishop, the clergy, the people of Santorin, are all ready
    to affirm my assertions, and not one of them but would be
    more likely to exaggerate than detract from my account. When
    Monseigneur went to visit the Chigi family after the birth
    of their child, he asked to see the image, and looking at
    it, said: 'This is the second miracle wrought in Santorin by
    the Immaculate Virgin. The first is known to me through the
    confessional, and consequently, I cannot divulge it.'

    "It was on the 28th of May, the inauguration of the image of
    the Immaculate Conception took place. Monseigneur himself
    officiated in the translation, after the High Mass and
    procession terminating the Forty Hour's Devotion at the
    cathedral. The image was placed upon an altar prepared for the
    purpose, in the court-yard of the donor's house. From the altar
    to the outer door, a very prettily decorated arched pathway
    was formed by means of drapery, and upon the threshold, was a
    triumphal arch. All the pavement, not only in the court but
    even to our church, was covered with flowers and fragrant
    grasses. Monseigneur, preceded by the clergy, and followed by
    all the Catholics and a number of Greek schismatics, repaired
    to the place where the image was exposed. Having incensed it,
    he intoned the _Ave, Maris Stella_, and the procession began
    to move. The clergy with the cross at their head commenced to
    defile. Then came two young girls bearing each a banner of
    white silk, whereon was depicted the spotless Virgin, these
    were suspended diagonally at the entrance of the sanctuary.
    Next, were two more young girls holding extended, the front of
    the altar representing the reverse of the medal, and finally,
    the image borne by the donor and one of his nearest relatives.
    Monseigneur walked immediately after, and behind him, Mme.
    Chigi holding her child in her arms and accompanied by her
    sister. The people were not in the ranks of the procession,
    but ranged along each side, that they might readily see the
    image and kiss it as it passed, which they did with so much
    eagerness and enthusiasm that there was considerable danger
    of its meeting with an accident. This, however we averted
    by many precautions, and at length reached the church. At
    the entrance, another very beautiful triumphal arch had been
    erected, surmounted by a large representation of the reverse
    of the medal upon a floating banner, bearing the inscription:
    '_Ave, Maria Immaculata_.' The church door was decorated with
    drapery, likewise the interior of the walls, which were also
    hung with flowers, verdant crowns and garlands. The image was
    now placed upon a temporary throne, which had been prepared
    until a more suitable one could be erected. Another High Mass
    was celebrated, at the end of which the children chanted
    alternately with the choir the '_Te Mariam laudamus_,' this
    being the first time it was ever heard in this country. The
    other individuals I have already mentioned as having been cured
    through the Immaculate Mary's intercession, made each one a
    votive offering to her image. One gave a veil, another a pretty
    golden cross, which decorated the Blessed Virgin's bosom during
    the ceremony; a third proposed having a silver crown made in
    fulfillment of her vow, but she was advised to give something
    else, since several others in unison had already promised a
    most beautiful golden crown."


Letter of the Superior of the Daughters of Charity, in Troyes:

                                    "_Troyes, March 4th, 1842._

    "In 1838, we had in our work-room a young woman, named Élise
    Bourgeois, aged eighteen years, who, after great suffering, was
    attacked by an anchylosis in the knee. For seven months and a
    half she suffered excruciatingly, and her malady had reached
    the crisis. Her limb had shrunk up about two inches, and she
    could not walk without the aid of a cane or some one's arm. On
    the 8th of April, which was Monday in Holy Week, one of our
    young Sisters told me that the Notice contained an account of a
    Christian Brother, whose foot on the point of being amputated,
    was cured by the sole application of the Miraculous Medal,
    one night when his sufferings were greater than usual. I now
    reproached myself for having allowed this poor child to be so
    long afflicted, without our once thinking of having recourse
    to Mary for her recovery; and ascending to the work-room, I
    related to the children this account of the Christian Brother,
    and told the young woman to arouse her faith, to put all her
    confidence in Mary Immaculate, to apply the medal to her knee,
    and commence a novena with her companions. All Tuesday night
    her sufferings were great indeed, she said it seemed as if
    all her bones were dislocated. Nor was she able to obtain a
    moment's repose the next day. There now issued from a little
    hole which had formed in her knee, a quantity of serous
    matter. The day following, she arose with much difficulty,
    and was taken to the chapel where she heard Holy Mass. At the
    elevation, she placed her sound knee upon the bench, saying
    most fervently to the good God: 'Since Thou art present, deign
    to cure me, that I may be entirely Thine.' She immediately felt
    something like the touch of a hand, which replaced the bones in
    their natural position, and lengthened the shrunken limb; but
    she did not yet dare rest upon it, for fear of injury. At the
    end of Mass, she knelt to receive the priest's benediction, and
    in spite of herself, she rested her weight upon the afflicted
    knee. She remained in the chapel with her companions to say her
    prayers and thank the Blessed Virgin for the great favor just
    obtained. From that time she has never suffered the slightest
    pain in the limb, and it appears perfectly sound.

    "As soon as the children perceived that she was cured, they
    declared it a miracle, and all hearts were filled with the
    deepest emotion and gratitude. Élise now asked permission
    to go to the cathedral to confession; a request I granted
    reluctantly, although she assured me she was not suffering in
    the slightest, yet she had not been out for seven months and
    a-half, and I could scarcely realize her recovery. Several
    Masses of thanksgiving were said in our chapel, during the
    first of which we had the Blessed Sacrament exposed, and the
    _Te Deum_ chanted. The noise of this miracle soon spread
    throughout the city, and several persons came to see the healed
    one. She also requested permission to go to the house of one
    of her uncles, who had a very impious neighbor, that had been
    informed of her miraculous recovery, but who had also been told
    that he need not believe until he had seen Élise for himself.
    He was perfectly convinced, acknowledged it beyond denial, and
    said that in thanksgiving, a _Te Deum_ should be chanted in the

    "I forgot to say, that our physician had seen this young woman
    two months before her recovery and pronounced the disease
    incurable. I had also had her examined by a surgeon, who
    ordered much blistering, but without expecting a cure."

Accompanying this letter are the signatures of seven Sisters of Charity
and twenty-three other individuals, witnesses of the miracle.

       *       *       *       *       *


The following was sent us by Mgr. Odin, Vicar Apostolic of Texas, in a
letter dated April 11th, 1841.

    "I had, in the city of Nacogdoches, an opportunity of
    witnessing how Mary Immaculate loves to grant the prayers of
    those who put their trust in her. A Maryland lady, on leaving
    her native State to settle in Texas, had received a Miraculous
    Medal; her confessor, on giving it to her, exacting the
    promise, that she would never omit the daily recitation of the
    little prayer, 'O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who
    have recourse to thee!' and assuring her at the same time that
    this good Mother would never allow her to die without the last
    consolations of religion. She faithfully complied with her
    promise. For four years she was confined to her bed, and often,
    it was thought, at the point of death, but her confidence in
    Mary, always inspired her with the hope of receiving the last
    Sacraments ere leaving this world. As soon as she heard of our
    arrival, we were summoned to her bedside; she received the Holy
    Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and expired a few days after,
    filled with gratitude for her celestial Benefactress.


In a letter of July, 1838, Mgr. Rameaux, Vicar Apostolic of the
provinces of the Kiang-Si and Tché-Kiang, in sending us the invocation
of the medal translated into Chinese, says, that the Chinese have
a great devotion to this little prayer, and always follow the _Ave
Maria_ by a recitation of it. He also informed us, that Mgr. de
Bézy, Vicar Apostolic of the Hou-Kouang, and M. Perboyre, Missionary
Apostolic, would transmit to us several accounts of miraculous marks
of protection. We received these accounts some months later, and quote
them as follows:

    "1st. In the province of the Hou-Kouang, a Christian had been
    racked by a terrible fever for two months, accompanied by
    constant delirium. Three physicians had attended him, but in
    vain. Finding himself on the verge of death, he sent for me to
    administer the Last Sacraments. I gave him the Holy Viaticum,
    but deferred Extreme Unction, seeing that my duties would
    retain me in that locality some time longer. I made him a
    present of the medal, and advised a novena, assuring him, that
    if it were for the benefit of his soul, he would be restored to
    health. He began the novena; on the seventh day, the fever left
    him, and on the eighth he had recovered his usual strength.
    On the ninth day of the novena he came to see me, and assured
    me that he was perfectly well. I reminded him of thanking the
    Blessed Virgin for so great a favor, and he promised to recite
    with his friends the Rosary in her honor. But our Christian,
    pre-occupied with various affairs that his sickness had
    interrupted, forgot the promise. Five days after, he had a
    relapse. This made him conscious of his fault; he approached
    the Sacraments again, and began another novena. Though he
    continued to grow worse from day to day, I still had great
    hopes that the Immaculate Mary would come to his assistance,
    and I assured him of his recovery before the end of the novena.
    My confidence was not deceived; he recovered entirely, to
    the great astonishment of all the Christians. This time his
    gratitude was effectual, and the fever did not return.

    "2d. In Tien-Men, a village of the same province, the
    Christians, numbering about two hundred, are distinguished
    for their piety and a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
    For eight years, successive inundations had reduced these
    Christians to extreme poverty; but this year, at the first
    sign of an overflow, they had recourse to Mary Immaculate by
    means of the medal, and soon the waters retired without doing
    the slightest harm to the Christian territory, whilst that of
    the pagans was devastated. And our Christians now return most
    grateful thanks to their good Mother for the abundant harvest
    they have just gathered.

    "3d. The following account was sent us by M. Perboyre, in
    a letter of August 10th, 1839. The reader will learn, with
    interest, that this is the same missionary who, arrested a
    month after for his religion, so generously confessed the Faith
    one whole year amidst the most frightful tortures, and at last
    consummated the sacrifice by his glorious martyrdom, September
    11th, 1840.

    "Whilst I was giving a mission to the Christians of the Honan
    province, November, 1837, they brought to me a young woman
    who had been afflicted with mental aberration for about eight
    months, telling me she was very anxious to confess, and, though
    she was incapable of the Sacrament, they begged me not to
    refuse her a consolation she appeared to desire so earnestly.
    Her sad condition of mind precluded all idea of her deriving
    any benefit from the exercise of my ministry, but I heard her
    out of pure compassion. In taking leave of her, I placed her
    under the especial protection of the Blessed Virgin--that is,
    I gave her a medal of the Immaculate Conception. She did not
    then understand the value of the holy remedy she received;
    but, from that moment, she began to experience its beneficial
    effects, her shattered intellect improving so rapidly that,
    at the end of four or five days, she was entirely changed. To
    a complete confusion of ideas, to fears that kept her ever in
    mortal agony, and which, I believe, were the work of the demon,
    succeeded good sense, peace of mind and happiness. She made her
    confession again, and received Holy Communion, with the most
    lively sentiments of joy and fervor. This especial instance
    of Mary's generosity will doubtless surprise you little, you
    who know so well that the earth is filled with her mercy; but
    your hearts will be excited anew to fervent thanksgiving for
    this particular favor, which is the principal reason of my
    acquainting you with it."

_1st. Letter from a Missionary of Macao, dated August 25th, 1841:_

    "A widow who had but one son, reared like herself in paganism,
    saw him suddenly fall under the power of the demon; his
    paroxysms were so furious that all fled before him, and he ran
    through the fields uttering the most lamentable cries. Anyone
    that attempted to stop him was immediately seized and thrown to
    the ground. His poor mother was in despair, and almost dying
    of grief, when Divine Providence deigned to cast upon her a
    look of compassion. One day when he was unusually tormented,
    the young man fled hither and thither like a vagabond, not
    knowing where he went; everyone tried to stop him, but he
    brutally repulsed all who lay hands on him. The most merciful
    God permitted a Christian to be among the number of those
    who witnessed this spectacle. Animated with a lively faith,
    and touched at the unfortunate creature's sufferings, the
    Christian told all who were pursuing the demoniac to desist,
    that he unaided could arrest him, that he would quiet him, and
    restore him docile and gentle to his mother. This language
    astonished the pagans, but they did as requested, although
    thinking the Christian ran a great risk. Our good Christian
    wore the Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Mary; taking it
    in his hands he approached the possessed, and showing it to
    him he commanded the demon to flee and leave the young man in
    peace. The demon obeyed instantly, and the young man seeing
    the medal in the Christian's hands, humbly prostrated himself
    before the miraculous image, without knowing what it was. The
    pagans, watching from a distance, were greatly astonished.
    The Christian now commanded the young man to rise and follow
    him, and still holding in his hand the medal, which was as a
    magnet attracting the young pagan, he thus conducted him to
    his mother. 'Mother,' he exclaimed, to her great consolation,
    as soon as he saw her, 'Do not weep any more, I am freed from
    the demon; he left me as soon as he perceived this medal.'
    Imagine the poor mother's joy, on hearing these words! She was
    perplexed to know whether it was a dream or a reality! The
    Christian reassured her, and recounted all that had passed,
    adding, that her son would never be possessed again, if she
    renounced her idols and became a Christian. She promised
    sincerely, and they immediately began to divest their altar
    of its false gods. Then the Christian, feeling assured they
    would be faithful when instructed in the truths of religion,
    withdrew, laden with the thanks of both mother and son for the
    inestimable service he had just rendered them."

_2d. Extract of a Letter from M. Faivre, Priest of the Mission in the
Province of Nankin, May 6th, 1841:_

    "The two great means God uses for the accomplishment of good
    in this Mission are our Lord's cross and the Immaculate
    Mary's protection. As to the most powerful protection of Mary
    conceived without sin, we have experienced it so often, and in
    so especial a manner, both as regards ourselves and the welfare
    of the Mission, that it would be tedious to recount in detail,
    even if I wished to do so, all the favors we have received at
    her maternal hands.

    "Seeing the Blessed Virgin's clemency towards us and our
    Christians, we have done all we could to honor her and advance
    her honor among the Christians, by seeking to inspire them
    with the most lively confidence in this good, holy Mother.
    On the Feast of the Assumption, 1839, we consecrated this
    Mission to her, and ever since it has been called Mary's
    Diocese. We have given as a rule to our virgins especial
    devotion to the Immaculate Conception. We have established Mary
    Immaculate patroness of the seminary Providence has created
    in this Mission. (This seminary now numbers six scholars who
    lead lives of regularity and edification, and make rapid
    progress in the study of Latin.) One of our virgins, already
    advanced in age, had been for several years confined to her
    bed, without the slightest hope of recovery, the thirteen
    physicians who had been successively consulted having declared
    her malady incurable. Seeing her end approach, she asked for
    the missionary, that she might receive the Last Sacraments. He
    came, and administered the Sacraments of the dying, exhorting
    her to accept death in a spirit of conformity to the will of
    God. She replied that she was fully resigned to His holy will,
    and had no hope of deriving any benefit from human means, but
    she felt convinced that if she could get a Miraculous Medal,
    her health would be restored. The missionary, seeing so much
    faith and confidence, gave her the one he wore, having no other
    convenient just then, and recommended her to make a novena in
    honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. All
    the family joined her in making the novena, and from the fifth
    day she was entirely cured. The attending physician, who was a
    pagan, coming to see her at the end of the novena, was utterly
    surprised to find her so well, and he eagerly inquired what
    extraordinary remedy had been employed to effect such a change.
    She replied that she had used no remedies, but the Lord of
    Heaven had restored her health. The physician returned, filled
    with veneration for the Lord of Heaven, who had displayed such
    great power; and the virgin, in expression of her gratitude to
    the Immaculate Mary, her august Benefactress, donated three
    hundred piastres to repair a chapel dedicated to Mary."


                                        _Rome, 1842._

M. Alphonse Ratisbonne belonged to a Jewish family of Strasburg,
distinguished in the world as much for its social position as the
universal esteem in which it was held; he himself was a member of
a society for the encouragement of labor, contributing thus to the
benefit of his unfortunate brethren. Towards the end of the year 1841,
he became affianced to a young Jewess, who united in her person all
those qualities calculated to assure his happiness. Before entering
upon this new state of life, he decided to take a pleasure trip to the
East, visiting on the way some of the most remarkable cities of Italy.
There was nothing, he thought, interesting to him in the Eternal City,
so from Naples he would direct his course to Palermo; but Divine mercy
called him, though he did not recognize the voice; he is constrained,
as it were, by a secret design of Heaven, to change his determination,
and visit Rome. It was in this centre of Catholic unity that the God
of all patience and goodness awaited him, it was here that grace was
to touch his heart. But what were his dispositions? Thou, O Lord,
knowest them!... His hatred of Catholicity was very far from suggesting
a thought of his ever embracing it. He felt for our holy and sublime
religion that violent animosity which could not contain itself, which
chafed at anything reminding him of Christianity, and which had even
grown more rancorous since his brother M. Theodore Ratisbonne's
abjuration of Judaism and reception of Holy Orders. He could not
pardon this desertion, and his implacable hatred increased with time.
But the innocent object of his aversion never ceased to supplicate
Heaven to shed a ray of divine light upon the deluded brother, who
loaded him with indignation and contempt. Made sub-Director of the
Archconfraternity of Notre Dame des Victoires, he often implored the
associates' prayers for this brother's conversion.

Such were M. Ratisbonne's sentiments when he entered Rome. He had
scarcely arrived ere he thought of leaving; everything he saw in the
Holy City urged him to hasten from it, everything excited him to
declaim against what shocked and vilified his belief.... He was not
proof, however, against a species of emotion in visiting the church
of Ara Coeli; but it was an emotion which lost all its influence,
(if influence it could be said to have exerted upon this heart buried
in the shades of death,) when he understood that it was the general
effect produced by the first sight of this remarkable monument. So, far
from giving way to it, he hastened, on the contrary, to affirm that
it was not a Catholic emotion, but an impression purely religious. In
traversing the Ghetto, his hatred against Christianity was still more
inflamed at witnessing the misery and degradation of the Jews; as if
the chastisement of that deicidal people had been inflicted by the
children of the Church, as if this people had not called down upon
itself the vengeance of innocent blood!

Before leaving Rome, M. Ratisbonne was to visit one of his childhood's
friends, an old schoolmate with whom he had always kept up an intimacy,
although their religious belief was so widely at variance. This friend
was M. Gustave de Bussière, a zealous Protestant, who several times had
endeavored to profit by their intimacy, by persuading M. Ratisbonne
to embrace Protestantism, but the latter was immovable, and the two
friends, after useless discussions, usually ended by a renewal of
their faith in two words, expressing most emphatically how invincible
each deemed himself. "Headstrong Jew!" said one; "Enraged Protestant!"
replied the other. Such was the result of these conversations, which
never succeeded in shaking the opinion of either, or dissipating any
of their deplorable errors. This opposition of principles, however,
did not estrange their friendship. M. Ratisbonne called to see M.
De Bussière, and was admitted by an Italian servant. He inquired
for M. Gustave de Bussière, but this gentleman was absent, and by a
providential mistake the servant introduced him into the salon of M.
Theodore Bussière, Gustave's brother, whom M. Ratisbonne had seen but
once. It was too late to withdraw, and though somewhat disconcerted
at the mistake, he stopped to exchange a few words of courtesy with
his friend's brother. M. De Bussière had had the happiness of abjuring
Protestantism, and he was a zealous advocate of the Faith he had
so lately learned to prize. He knew that M. Ratisbonne was a Jew;
he received him with affectionate eagerness, and the conversation
naturally turning upon the various places of interest in Rome visited
by the young French traveler, it soon drifted into a religious
discussion. M. Ratisbonne did not disguise his real sentiments, he
expressed his animosity against Catholicity, his inalterable attachment
to Judaism and to the baron De Bussière's solid arguments, his only
replies were the frigid politeness of silence, a smile of pity, or new
protestations of fidelity to his sect, repeating that a Jew he was born
and a Jew he would die!

It was then that M. De Bussière, not the least discouraged by M.
Ratisbonne's emphatic language, and impelled by a secret impulse
of grace, thought of offering him the Miraculous Medal. Doubtless
this idea appears rash to many, and many would have banished it as a
veritable folly, but the simplicity of faith teaches us to discern
things by a very different light from that in which they are revealed
to the world. Filled with this holy fearlessness of the Saints, M. De
Bussière presents the young Jew a medal of the Immaculate Conception.
"Promise me," said he, "to always wear this little image, I beg you not
to refuse me." M. Ratisbonne, unable to conceal his astonishment at
so strange a proposition, rejects it instantly with an expression of
indignation that would have disconcerted any other than his new friend.
"But," continues our fervent Catholic undismayed, "I cannot understand
the cause of such a refusal, for, according to your view of things, the
wearing of this object must be to you a matter of total indifference,
whilst it would be a real consolation to me if you would condescend to
my request." "Ah! I will comply, then, if you attach so much importance
to it," replied the other with a hearty laugh; "I should not be sorry,
moreover, to have an opportunity of convincing you that Jews are not
so headstrong as they are represented. Besides, it will give me an
interesting chapter to add to my notes and impressions of travel." And
he continued to jest on the subject in a manner rather painful to the
Christian hearts around him.

During this debate, the good father of the family had told his two
little daughters (interesting children, whom an eminently religious
education had already imbued with sentiments of piety), to put the
precious medal on a cord. They did so, and gave it to their father,
who hung it around the young Israelite's neck. Encouraged by this
first success, he wishes to go still farther. He attempts nothing less
than binding M. Ratisbonne himself to ask the favor and protection of
Mary, of Mary whom he despises without knowing, Mary whose image he
receives most reluctantly! M. De Bussière presents him a paper upon
which is written St. Bernard's powerful invocation, the _Memorare_....
This time, the Jew can still less dissimulate his displeasure, it seems
tried to the utmost; but the baron feels himself actuated by a secret
impulse, that urges him to persevere in his solicitations, and conquer.
He repeats his request, and even goes so far when he presents the
prayer as to beg M. Ratisbonne to take a copy of it for him, as he has
but one. M. Ratisbonne, convinced that resistance is useless, rather
than repeat his refusal prefers acceding to the request, and thus
ridding himself of such vexatious importunity. "Agreed," said he, "that
you take my copy and I keep yours." And, hastening to this indiscreet
zealot, he retired, murmuring to himself: "I really wonder what he
would say if I were to insist upon his reciting the Jewish prayers?
I must admit that I have, indeed, met a striking original!" It was
thus he left this house of benediction and salvation, ignorant of the
treasure he bore with him, the key of Heaven that had been given him;
the image of the Mother of holy hope he wore upon his heart, and whose
blessed effects he would so soon experience.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. De Bussière, deeply grieved at the young Jew's levity, united with
his family in conjuring the God of mercy to pardon the words of one who
knew not what he said; and he recommended his dear children to lift
up their hands to the Refuge of Sinners, supplicating her to obtain
the gift of Faith for this poor soul in the shades of darkness and
error!... O Mary! your tender love graciously welcomed these prayers of
the innocent, they penetrated your maternal heart, and soon obtained
the object of their desires. The zeal of this devout servant of the
Queen of Heaven was not confined within the narrow limits of his own
family circle.... Going, that evening, according to a pious custom in
Rome, to keep watch before the Blessed Sacrament with the prince B.
and some other friends, he also engaged their prayers for the young
Israelite's conversion.... Let us follow attentively all the details
preceding the ever memorable day which was to crown M. De Bussière's
pious efforts. Let us not forget that a generous Christian, elevated by
a lively faith above the vain prejudices of the world, and docile to
the secret inspirations of grace, becomes the instrument of Providence
in procuring God's glory and the salvation of a soul.

Meanwhile, M. Ratisbonne was making arrangements to leave Rome; he
had already fixed upon the day of his departure, and had come to say
good-bye to his friend and acquaint him with his intention of starting
the next evening. "Going!" replied M. De Bussière; "do not think of
it. I want you to grant me just eight days longer; our conversation of
yesterday occupies my thoughts more than ever; let me entreat you to
prolong your stay, and let us go to the diligence office to countermand
your order." It was in vain. M. Ratisbonne declined, saying he had
already decided to go, and had no motive for deferring his departure.
Under the pretext of a very imposing ceremony which was to take place
at St. Peter's, M. De Bussière forced, rather than persuaded him to
remain a few days longer.

We shall not here enter into a detailed account of what passed
between them from the moment M. De Bussière's constancy gained the
last triumph--that is, from the 16th of January to the 20th--inasmuch
as there was not the slightest sign of the happy change, either in
the language or conduct of M. Ratisbonne, towards the new friend
divine Providence had given him, in spite of himself. He could not,
however, avoid receiving this new friend's civilities, or refuse to
be accompanied by him in visiting the various places of note in the
Eternal City. M. De Bussière, full of hope against all human hope,
allowed no opportunity to escape of enlightening his young friend; but
not one consoling response could he obtain, M. Ratisbonne, by jest and
raillery, always avoiding the arguments he would not take the trouble
to refute, always ridiculing Catholicity, and thus afflicting the heart
of the servant of Jesus Christ by responding coldly to the assiduity of
his zeal, the serious nature of his propositions. "Make your mind easy;
I will think of all this, but not at Rome. I am to spend two months
at Malta; it will serve to while away the time." He was astonished at
the imperturbable tranquillity with which M. De Bussière persevered in
trying to convince him; he could not understand that union of serenity
(which religion alone inspires) with that ardent desire (that he
doubtless attributed to obstinacy) of leading him to a new belief, for
which, according to his own words, he felt more aversion than ever. To
him this tranquillity appeared incomprehensible. M. De Bussière did
not hesitate to express his belief in the triumph of his cause; for
instance, in passing the _Scala Sancta_ with the young Israelite, as
he pointed it out he bared his head respectfully and said aloud, as
if in a voice of prophecy, "Hail, holy staircase! here is a man who
one day will ascend your steps on his knees." This was on the 19th.
M. Ratisbonne's only response was a disconcerting peal of laughter,
and the two friends separated again, without the slightest religious
impression having been made upon the Israelite, although, unknown to
human ken, he was on the eve of the brightest day of his life.

During this short interval, M. De Bussière tasted the bitterness of
losing one of his dearest friends. M. De La Ferronays died suddenly on
the evening of the 17th, leaving to his family and all who knew him
the sweet hope that he had bid adieu to this perishable life only to
enter upon the joys of a blissful immortal one. Doubtless this event
contributed to the young Israelite's speedy conversion, for whilst on
earth M. De La Ferronays had prayed for him, and we have every reason
to believe that he soon became his advocate in heaven. M. De Bussière
had informed this dear friend of his hopes and the means employed for
gaining the young Israelite to Jesus Christ, and he had received the
consoling answer: "Do not be uneasy; if you have succeeded in making
him say the _Memorare_, he is yours." ... Such was the admirable
confidence of this fervent Christian in the powerful protection of the
most compassionate Virgin Mary!

Yet notwithstanding the bitterness of the sacrifice Heaven had just
demanded of the Baron De Bussière, he found it hard to part from this
young man whom he longed to conquer to the Faith, and the resignation
of his grief was a new prayer attracting the Divine mercy. Immediately
after leaving him on the 19th, he went to prostrate himself beside the
remains of his virtuous friend, begging that friend's assistance from
the heights of heaven in obtaining what had been already recommended to
his prayers on earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thursday, 20th.--M. Ratisbonne's dispositions are not changed in the
least; he never raises his thoughts above terrestrial things, the
religious discussions of the preceding days have not even fixed his
attention, or apparently not excited in his soul the slightest anxiety.
As to his false belief, he never dreams of taking one step towards a
knowledge of the truth; M. De Bussière is not with him to continue the
conversation on religion, and he dismisses the subject from his mind.
Leaving the café, he meets one of his fellow-boarders; they discourse
of balls and other frivolous amusements in such a way as to convince
one that he was surely not engrossed with anything serious. It was then
noon, and two hours later the young Jew had seen the light, two hours
later he eagerly desired the grace of holy baptism, two hours later he
believed in the Church!... Who is like to Thee, O my God? Who can thus,
in an instant, triumph over human reason, and force it to render homage
to Thy sovereign truth?... Ah! it is Thyself, Thyself alone, Lord, it
is the prerogative of Thy mercy to work such prodigies! Let us return
to our Israelite.

It is one o'clock; M. De Bussière must repair to the church of
St. Andrew delle Fratte to make some arrangements for the funeral
ceremonies of M. De La Ferronays, which take place on the morrow. He
sets out, and on the way happily meets M. Ratisbonne, who joins him,
with the intention of taking one of their usual walks, when M. De
Bussière had fulfilled the imperative duty that required his immediate
attention.... But the moment of grace has come. They enter the church,
where various decorations already announce the morrow's ceremonies;
the Israelite inquires the meaning of them, and M. De Bussière, having
replied that they were for the funeral obsequies of M. De La Ferronays,
the intimate friend he had just lost, begs him to wait there an
instant, whilst he goes into the house to execute a commission with
one of the monks. M. Ratisbonne then glances coolly around the church,
seeming to say by his air of indifference, that it is not worth his
attention. We must remark that he was then at the epistle side of
the altar. M. De Bussière returns after an absence of about twelve
minutes, and is surprised at not seeing his young companion. Could he
have grown weary of waiting in a place that inspired only repugnance
and disgust?... He knew not, and sought M. Ratisbonne. What was his
astonishment at finding him on the left hand side of the church,
kneeling, and apparently wrapt in devotion!... He could scarcely
believe his eyes, and yet it was no mistake.... It was in the chapel
of the archangel St. Michael that the prince of darkness had just been
crushed.... A great victory already rejoiced all Heaven.... The young
Jew was vanquished.

M. De Bussière approaches, but he is not heard; he touches his
friend, but he cannot distract him; he touches him again, but still
no response; he repeats it a third or fourth time, and at last M.
Ratisbonne turns to answer, and his tearful countenance, his utter
inability to express what has passed, his hands clasped most fervently,
partly reveal the heavenly secret. "Oh! how M. De La Ferronays has
prayed for me!" he exclaims. This is all he says. Never did M. De
Bussière enjoy a more consoling surprise. The bandage of error blinding
the young Israelite had fallen, and M. De Bussière's heart was filled
with the most lively gratitude to God.... He raises his young friend,
who was completely overcome by this celestial visitation; he takes
him and almost carries him out of the church.... He is all eagerness
to know the details.... He asks M. Ratisbonne to reveal the mystery,
and begs him to say where he wishes to go. "Lead me," replies the new
Paul, completely vanquished, "lead me where you will.... After what
I have seen, I obey." ... And not being able to say more, he draws
forth the unknown treasure he had been wearing upon his heart for four
days. He takes the dear medal in his hands, he covers it with kisses,
he waters it abundantly with tears of joy, and amidst his sobs escape
a few words expressive of his happiness, but which a profound emotion
almost prevents his articulating. "How good is God! What a plentitude
of gifts! What joy unknown! Ah! how happy I am, and how much to be
pitied are they who do not believe!" And continuing to shed torrents
of tears over the miseries of those whom Faith has never enlightened,
he already feels the holy desire of seeing the kingdom of Jesus Christ
extended throughout the world. He can scarcely himself understand such
a transformation, and amidst the various feelings surging through his
heart, he interrupts his tears, his exclamations and his silence, to
ask M. De Bussière if he does not think him crazy.... Then answering
his own question, "No," he continues: "I am not crazy.... I know well
what I think and what passes within me.... I know that I am in my right
mind.... Moreover, everybody knows that I am not crazy!" By degrees,
these first transports of emotion give place to a more composed frame
of mind; he can at last express his new desires, his new belief, and
he asks to be conducted to the feet of a priest, for he craves the
grace of holy baptism.... Already favored with the most lively Faith,
he aspires after the happiness of confessing his Divine Master in the
midst of torments and recalling the sufferings of the martyrs he had
seen represented upon the walls of St. Étienne le Rond; he wishes to
shed his blood in attestation of his Faith as a disciple of Jesus
Christ.... Meanwhile, he has told M. De Bussière nothing of the sudden
blow that vanquished him, and he refuses to tell except in the presence
of God's minister; "for what he saw he ought not, he could not reveal
except on his knees."

Father De Villefort, of the Society of Jesus, is chosen to receive
the neophyte and hear this consoling secret, which will reveal the
excess of Divine mercy towards the soul of the young Israelite. M. De
Bussière himself conducts him to the Reverend Father, who welcomes him
tenderly.... Then, in the presence of M. De Bussière, M. Ratisbonne
takes in his hand the medal, the dear pledge of the Immaculate Mary's
protection, and again covers it with respectful kisses, mingled with a
shower of tears. He endeavors to overcome his emotion, and exclaims in
a transport of joy: "I have seen her! I have seen her!" Conquering his
feelings, he continues his narration, interrupted from time to time by
the sighs of an overburdened heart.

    "I had been in the church but an instant, when suddenly I was
    seized with an inexplicable fear. I raised my eyes, the whole
    edifice had disappeared from my view, one chapel alone had,
    as it were, concentrated all the light, and in the midst
    of this effulgence there appeared standing upon the altar the
    Virgin Mary, grand, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness,
    such as she is represented upon the medal--an irresistible
    force impelled me to her. The Virgin made me a sign with her
    hand to kneel, and she seemed to say: 'It is well.' She did not
    speak to me, but I understood all."


_To M. Ratisbonne, January 20, 1842, in the Church of St. Andrew,
delle Fratte, in Rome. "She did not speak one word to me," said M.
Ratisbonne, "but I understood it all._"]

He ceased, but this short account eloquently revealed the abundant
favors with which his soul had just been inundated. Reverend Father De
Villefort and the pious baron listened with a holy joy, mingled with an
involuntary feeling of religious awe, at thoughts of the infinite power
which had just triumphed by such a striking manifestation of mercy....
The mystery was revealed, but M. Ratisbonne, now the disciple of the
most humble of Masters, a God annihilated, expressed a wish to have the
wonderful vision kept a profound secret; he even earnestly entreated
that it should be, but Father De Villefort considered it wiser not
to yield to the neophyte's modesty, God's glory, the Immaculate
Mary's honor, demanding that such a miracle should be proclaimed. M.
Ratisbonne's humility gave way to obedience. In the brief narration
just quoted, one thing especially had struck the Reverend Father,
"She did not speak to me, but I understood all!" What, then, had he
understood, he who, having hitherto lived in the shades of darkness,
found himself in an instant instructed in heavenly knowledge? What,
then, had he understood, he who was suddenly recalled from the bosom of
death which he loved, to a new life which but a short time previous he
had solemnly declared he would ever ignore, 'a Jew he was born and a
Jew he would die?' What had he understood, he the young Jew, so lately
headstrong in his belief, an avowed enemy of Catholicity, but who now
humbly prostrates himself at the feet of our Lord's minister to retract
his words and renounce his own will, for he declares that, after what
he has seen, he obeys?... What has he understood? What has he seen? He
has seen the Mother of divine grace, the bright aurora of the Sun of
Justice; he has understood the gift of God, the eternal truth ... the
unity of the Church, its infallibility, the sanctity of its morals, the
sublimity of its mysteries, the grandeur and elevation of its hopes....
He has understood Heaven, and henceforth everything is changed for
him, everything is renewed within him, he is no longer the same. His
desires, projects, thoughts, earthly affections, where are they in the
brilliancy of this celestial radiance? Vain prejudices of error, where
are they?... The Immaculate Mother of Jesus has rent asunder the band
that veiled the young Israelite's eyes, and the shades of error are
dissipated, the blind man sees the light, and his joy is inexpressible,
for he knew not till then the true gifts, the blessings promised the
children of the true Church.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. Ratisbonne had heretofore been completely ignorant of the truths
of Catholicity, he acknowledges that he had never read even one book
calculated to enlighten him on the subject, his hatred of Christianity
kept him aloof from all that might change his views in regard to it.
He blasphemed without examining the object of his blasphemy, he judged
without hearing, he despised without investigating.... And behold!
in spite of himself, in an instant, in defiance of all his past
protestations, he bends, he falls, he is conquered!

Rejoice, O Mary! for the dew of grace has not descended upon an
ungrateful soil.... No; not in vain at your mysterious school has he
learned all this privileged soul of your love, this heart that your
incomparable beauty, your ineffable bounty have vanquished for Jesus

We see, indeed, that, from the moment his eyes are opened to the
light, he adores the mysteries he formerly despised, loves what he
hated, venerates what he ridiculed, and proves himself as humble
and submissive to the Church as the most fervent Christian. That
very day, he goes to the basilica of St. Mary Major, in tribute of
gratitude to her who had just descended from Heaven, to bring him the
gift of Faith, and its attendant blessings; thence he repairs to St.
Peter's, to declare in that sanctuary dedicated to the Prince of the
Apostles, his belief in the truths that Peter taught. M. De Bussière,
who found a pious delight in offering to God this conquest of grace,
accompanied him on his holy pilgrimage, and conversed intimately with
him, they had but one heart and one soul. A new Paul, Ratisbonne, in
what he experienced, at the moment the Blessed Virgin gently forced
him to prostrate himself at her feet, to receive the light of Heaven,
recognized the strength of Him who vanquished His persecutors.... The
profound emotion, the holy awe that filled the neophyte on entering
a church, declared more fully the secrets that had been revealed to
him.... Penetrated with the liveliest faith for the great Sacrament
of love, he could not approach the altar, he was overwhelmed at the
thought of the Real Presence of the God who resides in the Most
Holy Sacrament. He considered himself unworthy to appear in this
august Presence, as he was yet stained with original sin, and M. De
Bussière relates, that he took refuge in a chapel, consecrated to the
Blessed Virgin, exclaiming: "I have no fears here, for I feel myself
under the protection of a boundless mercy." O Mary! you opened your
maternal heart, and there he concealed himself, knowing that divine
justice yields to mercy, when the guilty soul has found and invoked
with confidence the Refuge of Sinners.... So great was the fervent
neophyte's happiness when in the temple of the Lord, that he was unable
to find words expressive of his happiness. "Ah!" said he in a holy
transport, "how delightful it is to be here! How great reason have
Catholics to love their churches and to frequent them! How zealous
they should be in ornamenting them! How sweet to spend a lifetime in
these holy places! They are truly not of earth but of Heaven!" Ah! are
we not confounded and abashed by the fervor of him who has just been
born into the truth! What would he think of the coldness, the levity,
the ingratitude of the majority of Christians?... Let us acknowledge
it to our confusion; there is a Host who dwells in our midst, and
whom we know not; we who eat at His table, who feed upon His own
flesh, the Bread descended from Heaven, and behold! a young Israelite,
instructed but a few hours in the wonders of God's love, teaches us how
we must conduct ourselves in the presence of this Host, and with what
sentiments our hearts should then be filled.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next day, the news of this wonderful conversion had spread through
Rome; every one was anxious to learn something about it, and collected
with pious curiosity the various statements in circulation; every one
wished to see the newly converted and hear his account.... General
Chlabonski even went to M. De Bussière's house. "So you have seen the
image of the Blessed Virgin," said he, accosting the neophyte. "The
image?" answered the latter, "ah! it was no image, but herself I saw;
yes, M. her real self, just as I see you now!" We must here remark that
to the Church alone, appertains the power of judging and qualifying
this vision; but every one was impressed with the fact, that mistake
or illusion seemed impossible, considering the young Israelite's
character, education, prejudices and horror for Christianity; moreover,
in this chapel there was neither statue, picture nor any representation
whatever of the Blessed Virgin. And we love to quote here the words of
a wise man, who, referring to the event, says, "that without one grain
of exaggeration, just as it happened, just as all Rome narrates it, the
unexpected fact, the public fact of this conversion, considering all
the circumstances, would of itself be a miracle, if a miracle had not
caused it."

M. Ratisbonne reluctantly gave the details of what he had seen. When
questioned closely as to what took place at the moment he found himself
environed by this celestial effulgence, he answers ingenuously that he
could not account for the involuntary impulse causing him to leave the
right hand side of the church for the chapel on the left, especially
as he was separated from it by the preparations for the morrow's
ceremonies; that, when the Queen of Heaven appeared before him in all
the glory and brilliancy of her immaculate purity, he caught a glimpse
of her incomparable beauty, but immediately realized the impossibility
of contemplating it, that urged by the desire, three times had he
endeavored to lift his eyes to the face of this Mother of mercy, whose
sweet clemency had deigned to manifest herself to him, and three times,
in spite of himself, had his gaze been stayed at sight of the blessed
hands, whence escaped a torrent of graces. "I could not," he told us
himself after his arrival, "I could not express what I saw of mercy and
liberality in Mary's hands. It was not only an effulgence of light,
it was not rays I distinguished, words are inadequate to depict the
ineffable gifts filling our Mother's hands, and descending from them,
the bounty, mercy, tenderness, the celestial sweetness and riches,
flowing in torrents and inundating the souls she protects."

In the first moments of his conversion, M. Ratisbonne gave vent to some
of those thoughts which strongly pre-occupied him, those outpourings
of a fervent heart which happily, are still preserved. "O my God!"
he exclaimed in a transport of astonishment and gratitude, "I, who
only half an hour before was blaspheming! I, who felt such violent
hatred against the Catholic religion!... Every one of my acquaintances
knew full well, that to all human appearances, it was impossible for
me ever to think of changing my religion. My family was Jewish, my
betrothed, my uncle were Jewish. In embracing Christianity, I know that
I break away from all earthly hopes and interests.... And yet I do
it willingly; I renounce the passing happiness of a future which was
promised me; I do so without hesitation, I act from conviction; ...
for I am not crazy, and have never been; they well know it.... Who,
then, could refuse to believe me, and believe in the truth?... The most
powerful interests enchained me to my religion, and consequently all
should be convinced that a man who sacrifices everything to a profound
conviction must sacrifice to a celestial light, which has revealed
itself by incontrovertible evidence. What I have affirmed is true. I
know it, I feel it; and what could be my object in thus betraying the
truth and turning aside from religion by a sacrilegious lie?... I have
not said too much; my words must carry conviction."

The Baron De Bussière had the consolation of entertaining at his own
home the new son Heaven had given him; the young Jew remained there
until the retreat preceding his baptism. It was right and just,
indeed, that this friend should gather the first bloom of a heart
refreshed by the dew of grace, that he should be the happy witness of
the wonders wrought in that soul.... M. Ratisbonne himself had need
of a confidant, some one that understood him thoroughly, and to whom
he could communicate the emotions of his heart.... It was in moments
of sweet intimacy, when alone with his friend, that he could give
full vent to his feelings, and, in unison with him, admire the loving
designs of divine Providence, and the means that had dissipated such
deplorable errors. He bewailed the blindness in which he had lived!...
"Alas!" said he, "when my excellent brother embraced Catholicity,
and afterwards entered into the ecclesiastical state, I, of all his
relatives, was his most unrelenting persecutor.... I could not forgive
his desertion of our religion--we were at variance, at least; I
detested him, though he had none but the kindest thoughts for me....
However, at the time of my betrothal, I said to myself that I must be
reconciled to my brother, and I wrote him a few cold lines, to which
he replied by a letter full of charity and tenderness.... One of my
little nephews died about eighteen months ago. My good brother, having
learned that he was seriously ill, asked as a personal favor that the
child be baptized before its death, adding, with great delicacy, that
to us it would be a matter of indifference, whilst to himself it would
be a veritable happiness, and he hoped we would not refuse. I was
infuriated at such a request!

"I hope, oh! yes, I hope that my God will send me severe trials, which
may redound to His honor and glory, and convince all that I am actuated
by conscience...." What generosity of heart! What knowledge! His eyes
are scarcely opened to the truths of Catholicity, ere he embraces
them in their full extent.... He knows already that the cross is the
distinctive mark of the children of the Church, of God's elect, and
this cross which so many Christians drag reluctantly after them, he
greets, he awaits, he desires.... Moreover, it had been shown to him in
a very mysterious manner; for he relates that the night preceding his
conversion there was constantly before his eyes a large cross without
the Christ, that the sight really fatigued him, although he considered
it of no importance. "I made," said he, "incredible efforts to banish
this image, but in vain. It was only later, when having, by chance,
seen the reverse of the Miraculous Medal, he recognized the exact sign
which had struck him.

Divine Providence, looking with a loving eye upon this young convert,
directed his steps, and in these early days of his conversion, led
him to a venerable Father who was to give him very precious counsel,
upon the life of abnegation and perpetual sacrifice he had embraced.
This servant of the Lord, immediately lay before him the importance
of the step he had taken, the trials awaiting him, the temptation that
would most assuredly beset his path, and without fearing to shake
his constancy, he read him a few verses of the second chapter of
Ecclesiasticus, upon the trials testing the virtue of the true servant
and friend of God. With pleasure we quote here a part of this good
priest's instructions:

    "My son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in
    justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.
    Humble thy heart and endure; incline thy ear, and receive the
    words of understanding; and make not haste in the time of
    clouds. Wait on God with patience; join thyself to God and
    endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. Take
    all that shall be brought upon thee; and in thy sorrow endure,
    and in thy humiliation keep patience. For gold and silver
    are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of
    humiliation. Believe God, and He will recover thee; and direct
    thy way, and trust in Him. Keep His fear, and grow old therein."

M. Ratisbonne listened in respectful silence to these words of life; he
cherished the remembrance of them, and the eve of his baptism, he asked
the Reverend Father to put them in writing that he might meditate upon
them the rest of his days.... It was accomplished, the joys of earth
were sacrificed to the glory of bearing the cross of Jesus Christ....
He was initiated into heavenly secrets by reason of those favors the
Immaculate Mary had conferred upon him.... He already felt the strength
that God communicates to the soul, resolved to share the sorrows of its
divine Master.

Ten days elapsed between the happy moment of the young Israelite's
sudden comprehension of the truth, and his baptism. The Mother of Mercy
had brought him from Heaven, the torch of Faith; in enlightening his
intelligence, she had touched his heart; he sighed after the happy day,
when the Church would admit him among the number of her children, and
it was on the 31st of January, this tender Mother opened to him all
her treasures, clothed him with innocence, called down upon him the
plenitude of the gifts of the Spirit of love, and invited him to the
banquet of Angels that she might give him the Bread of life.

The Gésu was the church selected for this solemn ceremony. Long before
the appointed hour, it was filled with a devout, eager multitude, all
anxious to get as near as possible to the holy altar. Nothing disturbed
the beauty or serenity of the occasion, no cloud dimmed the brightness
of this heavenly festival, which inundated truly Christian hearts with
the purest joys.

M. Ratisbonne, clothed in the white robe of the catechumen, appeared
about half-past eight, accompanied by the Reverend Father Villefort,
(whose consoling duty it had been to prepare the neophyte for this
beautiful day), and the Baron De Bussière, his god-father. They
conducted him into the chapel of St. Andrew, where the touching
ceremony was to take place. An object of the most profound curiosity,
the fervent neophyte, wrapt in recollection, awaited with angelic
serenity, the solemn moment.... The pious Romans gave vent to their
feelings by words and gestures, kissing their chaplets in an effusion
of grateful love for Mary Immaculate, the cause of our joy.... They
pointed out one to another the zealous baron, whom divine Providence
had chosen to give the Miraculous Medal to the young Israelite. "He is
a Frenchman," they repeated, "He is a Frenchman! Blessed be God!"

His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar, was to receive M. Ratisbonne's
profession of Faith. He appeared at nine, clothed in his pontifical
robes, and commenced the prayers prescribed for the baptism of adults.

The prayers terminated, His Eminence went in procession with the
clergy to the foot of the church; the young Israelite was conducted
to his presence. "What do you ask of the Church of God?" "Faith,"
was the immediate answer. "What name do you wish?" "Mary," said the
neophyte, in a tone of tender gratitude; Mary, who had opened to him
the path of salvation; Mary, who was to conduct him into the new life;
Mary, who will one day introduce him into the City of the Saints,
whence she descended to lead him to the divine fold.... Then followed
his profession of Faith, his solemn promises.... He believes all,
he promises all, he accepts all, he wishes to be a Christian, he is
already one at heart.... His desires are gratified, the vivifying
waters are poured upon his head, the grace of holy baptism has invested
him with all the rights of his eternal heritage, the spirit of darkness
is confounded. Behold the child of God, the brother of Jesus Christ,
the new sanctuary of the Spirit of love, the favorite of the Queen of
Heaven, the friend of Angels and the well-beloved son of Mother Church!

It was on this occasion that the Abbé Dupanloup, who happened to be in
Rome at the time, celebrated before an immense audience the infinite
mercies of God and the Immaculate Mary's miraculous protection of a
child of France. We cannot refrain from inserting here a few fragments
of the account printed at Rome. It is well calculated to increase
devotion to Mary:

    "How admirable are the thoughts and ways of divine Providence,
    and how deplorable the lot of those who neither comprehend nor
    bless them. For such, the life of man is only a sad mystery,
    his days a fatal series of events, man himself a noble but
    miserable creature, cast far from Heaven upon this land of
    tears, to live here in perpetual darkness, to die in despair,
    oblivious of a God who heeds neither his virtues nor his
    sorrows.... But, no; Lord, Thou art not forgetful of us, and
    life is not thus; despite our infinite misery, thy Providence
    watches over us, it is far above the heavens, more boundless
    than the sea--it is an abyss of power, wisdom and love.----

    "Thou hast made us for Thyself, Lord, and our hearts are never
    at rest until they repose in Thee! We feel an insatiable need,
    which stirs the depths of our being, which consumes us, and
    when we yield to it, we inevitably find Thee!

    "I bless Thee especially, I adore Thee, when from the depths of
    Thy eternity, Thou dost remember compassionately the lowliness
    of our being, the dust of which we are fashioned; when from the
    heights of heaven, Thou dost cast a glance of pity and love
    upon the most humble of Thy children; when, according to the
    Prophet's expression, 'Thou dost move heaven and earth,' and
    work innumerable marvels to save those who are dear to Thee, to
    conquer one soul!

    "O, you, upon whom, at this moment, all eyes are bent with
    inexpressible emotion, with the tenderest love; for it is God,
    it is His mercy we love in you, in you whose presence in this
    holy place inspires these thoughts, tell us yourself what were
    your thoughts and ways, by what secret mercy the Lord pursued
    and reclaimed you?

    For who are you? What do you seek in this sanctuary? What are
    these honors you seem to bear? What is this white robe in which
    I see you clothed? Tell us whence you came and whither you
    were going? What obstacle has suddenly changed your course?
    For walking in the footsteps of Abraham, your ancestor, whose
    blessed son you are this day, like him, blindly obedient to
    the voice of God, not knowing whither your journey tends, you
    suddenly find yourself in the Holy City.... The Lord's work was
    not yet accomplished; but it is for you to describe to us the
    rising of the Sun of truth and justice upon your soul, for you
    to picture its brilliant aurora.... Tell us why you enjoy, like
    ourselves, perhaps more keenly than ourselves, the good word,
    the virtues of the future and all our most blessed hopes....
    Tell us, for we have the right to know, why you enter into
    possession of our goods as your heritage? Who has introduced
    you among us, for yesterday we knew you not, or rather we knew
    you.... Oh! yes, I shall tell all; I know the joy that will
    fill your heart at my revealing your miseries as well as the
    celestial mercies.----

    "You did not love the truth, but the truth loved you. To
    the purest and most ardent efforts of a zeal that sought
    to enlighten you, did you oppose a disdainful smile, an
    indifferent silence, a subtle response, a haughty firmness, and
    sometimes blasphemous pleasantries. O patient God! O God, who
    lovest us in spite of our miseries! Thy mercy has oftentimes
    a depth, a sublimity, a tenderness and, allow me to say it, a
    power and delicacy that are infinite!

    "Suddenly a rumor is circulated throughout the Holy City, a
    rumor that consoles all Christian hearts, he who blasphemed
    yesterday, who this morning even ridiculed the friends of
    God, has become a disciple of Christ; celestial grace has
    touched his lips, he utters now only words of benediction
    and sweetness, the most vivid lights of the evangelical law
    seem to beam from his eyes; we may say that a celestial
    unction has taught him all things. Whence does he receive this
    enlightenment of the eyes of the heart, that heart which sees
    all, which has understood all? O God! Thou art good, infinitely
    good, and I love to repeat those sweet words, so lately on the
    blessed lips of him, whose memory is henceforth ineffaceably
    impressed upon our hearts. We wept over him a few days ago,
    we still regret him, but we have dried our tears. 'Yes, Thou
    art good, and the children of men have truly called Thee the
    good God!' (Last words of M. de La Ferronays.) Thou dost set
    aside the laws of nature, Thou dost account nothing too much to
    save Thy children! When Thou dost not come Thyself, Thou dost
    send Thy angels!... O God! shall I here relate all? I ought
    to enjoin reserve upon my speech.... But who is she? _Quæ est
    ista?_ I cannot say the word, and yet I cannot be silent.

    "Hail Mary! You are full of grace; _Ave, gratia plena_, and
    from the plentitude of your maternal heart, you love to bestow
    your gifts upon us. The Lord is with you, _Dominus tecum_,
    and it is through you He is pleased to descend to us! And now
    to praise you worthily, I must borrow the images of Heaven or
    speak the inflamed language of the prophets! For, O Mary! your
    name is sweeter than the purest joys, more delightful than the
    most exquisite perfumes, more charming than the harmony of
    angels, _in corde jubilus_; more refreshing to the faithful
    heart than honeycomb to the wearied traveler, _mel in lingua_;
    more encouraging and cheering to the guilty but repentant heart
    than the evening dew to the leaves parched and shriveled by
    the mid-day sun, _ros in herba_. You are beautiful as the orb
    of night, _pulchra ut luna_; you, who guide the bewildered
    traveler; you are brilliant as the aurora, _aurora consurgens_;
    fair and pure as the morning star, _stella matutina_; and it is
    you who precede the dawn of the Sun of Justice in our hearts.

    "O Mary! I can never portray all your loveliness and grandeur,
    and it is my joy to succumb beneath the weight of so much
    glory! But since I speak in the midst of your children, your
    children who are my brothers, I shall continue to proclaim
    your praises from the depths of my heart's affection.... At
    your name, O Mary, Heaven rejoices, earth quivers with joy,
    hell fumes with impotent rage.... No, there is no creature so
    sublime or so humble, that invoking you, will perish. Those
    august basilicas, erected by the piety of mighty nations,
    those golden characters, those rich banners worked by royal
    hands, likewise the modest offerings of the sailor in your
    lowly chapels, in the crevices of the rock, on the shores of
    the sea, or even your humble picture which martyr's hands have
    traced upon the catacombs, all attest your power in appeasing
    the tempests of divine wrath, and attracting upon us heavenly

    "O Mary, I have seen the most savage wilds of nature smile
    at your name and blossom into beauty; the pious inhabitants
    of the deserts celebrate your glory, the mountain echoes,
    the torrent billows, vie with one another in repeating your
    praises. I have seen great cities bring forth and cherish,
    under the shadow of your name, the purest and most noble
    virtues. I have seen youth, with generous impulse, confident
    ardor, and the inexpressible charm of virtue irradiating its
    countenance, prefer your name and the happiness of celebrating
    your festivals to all the enchantments of the world and its
    most brilliant destinies! I have seen old men, after a godless
    life of sixty or eighty years, rise upon their couch of pain,
    to remember at the sound of your name the God who had blessed
    their early infancy; you were to them as a pledge of security
    and of peaceful entrance into the Eternal City! O Mary, who are
    you then? _Quæ est ista?_ You are the Mother of our Saviour,
    and Jesus, the fruit of your womb, is the God blessed from
    all eternity. You are our Sister, _soror nostra es_; though a
    child of Adam like ourselves, you have not participated in our
    sad heritage, and our woes excite your deepest and most tender

    "O Mary! you are the masterpiece of the Divine power! You are
    the most touching invention of God's goodness! I could not say
    more--you are the sweetest smile of His mercy! O God, give eyes
    to those who have them not--eyes that they may see Mary and
    understand the beautiful light of her maternal glance; and to
    those who have no heart give one, that they may love Mary; for
    from Mary to the Word Eternal, to the Beauty ever ancient and
    ever new, to that uncreated Light which strengthens the feeble
    sight and appeases every desire of our souls, from Mary to
    Jesus, from the Mother to the Son, there is but a step!----

    "Our dearly beloved brother--and I am happy to be the first
    to call you thus--behold under what favorable auspices you
    enter this new Jerusalem, the tabernacle of the Lord, 'the
    Church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of
    truth. But before delivering your heart to these emotions of
    joy, there is one severe lesson it should learn this day; and
    since I am destined to be the first to announce to you the
    words of the Gospel, I shall conceal from you nothing of the
    austerity it inculcates. 'You have understood all,' you say;
    but let me ask if you have understood the mystery of the cross.
    Ah! be careful, for it is the foundation of Christianity. I
    speak now not only of that blessed cross which you lovingly
    adore, because it places before your eyes Jesus crucified in
    expiation of your sins, but borrowing the emphatic language of
    an ancient apologist of our Faith, I shall say to you: 'This is
    no question of the cross that is sweet for you to adore, but
    of the cross to which you must soon submit.' _Ecce cruces jam
    non adorandæ, sed subeundæ._ Behold what you must understand if
    you are a Christian and what baptism must disclose to you!...
    Moreover, in vain would I endeavor to dissimulate the truth, by
    saying that your future may reveal no crosses; I see them in
    store for you. No doubt, we must venerate them afar off, but
    it is infinitely better to bend beneath their weight when laid
    upon us, and courageously carry them. I shall be mistaken, if
    the evangelic virtues are not increased and fortified in your
    soul by patience. And blessed be God for it! You have been
    introduced into Christianity through Mary and the Cross!...
    It is an admirable mode of introduction! And again I repeat,
    blessed be God for it! For I say to you, He has given you
    ears to hear and a heart to feel this language! Son of the
    Catholic Church you will share your Mother's destiny! Look
    at Rome, Rome where you have just been born into the Church;
    her heritage here below, is always to combat and always to
    triumph. Moreover, nothing astonishes her; and after eighteen
    centuries of combats and victories, it is here, in the centre
    of Catholic unity, at the foot of the Apostolic See, that focus
    whence daily emanate the most vivid and purest rays of Faith,
    piercing the shades of paganism, error and Judaism, that the
    Church has poured over your forehead the beneficent water of
    celestial regeneration. What do I say? It is Peter himself, the
    Moses of the new law, worthily represented by the first Vicar
    of his august Successor, who has struck for you the mysterious
    rock, the immovable stone. _Petra erat Christus_, whence gush
    forth those waters springing up unto eternal life.

    "But I have said enough; I retard your happiness. Heaven, at
    this moment, regards you with love, the earth blesses you
    and Jesus Christ awaits you; go forward then; angels have
    commenced the feast, and the friends of God continue it with
    you here below! And even he who seems dead in our eyes, and
    whose heart is living in the hand of the Lord! you know him,
    his supplications and prayers have been poured forth in your
    behalf; the solemn moment has now arrived! Abraham, Isaac,
    Israel, the patriarchs and prophets from their heavenly abode
    encourage you, and Moses blesses you, because the law in your
    heart has developed into the Gospel; mercy and truth sustain
    you, justice and peace attend you, repentance and innocence
    crown you.... And finally, it is Mary who receives and protects

    "O Mary! it is a necessity and a duty for us to repeat once
    more this prayer, this cherished prayer, and I know that not
    one of all the multitude here assembled, but will fervently
    repeat it with me: 'Remember, O most pious Virgin Mary, that
    no one ever had recourse to thy protection, implored thy aid
    or sought thy mediation, without obtaining relief. Groaning
    under the weight of our sins, we come, O Virgin of virgins, to
    cast ourselves in thy arms, and do most humbly supplicate thee.
    O Mother of the Eternal Word, to remember the just, remember
    sinners, remember those who know thee, and those who know thee
    not; remember our woes and thy mercy.' I shall not say remember
    this young man, for he is thy child, the sweet and glorious
    conquest of thy love, but I shall say, remember all those dear
    ones for whom he offers this day, the first prayers of his
    Catholic heart; restore them to him in time and eternity.----

    "And since I am a stranger here (no, let me recall my words,
    no one is a stranger in Rome, every Catholic is a Roman), but
    since we were both born on the soil of France, I think my
    prayers find an echo in the hearts of all who hear me, when I
    say: remember France, she is still the home of noble virtues,
    generous souls, heroic love.... Restore to the Church in France
    her pristine beauty."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Holy Sacrifice terminated the imposing ceremony. Our new Christian,
overwhelmed beneath the weight of so many favors, had to be assisted
to the Holy Table, where he received the Bread of Angels as the seal
of his celestial alliance. Inundated with happiness, the tears gushed
from his eyes, and after receiving, it was necessary to assist him
to his place.... A number of pious Christians participated in the
divine banquet, to which the Church so tenderly invites all her happy
children, and the admirable spectacle of a blessed union with their new
brother, was another edifying episode of this memorable day.

The _Te Deum_ which followed, that most fervent hymn of gratitude,
arising from every heart and mingling with the sound of all the
bells, was not less impressive. "I pray God," wrote a witness of this
ceremony, "never to let the memory of what I experienced during these
three hours be effaced from my heart; such an impression is, beyond
doubt, one of the most precious graces a Christian soul can ever

Clothed with innocence, enriched with the gifts of Heaven, admitted
to its joys, buried in the sweet transports of gratitude and love, M.
Ratisbonne could not relinquish immediately his dear solitude. He had
made one retreat, as a preparation for the reception of these three
grand Sacraments, and he was filled with ineffable consolation; feeling
now the necessity, the imperative duty of returning thanks to his
Benefactor, he wished to commence a second retreat, so that afar from
the world, he might be deaf to the confused noises of its frivolous
joys, and amidst the silence of a sweet peace, celebrate the Lord's
magnificence, chant hymns of gratitude, taste in secret and at leisure
the gifts which had been imparted to him, and the new treasures he

Another grand consolation was in store for him. He sighed after the
happy moment when he could prostrate himself at the feet of the
Sovereign Pontiff, and there testify his submission to and love for
that holy Church who had just admitted him into the number of her
cherished children. An audience was granted him. The two friends, M.
Ratisbonne and the Baron de Bussière, were conducted into the presence
of His Holiness by the reverend Father General of the Society of Jesus.
Having bent the knee three times before the Vicar of Jesus Christ, they
received in unison, that holy and desirable benediction, which many
pious Christians esteem themselves happy in obtaining, after long and
wearisome journeys. They were welcomed with truly paternal tenderness
by the venerable Pontiff, who conversed some time with them, and loaded
them with tokens of his favor. M. Ratisbonne knew not how to express
his admiration for the great simplicity, humility and goodness of this
worthy Successor of the Prince of the Apostles. "He was so exceedingly
kind," has M. Ratisbonne told me several times since, "as to take
us into his chamber, where he showed me near his bed, a magnificent
picture of my dear medal, a picture for which he has the greatest
devotion. I had procured quite a number of Miraculous Medals. His
Holiness cheerfully blessed them for me, and these are the weapons I
shall use in conquering souls for Jesus Christ and Mary."

The Holy Father crowns all his favors, by presenting M. Ratisbonne
a crucifix, a precious souvenir which the young Christian will ever
cherish, clinging to it in his combats and his sorrows, as a weapon
that must assure him the victory over hell. A new soldier of Jesus
Christ, he needs no other arms than the cross and Mary Immaculate,
signal protectors that will guide him in the ways of justice, and one
day, usher him into the light of eternal felicity.

Shortly after his second retreat, M. Ratisbonne made preparations for
his return to France, and bade adieu to the Holy City, though not
without the sweet hope of again offering there his tribute of fervent
thanksgiving. We have seen and conversed with him many times. The first
emotions of a boundless and almost unparalled happiness are past,
but the fruits remain; daily does the precious gift of Faith strike
deeper root into this soul regenerated by the waters of holy Baptism;
and the divine life, which was communicated to him on the day of his
baptism, our new brother nourishes by the frequent reception of the
Holy Eucharist, and a withdrawal from all worldly society; for whilst
awaiting the manifestations of the Lord's will in regard to his future,
he feels the necessity of preserving, in the secrecy of a peaceful and
recollected life, the treasures he has received.

M. Ratisbonne's conversion, publicly styled a miracle, excited too much
interest and comment for the Holy See to allow it to pass unnoticed.
The Sovereign Pontiff ordered a canonical examination according to the
rules of the Church. The Cardinal Vicar prescribed an investigation.
Nine witnesses were examined; all the circumstances weighed, and
after a favorable conclusion, the most eminent Cardinal Patrizzi,
"pronounced and declared the 3d of June, 1842, that the instantaneous
and perfect conversion of Alphonse Marie Ratisbonne, from Judaism to
Catholicity, was a true and incontrovertible miracle, wrought by the
most blessed and powerful God, through the intercession of the Blessed
Virgin Mary. For the greater glory of God and the increase of devotion
to the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Eminence deigns to permit the account
of this signal miracle, not only to be printed and published but also
authorized."--A picture commemorative of the apparition of the Blessed
Virgin to M. Ratisbonne, a representation of the Virgin of the medal,
was placed in the chapel of St. Andrew's Church, where the miracle had
taken place.

A few days after his return to France, M. Ratisbonne, in token of
his gratitude, and with the intention of obtaining his family's
conversion, felt urged to erect a chapel under the invocation of Mary
Immaculate, in the Providence orphanage of the Faubourg St. Germain,
Paris. The laying of the corner stone took place May 1st, 1842, and
the sanctuary was finished and dedicated May 1st, 1844, with great
solemnity, in the presence of the founder of the house, M. Desgenettes,
curé of Notre Dame des Victoires, the Baron de Bussière, M. Étienne,
Superior General of the Priests of the Mission and daughters of
Charity, M. Eugène Boré, then a simple layman, but afterwards M.
Étienne's immediate successor, the abbé de Bonnechose, later an
Archbishop and Cardinal, and many other distinguished persons.

The pious convert often repaired to this sanctuary to mingle his
prayers with those of the Daughters of Charity and their dear orphans;
and many times has he also enjoyed the ineffable consolation of
celebrating the Holy Sacrifice and thanking his celestial Benefactress,
before the beautiful picture of the Immaculate Conception placed above
the high altar, as a souvenir of the miracle of St. Andrew delle
Fratte, for M. Ratisbonne is now a priest. Not content with leading a
pious life in the world, he has renounced forever the joys and hopes
of time to embrace the ecclesiastical state, which consecrated him
unreservedly to God. For several years past he has been associated with
his beloved brother Theodore in the order of Our Lady of Sion, the
object of which congregation is the conversion of Israelites.


_Graces Obtained from 1843 to 1877, in France, Germany, Italy, America._


This account was sent us in the month of January, 1877, by the very
person who was cured:

    "About the 15th of December, 1843, a little girl, Zénobie de
    M., just one year old, was attacked, at the same time, by
    water on the chest, a disease of the bowels, and cerebral
    congestion. Dr. Flandrin, a friend of the family was called in
    immediately, and gave the child every attention, but his skill
    was powerless, and the family was plunged in the deepest grief.
    The child's eldest sister alone cherished a faint hope in the
    depths of her heart; she had intended consecrating herself to
    God in a religious state, and had always regarded the birth
    of this little one as a gift of Providence, sent to take her
    place in the family, and console her afflicted parents. God
    will not, she thought, take back the child. In her room was a
    picture representing the apparition of the Miraculous Medal;
    she knelt before it, begging the child's recovery, and renewing
    her promises of embracing a religious life should the petition
    be granted. This generous offering she kept a secret. A little
    while after, the doctor came and declared the child's case
    hopeless, and moreover, its recovery not desirable as it would
    remain imbecile, paralyzed or blind. He proposed, however, a
    consultation with M. Blache, physician of the Necker hospital,
    who prescribed energetic treatment, but said, 'this child
    cannot live.'

    The poor mother, deeming it inadvisable to cause the little
    creature unnecessary suffering, gently laid it in the cradle,
    saying with the faith and resignation seen in none but a
    Christian mother: 'The Lord gave it to me, the Lord wishes
    to take it away, may His holy will be accomplished!' In the
    afternoon, one of the aunts came to accompany the elder sister
    to church, and whilst their prayers ascended to the Most
    High, more for the mother than the child, this mother obeys
    spontaneously a supernatural impulse, and taking the Miraculous
    Medal as a last hope, she applies it to the body of the child,
    and repeats with confidence the invocation: 'O Mary! conceived
    without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!' The
    plaintive cries ceased, and when M. Flandrin came that evening
    to see if the little one were still alive, he was greatly
    surprised to perceive a faint improvement since morning, the
    whole body covered with a gentle perspiration, and the little
    paralyzed arm able to move in any direction. 'But what a pity,'
    said he, 'the child will be blind,' which indeed it seemed to
    be already, as a light passed several times before its eyes
    produced no effect whatever.

    "The mother who had not yet mentioned her secret, waited until
    all had left the room, then taking her dear medal, she lay it
    upon her infant's eyes and repeated the invocation. After a
    sound sleep of about twenty-four hours, little Zénobie awoke,
    recognizing all around her, and smiling upon all, her sight was

    "The child's father, penetrated with faith and piety, said:
    'Assuredly, God alone has restored our child to us; henceforth,
    she shall be called Marie, that she may ever bear in mind
    to whom she is indebted for life.' An attack of measles now
    supervened and finished the work, according to the doctor, by
    absorbing the water on the brain, and throwing out upon the
    surface of the skin the heretofore internal malady. A small
    gold cross, having engraven upon it the memorable date of this
    miraculous cure, was hung around the neck of little Marie, who
    is now a Daughter of St. Vincent de Paul."


Letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of Charity, at the
Hospital of Gratz (Austria), 1860:

    After the war in Italy, a Polish regiment passed through Gratz;
    the captain, attacked by a violent hemorrhage, was obliged
    to stop at the general hospital, in charge of the Daughters
    of Charity. Their constant and unremitting attentions did
    not retard the progress of the disease, and his life was in
    imminent danger.

    Full of consideration, gratitude and politeness for those
    who nursed him, he nevertheless expressed great displeasure
    whenever they approached him on the subject of religion; he
    had requested to be spared the visits of the chaplain of the
    regiment, and as to the hospital chaplain, he dared not present
    himself. It was necessary to keep the patient very quiet, and
    avoid all worry, for the least excitement might cause a mortal

    A Sister, who had been watching by his couch one night, left,
    in mistake, a little book containing an account of favors
    obtained through the Blessed Virgin's intercession. The sick
    man took the book and read a few pages; another Sister coming
    into his room, he showed her a passage, and said, putting his
    hand to his forehead with a significant gesture: "Here, Sister,
    just read this nonsense; as for myself, I cannot understand
    how any one can write such books--if I may dare, let me beg you
    to take this away."

    Vain was every effort to reach his heart by pleasant
    distractions, by engaging his attention or his interest; he
    was insensible to all. A few days after the occurrence just
    mentioned, a Sister ventured to offer him a medal of the
    Blessed Virgin suspended to a cord, so that he might wear it
    if he wished. He was too polite to refuse the present, but he
    let it remain just where the Sister had put it. His servant,
    though a devout Christian, dared not speak to him of receiving
    the Sacraments, and, although the patient expected to leave the
    hospital soon, it was very evident to all else that the fever
    was daily sapping his strength and rapidly conducting him to
    the tomb. Much grieved at his condition, and especially his
    impenitence, the Sisters determined to make one last effort
    to save this soul. And what was it? They wrote the Blessed
    Virgin a note, as follows: "Grant that, by some means, most
    holy Mother, he may accept your medal, prepare him yourself to
    receive the Sacraments, and assist him at the hour of death.
    O Mary! conceived without sin, pardon our temerity, we attach
    this note to your statue, and leave it there till you deign to
    hear our prayers."

    The chief physician of the hospital said, one day, to the
    Sister on leaving this patient's room: "The captain will die
    without the Sacraments, he seems inflexible." "Oh! as to that,"
    she replied, "the Blessed Virgin will not fail to overcome his
    obstinacy." Three or four days elapsed; one morning the sick
    man requested the Sister to put the medal around his neck,
    which she did most joyfully. In the afternoon, he called her
    again: "Sister," said he, "I beg you to send for the chaplain
    of my regiment to hear my confession, so that to-morrow I may
    receive the Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction." The worthy
    priest was happy to answer the summons; he remained a long time
    with the sick man, and next morning, after celebrating Mass at
    the altar of the Immaculate Conception, he administered to him
    the Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction. We were all edified at
    the dying man's piety. He cherished his medal with religious
    fidelity, often asking for it and kissing it tenderly. A few
    days after receiving the Last Sacraments, he rendered his
    soul to God, saved, as we have every reason to hope, by the
    intercession of Mary conceived without sin.


A letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of Charity at Issoudun,

    In the month of August, 1862, a young man aged twenty-nine, and
    who had been married several years, was dying of consumption.
    Vainly did his friends endeavor to turn his thoughts to
    eternity; every idea of religion seemed extinguished in his
    heart, and he positively refused to see the priest. A pious
    acquaintance informed the Sisters of his deplorable state;
    one of them went immediately to see him. She met with a cool
    reception, but was not the least disconcerted, and spoke to him
    very kindly, proposing to send him a physician, and adding,
    that she would supply all necessary medicines and nourishment.
    "I need neither doctors nor medicines," was the reply, "I am
    going to die, and I ask only that you will let me die in
    peace." His poor wife, who was present, holding their little
    child in her arms, said to him with tears: "Accept Sister's
    offer, and perhaps you will recover," but he made no answer;
    and the Sister now turning to his wife, endeavored to console
    her, by promising to send the doctor and return soon herself.
    The doctor came and met with no better reception. In a few days
    the Sister presented herself again, and was received as before,
    all her advances eliciting no response save a frigid silence;
    but naught discouraged, she returned day after day, though her
    reception was always the same. As the young man grew worse,
    the Sister's prayers increased, and she felt inspired to offer
    him a medal of the Immaculate Conception, still hoping that
    the good God would lead back to the fold, this poor strayed
    sheep. "I accept a medal!" he exclaimed vehemently, "and what
    do you wish me to do with it? It would suit my wife or child
    well enough, but as for myself, I want no medals!" The Sister
    withdrew from the contest for the time, but not discouraged,
    she returned to the charge next morning. "Ah," said she
    pleasantly, "you are going to take the medal to-day?" "You know
    what I told you yesterday," he answered, "besides, Sister,
    I am afraid of becoming imbued with your sentiments should
    I accept it, for I perceive that you are much more unhappy
    than I care about being." A ray of happiness illumined the
    Sister's countenance, for she knew that he who fears is already
    conquered. After plying her with questions about religion, he
    concluded thus: "After all, death will be a great relief to
    me; I have twice made an unsuccessful attempt at committing
    suicide. I suffer so much that I desire nothing but to die as
    soon possible." Next day, the Sister asked her Superioress to
    visit him and offer him the medal. She did so, and he not only
    accepted it, but at last consented to see the priest. When our
    Sister next saw him he was completely changed, and expressed
    his joy at the priest's visit, and his desire of seeing him
    soon again. "Sister," said he, "I am too miserable, I wish to
    be like you." The priest did not delay his second coming, and
    the poor, suffering creature, having made his confession, asked
    for Holy Communion, which he had not received for many years,
    but this favor was denied him, his throat being so inflamed
    that he could swallow only a few drops of liquid. His last days
    were sanctified by the most admirable resignation; no one ever
    heard him utter a complaint, he asked for one thing only, the
    visits of the priest and Sister, which alone seemed to afford
    him any consolation. And on the Feast of All Saints, evincing
    every mark of a sincere conversion, he breathed his last.


A Letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of Charity, at the
Hospital of Beuthen (Prussian Poland)--1865:

    There was brought to our hospital, a young man of notoriously
    bad character. He entered our doors blaspheming, and as the
    physician had told the Sister that he had but a few days to
    live, she essayed a few words of piety and consolation, to turn
    his attention to the state of his soul; but he answered her by
    maledictions. At last, one day she said to him, "My friend,
    since you will not listen to me, I will ask my Superioress
    herself to come." "Let her come," was his reply, "if she were
    to tell me to hang myself, I would obey her, but as for
    confession, she may talk about that as much as she pleases,
    I shall never yield." These words were followed by so many
    blasphemies, that it was with a very heavy heart the poor
    Sister sought her Superioress. "Have you given him a medal?"
    said the latter. "A medal!" was the reply, "he would throw it
    away." "Ah, well, we must put one under his pillow and trust to
    prayer, for it is useless to talk to him; tell him only that I
    say he is not worthy of going to confession, and I forbid his
    doing so."

    As soon as the Sister who was nursing him left the presence
    of her Superioress, the latter threw herself upon her knees
    and began to repeat that beautiful prayer, the _Remember_. In
    a very few minutes the Sister returned, this time shedding
    tears of joy. "Ah, Sister," said she, "he wishes to confess;
    as soon as I had put the medal under his pillow and recited
    the _Remember_ for him, I delivered your message." "Indeed!"
    said he, rising from his seat, "Well, I would just like to see
    the person that could prevent it; tell your Superioress that
    to-morrow morning at eight o'clock, I am going to pay the curé
    a visit."

    The Sisters felt a little troubled concerning a confession
    apparently dictated by the spirit of contradiction, but their
    fears were dissipated when the penitent returned bathed in
    tears. He had just been to Holy Communion; asking the Sisters'
    pardon for his past misconduct, he begged them to implore the
    Blessed Virgin to let him live eight days longer, that he might
    weep for his sins. This favor was granted him, and daily did he
    bedew his pillow with tears. At the end of the eight days he
    died, blessing God, and pressing the medal to his lips.


A letter from the Superioress of the Daughters of Charity, at the
Hospital of Beuthen (Prussian Poland), 1865:

    Some years ago, a young Protestant woman, belonging to a troupe
    of comedians, arrived in Beuthen with her company. The good God
    permitted that she should find lodgings in a Catholic family,
    with whom she soon essayed a controversy. "Mademoiselle," said
    the master of the house, "it would be better for you to go see
    the Sisters about these things; the Blessed Virgin has wrought
    wonders in their establishments, I am sure you would return
    fully enlightened on the subject you have been discussing."
    The young girl laughed at such a proposition; but a few days
    after, impelled by curiosity, she repaired to the hospital
    and asked for the Sister-Servant. "Invite her in," said the
    latter, who had already heard of the young actress; "no doubt,
    the Blessed Virgin has something in store for her here." After
    a few formalities of etiquette, our visitor introduced the
    subject of religion, and attempted to enter into a controversy
    with the Sister. "Alas! Mademoiselle," replied the latter, "the
    poor Daughters of Charity have neither the time nor learning
    necessary for a discussion of these subtle questions, but they
    have other arms with which to vanquish you;" and, smiling, she
    presented her disputant a little medal of the Blessed Virgin.
    "Promise me to wear this slight souvenir, it will be a constant
    reminder that we are praying for you." She allowed the Sister
    to put the medal on her neck, and retired rather pleased with
    her visit.

    From this day, the Sisters at the hospital began to recommend
    the young actress to Mary conceived without sin. Not many
    weeks after, the curé said to the Sister-Servant: "Do you
    know, Sister, that Mademoiselle M., who spent the most of
    her time promenading with gentlemen and smoking cigars, now
    comes to me for religious instruction? In a little while she
    will make her abjuration." And, indeed, it was not very long
    before she repaired to the hospital. "Sister," said she to the
    Sister-Servant, "I am going to confession to-day, and to-morrow
    I make my First Communion. On my first visit here, I was
    enraged at you. I could have fought you, and cast to the winds
    this medal that I now kiss. From the very moment you put it on
    my neck, an unaccountable change was wrought in me." Next day,
    the church was filled with Protestants and Jews, all anxious
    to witness a ceremony which had excited so much comment. After
    her reception into the Church, the young convert, on the eve of
    her departure, paid another visit to the Sister Servant, and
    the latter saw by her very countenance what great changes grace
    had wrought in this soul. "Well," said the Sister, just to try
    her, "here is a silver medal to replace yours which has become
    very black." "Oh, no," was the earnest, prompt reply, as she
    tenderly pressed her own medal, "I would not exchange this for
    any other in the world, for it is since I began to wear it my
    soul has awaked to a new life."

    Some years later, the Sister received a letter dated from
    Rome, it was from the young convert, who wrote to her as
    follows: "Sister, Providence has led me to Rome, and it is no
    longer Mlle. M. you must address, but Sister St.---- of the B.
    convent. Your desires are accomplished; I now belong entirely
    to God, as I once did to the world; the Blessed Virgin
    vanquishes souls with other arms than those of controversy."

We must add, to the praise of the young actress, that her moral
character was always irreproachable.

The Superioress of the hospital at Beuthen, in narrating these facts,
adds: "I could mention, for the greater glory of God and honor of the
Immaculate Mary, numberless incidents of this kind, but lack of time
and my weak eyes prevent my giving the details. I will say, however,
and that without the slightest exaggeration, that not a week passes
but the Blessed Virgin bestows upon our patients at the hospital some
new proof of her maternal bounty. The medal, so dear to us, is really
miraculous, and the instrument by which we snatch from destruction
souls that have cost Our Lord so much. Ah! how numberless, in this
unhappy land, the snares of the enemy of our salvation to entrap souls;
but to vanquish him, I everywhere circulate the Miraculous Medal (you
know what numbers we get), and my confidence in Mary is never deceived."


                                _New Orleans (United States), 1865._

    Among the patients at the great Charity hospital, New Orleans,
    was a very prominent Free Mason. His hatred of religion was
    displayed in a thousand ways; not only did he interdict the
    Sister who nursed him any allusion to his salvation, but
    he even habitually repaid by harsh and injurious words her
    kindness and attention to his physical sufferings. If others
    ventured to mention the subject of religion to him, they were
    received with jeers and banters. Several times was he at
    the point of death, and yet, sad to relate, his dispositions
    remained the same. At last, when the Sister saw that he had but
    a few hours to live, she stealthily slipped a Miraculous Medal
    under his bolster, and said interiorly to the Blessed Virgin:
    "My dear Mother, you know I have spared no effort to touch this
    poor man's heart, but in vain; now I abandon him to you, it
    is you who must save him; I leave him entirely in your hands,
    and shall try to divest myself of all anxiety concerning him."
    That evening, in making her rounds, she glances at him and
    learns from the infirmarian that ever since her (the Sister's)
    last visit, he had been very calm and apparently absorbed in
    thought. On inquiring of the patient himself how he felt, she
    was astonished at his polite answer, but remembering that she
    had entrusted him entirely to the Blessed Virgin's care, she
    did not venture a word about his soul, and bidding him good
    night, she left the room.

    About nine o'clock, he called the infirmarian, and asked for a
    priest; knowing his former bitterness, the infirmarian thought
    it a joke and treated it accordingly; the patient repeated his
    request, but with no better success. Then he began to weep
    and cry aloud for a priest; all the other patients were mute
    with astonishment, and the infirmarian unable to resist such
    entreaties went for the chaplain and the Sister. The dying
    man requested Baptism, which was administered immediately, as
    well as Extreme Unction, and before morning he had rendered
    his account to the Sovereign Judge. His body was interred with
    Masonic rites, but his soul, thanks to the powerful protection
    of Mary Immaculate, had been carried by angels to the bosom of
    its God.


                                _New Orleans (United States)._

    At the same hospital in New Orleans, a Sister for a long time
    had vainly endeavored to convince a Protestant of the most
    essential truths of religion, that he might receive Baptism,
    but he was deaf to all her persuasions. One day she showed him
    a Miraculous Medal, and related its origin. He appeared to
    listen somewhat attentively, but when she offered it to him,
    "Take it away," said he, in a tone of great contempt, "this
    Virgin is no more than any other woman." "I am going to leave
    it on your table," was the Sister's reply, "I am sure you will
    reflect on my words." He said nothing, but to put it out of
    sight, placed his bible over it. Every day, under the pretext
    of arranging and dusting his room, the Sister assured herself
    that the medal was still there. Several days elapsed, during
    which the patient grew worse; one night, whilst lying awake
    racked with suffering, he perceived a brilliant light around
    his bed, though the rest of the room was enveloped in darkness.
    Greatly astonished, he succeeded, in spite of his weakness, in
    rising and turning up the gas, to discover if possible, the
    cause of this mysterious light. Finding none, he returned to
    bed, and a few minutes after, he perceived that the luminous
    rays escaped from the medal. He then took it in his hands,
    and kept it there the remainder of the night. As soon as the
    Sisters' rising bell rang (which was four o'clock), he called
    the infirmarian, and begged him to tell the Sister he desired
    Baptism. The chaplain was immediately informed. "Impossible!"
    he exclaimed, for having had frequent conversations with the
    sick man, he was well aware of his sentiments, and could
    scarcely believe him in earnest. Nevertheless, he obeyed the
    summons, and finding the patient really disposed to profit by
    his ministry, he administered the Last Sacraments, and shortly
    after receiving which the poor man died, blessing God and the
    Blessed Virgin for the graces bestowed upon him.


                                    _New Orleans, (United States)._

    A poor young Protestant girl, brought to our hospital to be
    treated for a grave malady, had so great a horror of our holy
    religion, that at the very sight of a Catholic near her,
    she acted like one possessed. The presence of a Sister was
    especially irritating, and one day she even went so far as to
    spit in the Sister's face, but the latter, nothing dismayed,
    and ever hoping that the God of all mercy would change this
    wolf into a lamb, continued her kind attentions, the more
    disrespectful her patient, the more gentle and considerate
    the Sister. The latter was at last inspired with the thought
    of slipping a Miraculous Medal between the two mattresses;
    she acted upon the inspiration, and the following night the
    Immaculate Mary's image became an instrument of salvation and
    happiness to a guilty soul. Pitching and tossing upon her bed
    by reason of a high fever, the patient, in some unaccountable
    manner, found the medal, and the Sister's astonishment next
    morning at seeing her clasping it in her hands, and covering
    it with kisses, was second only to that she experienced on
    perceiving the wonderful transformation grace had wrought in
    this poor creature's soul. A supernatural light had revealed
    to her the sad state of her conscience; her criminal life
    filled her with horror, and, penetrated with regret for the
    past, she sighed only for holy Baptism. After the necessary
    instruction, she was baptized; and, during the remainder of her
    sickness, which was long and tedious, her patience and fervor
    never faltered. She persevered in these edifying sentiments,
    until a happy death placed the seal upon the graces she had
    received through the intercession of Mary Immaculate.


                                _New Orleans (United States)._

    A Protestant gentleman had spent four years at the hospital,
    sometimes in one hall, sometimes another. As his malady had
    not been very serious, no one had considered it necessary to
    speak to him concerning his soul. However, when his condition
    became more aggravated, the Sister, after invoking the Blessed
    Virgin's assistance, told him the physician considered his case
    dangerous, and she thought he ought to receive Baptism, without
    which no one could be saved. He listened attentively, then
    turning to her, said: "Sister, if I were to ask you to become
    a Protestant, would you comply with my request?" "No," was
    the decided answer. "Well, then," he continued, "rest assured
    that it is just as useless for you to attempt persuading me to
    become a Catholic."

    In spite of this positive refusal, she let no occasion pass
    without enlightening him, were it ever so little, upon some
    of the truths of religion. One day, showing him a Miraculous
    Medal, she told him he would confer a great favor on her by
    reciting the little invocation: "O Mary! conceived without
    sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" "What, Sister! a
    Catholic prayer! that is impossible, I cannot!" She said no
    more, but slipped the medal under his pillow, and there it
    remained untouched for several days, during which time she
    redoubled her attentions to the physical necessities of the
    poor patient, who gradually grew weaker. At last, one evening
    she said to him: "Well, Henry, are you not going to do what I
    asked you?" "Yes, Sister, I most earnestly desire to become a
    Catholic." The chaplain was called immediately; he had barely
    time to administer Baptism and Extreme Unction, ere the dying
    man's regenerated soul was carried by angels to the abode of
    the blessed.


                            _St. Louis (United States), 1865._

    A young man, a Methodist, arrived at the hospital in an
    extremely weak condition. The physician at once pronounced
    his case hopeless, and said he had but a few days to live.
    Consequently, the Sister's first care was for his soul.
    Questioning him, she soon learned that he believed neither in
    the efficacy nor necessity of Baptism, and all her efforts
    to induce him to receive this Sacrament were unavailing. He
    had no desire for any conversation on the subject, and his
    invariable reply to all her arguments was: "I believe in Jesus,
    that suffices; I am sure of being saved." The Sister redoubled
    her prayers, for in them lay her only hope, and time was
    precious. A good priest visited him every day; once, after a
    much longer visit than usual, he told the Sister on leaving the
    room it was impossible to do anything with that man, unless
    God wrought a miracle in his favor, and they must entreat Him
    to do so. The poor man persisted, indeed, in refusing all
    spiritual succor, though receiving gratefully the attentions
    bestowed upon his body. His strength diminished day by day,
    and he calmly awaited death; one thought alone disquieted
    him, that of never seeing his mother and dying afar from her.
    Perceiving himself on the brink of the grave, he called one of
    his companions whom he begged to be with him at that fearful
    moment, and write the particulars of it to his mother. Whilst
    he made this request, the Sister slipped a Miraculous Medal
    under his pillow, confidently believing that Mary would not let
    this soul entrusted to her perish; yet he was already in his
    agony. Two Sisters watched beside his bed till midnight, when
    obliged to retire, they left him in charge of an infirmarian
    and the young man who had promised to be with him at the hour
    of death. Apparently he had not more than half an hour to
    live, so next morning when the infirmarian came to meet the
    Sister, she was prepared for news of the patient's death, but
    to her astonishment the infirmarian exclaimed: "Come Sister,
    come see him, he is restored to life!" He then told her that
    the patient, to all appearances, had been dead an hour; that
    the friend and himself had rendered all the last duties to the
    body, having washed and dressed and prepared it for the grave;
    then the young man went to bed, and he alone remained with
    the corpse. After watching near it some time, he approached
    to bandage the jaws, but what was his fright whilst thus
    engaged, to see the dead man open his eyes! The Sister heard
    no more, but eagerly hastened to the spot, and found the man
    still breathing. With a great effort he said: "Oh! what a
    blessing that you have come!" In reply, she exhorted him to
    receive Baptism, and told him that he was indebted to the
    Blessed Virgin for this prolongation of his life. "I wish to
    be baptized," said he, and when the Sister replied that the
    priest would come, "Oh! that will be too late!" was his pitiful
    answer. The other patients now joined their entreaties to his,
    and the Sister, after reciting aloud the acts of faith, hope,
    charity and contrition, which the dying man endeavored to
    repeat, with hands clasped and eyes raised to Heaven, baptized
    him. Whilst the regenerating waters flowed upon his soul,
    transports of love and thanksgiving escaped his lips. Half
    an hour later, he closed his eyes, never to open them here
    below. All that the infirmarian related of his first death, was
    confirmed in the most positive manner, by the Protestant friend
    who had assisted in preparing him for the grave.


                                _St. Louis, (United States)._

    A Protestant named F---- was brought to our hospital in an
    advanced stage of consumption. He detested the Catholic
    religion most heartily, and received the Sisters' services
    with extreme repugnance. His physical strength diminished
    perceptibly, but his mind retained its energy and clearness.
    By degrees, the odor escaping from his decayed lungs, became
    so intolerable that all abandoned him. M. Burke, a missionary
    priest and the Sisters, being the only persons who had the
    courage to go near him, and pay any attention to his comfort.
    Yet neither priest nor Sister dare mention religion. They
    contented themselves with putting a Miraculous Medal under
    his pillow, and invoking her, who so often deigns to display
    her power in favor of those who deny it. She did not delay in
    granting their petition. A few days later, as the Protestant
    minister left the ward, after making his usual distribution of
    tracts, the sick man said to the Sister, "Sister, it is done;
    I am converted." "Ah," said the latter interiorly, "our good
    Mother has accomplished her work." And it was indeed true; for
    the patient requested a priest, was instructed, and in a few
    days received the Sacraments of Baptism, the Holy Viaticum and
    Extreme Unction, with inexpressible fervor. The very expression
    of his countenance was changed; the happiness that inundated
    his heart beaming from every feature. "Ah!" said he, "my
    sufferings are great, but I feel that I am going to Heaven;
    the truth has made me free." In these happy dispositions, he
    expired, promising that in heaven he would pray for all who had
    been instruments of his conversion.


                                _St. Louis, (United States)._

    A patient brought to the hospital in a hopeless condition,
    openly manifested his hatred of Catholicity. Yet, as he was in
    imminent danger of death, the Sister, profiting by a moment in
    which he seemed a little better disposed than usual, ventured
    to ask him if he would be baptized; he answered roughly, "No,
    that he scarcely believed in baptism, and not at all in
    Catholic baptism, that in case of his recovery, perhaps he
    would receive baptism by immersion, and become a member of some
    church, but that would never be the Catholic Church." "At any
    rate," added he, "I am not going to torment myself now about
    such things." The poor Sister having no other resource than the
    Blessed Virgin, and seeing that the young man approached his
    end, stealthily slipped a medal under his pillow. Next morning
    it was picked up by the infirmarian, who, thinking the Sister
    had dropped it accidentally, was about to return it, but the
    patient opposed him; the little image pleased his fancy, and he
    wanted to keep it himself. To quiet him, the infirmarian was
    obliged to ask Sister if the patient might have it. The request
    was granted. Towards evening some one came to the Sister with a
    message from the patient, he wished to see her. "Sister," said
    he as soon as she approached, "you have told me I could not be
    saved without Baptism; let me be baptized, for I wish to be
    saved." Filled with joy at this news, she began to instruct and
    prepare him for the ceremony. It took place next morning, and
    during the course of the day, this soul, now the child of God,
    went to repose in the bosom of its celestial Father, to bless
    and thank Him for all eternity for His mercies.


_Buffalo (United States)._

    A young Protestant girl about twenty years of age came to the
    hospital, covered from head to foot with a disgusting itch,
    which the physician pronounced incurable. The Sister who
    dressed her sores, told her that the Blessed Virgin could
    obtain her recovery, and would do so, if she wore the medal and
    relied upon the Blessed Virgin's intercession. The poor girl
    knowing her case was deemed hopeless by the physician, answered
    bluntly: "I do not believe in your Blessed Virgin, and I want
    no medal." "Very well," replied the Sister, "then you may keep
    your sores." A few days after she asked for a medal herself,
    put it on her neck, received instruction and was baptized, and
    in a short time she left the hospital perfectly cured, greatly
    to the astonishment of the physicians, who had all pronounced
    her malady incurable.


                            _Hospital of Gratz (Austria)._

    An artist whose life had been far from edifying, was an
    inmate of our hospital. One morning the Sister was greatly
    surprised at his expressing a desire to confess. Perceiving
    her astonishment, he said: "This morning, Sister, the chapel
    door was slightly open, and from my bed I could see the Blessed
    Virgin's statue." (It was that of the Immaculate Conception.)
    "It appealed so strongly to my heart, that I have had no
    peace since. I must put my conscience in order." He did go to
    confession, not once, but several times, and he often expressed
    great regret for his past life. "Ah!" he would say, "what a
    life I have led, and how sad the state of my soul when Mary
    came to my aid." When asked what he supposed had attracted
    Mary's compassion, he answered: "I was merely looking at the
    statue, no thought of religion was in my mind; when suddenly,
    recollections of my past life filled me with fear, and Mary
    at the same time inspired me with a horror for sin." In
    this instance, repentance and reparation were the immediate
    consequences of the Immaculate Mary's merciful and maternal


                            _Hospital of Gratz (Austria.)_

    A Greek schismatic, attacked by a mortal malady, was brought to
    the hospital. He declared his intention of remaining attached
    to the errors in which he had been educated, and the Sisters,
    seeing his determination, entrusted him to the Blessed Virgin,
    consecrating him to her by placing under his pillow a medal,
    which for him proved truly miraculous. One day, a Franciscan
    Father visited the sick, and the young man asked the Sister
    to bring the good Father to see him. He conversed a long time
    with the latter, but manifested no intention of becoming a
    Catholic. Meanwhile, he grew worse, and, one day, when taken
    with a hemorrhage, he asked for this Father, "because," said
    he, "I wish to embrace the Catholic religion." The Sister
    was surprised, for she had said nothing to persuade him, but
    the Blessed Virgin had accomplished her work without earthly
    assistance. He confessed and made his abjuration; he even
    requested the Reverend Father to announce, in a loud voice, to
    the other patients that he entered the Church of his own free
    will. His attacks of vomiting made the priest hesitate to give
    him the Holy Viaticum, but he insisted so strongly, and had so
    ardent a desire to receive, that the good God permitted these
    spells of vomiting to become less frequent, so that he could
    make his first and last Communion at the same time, which he
    did with inexpressible fervor and consolation. Interrogated on
    the subject of his conversion, he answered: "For a long time I
    felt that everything earthly was of little value, and I sought
    for the true and lasting." During the delirium of his last
    moments, he spoke continually of a white robe. The grace of
    Baptism had clothed his soul in spotless raiment, and to Mary's
    intercession was he indebted for it.


                                        _Austria, 1866._

    In one of the prisons confided to the care of the Daughters of
    Charity, was a young man belonging to a respectable Catholic
    family, whose shame and disgrace he had become. After a short
    stay, he fell sick, and his condition necessitated removal
    to the infirmary; faithful to his principles of impiety, he
    absolutely refused all spiritual succor, and whenever he saw
    one of the chaplains pass, he either turned away his head or
    concealed it under the bedclothes. All the Sisters begged the
    Superioress to make one last effort for his soul. She paid him
    a visit, and was received politely, but to rid himself of her
    importunity, he avowed himself a Protestant, and related how
    he came to forsake the Faith, after making the acquaintance
    of several very bad characters, his companions in crime and
    his counselors in advising him to become a Protestant. The
    Sister asked him if he felt no remorse for such conduct, but
    he became enraged and exclaimed aloud: "I am a Protestant, and
    I wish to live and die a Protestant!" Seeing it impossible
    to do anything with the miserable creature, she interiorly
    recommended him to the Refuge of Sinners, and merely asked him
    to accept the medal she offered, to wear it and sometimes kiss
    it. He seemed quite pleased to get rid of her so easily, and
    placing all her confidence in Mary, she withdrew.

    The poor man passed a sleepless night, our Blessed Mother
    touched his heart, and very early next morning he sent word
    to the Sister that he wanted a priest to receive his solemn
    profession of Faith, in reparation of his scandalous apostasy
    and crimes. But his reputation was such that the prison
    chaplain doubted his sincerity, and would not go to him except
    upon repeated solicitations of the Superioress. He was deeply
    affected at witnessing the change grace had wrought in this
    soul, and the consequent compunction with which the prodigal
    confessed his sins. The dying man then made a public abjuration
    of his errors, and expired a few minutes after, in the grace of
    God and under the protecting smile of Mary.


                                        _Cava, (Italy), 1866._

    A young soldier suffering from disease of the chest, was
    brought to the Military Hospital of Cava. His first question
    was to ask if the Sisters had charge of that hospital; on
    receiving an affirmative answer, he said to himself: "They will
    bother me about going to confession, so I shall call myself a
    Jew to get rid of them," and Jew he was designated on the card
    of admission. Perceiving the serious nature of his malady, the
    Sisters to whose especial care he had been confided, visited
    him as often as possible. One of them offered him a medal
    of the Immaculate Conception; regarding it with a smile of
    pity, he said: "I accept it, because it would not be polite
    to refuse, but believe me, I consider it a mere plaything and
    nothing more."

    Every time the chaplain visited the hall, to speak a word of
    consolation to one and another, the poor Jew covered his head.
    The Sister sometimes ventured a few words to him about the good
    God, but he would never reply, and her approach was the signal
    for his feigning sleep. One evening when he appeared worse than
    usual, two Sisters went to see him just before they retired
    for the night. On hearing them approach, he exclaimed: "O
    Sister, a priest!" The chaplain was immediately summoned to his
    bedside, the poor dying man repeating all the while: "A priest!
    a priest!" As soon as the chaplain came, the patient made his
    profession of Faith in a very audible voice; he then confessed,
    and just as the priest, in administering Extreme Unction, was
    anointing the ears, the penitent rendered his soul to God,
    leaving us the consoling hope that it had found mercy in its
    Maker's sight.


                                    _Palermo (Italy), 1866._

    In 1866, at the Military Hospital of Palermo, was a poor man
    who had just undergone the amputation of his left arm. His
    impiety was so great, that the Sister felt constrained to
    remove a large crucifix that had been placed near his bed, for
    he covered it with invectives. The miserable man's bodily
    infirmities were as hopeless as his spiritual, yet no one could
    succeed in inducing him to give any attention to his soul, or
    even to listen to a word about the good God. What could be done
    in such an extremity? The poor Sister was in great distress,
    when one day whilst dressing his wounds she was inspired to
    slip a medal of the Immaculate Conception between the bandages
    around the stump of the amputated member. Next morning, on
    witnessing the great change that had been wrought in her
    patient's spiritual condition during the night, she was less
    astonished than happy, for she had confidently relied upon the
    Blessed Virgin. He asked for a priest, who came immediately;
    he confessed, publicly repaired the scandals of his past life,
    and received with piety the Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction.
    His few remaining days were spent in blessing that God who had
    shown him such boundless mercy. "Oh! how good God is!" did
    he repeat incessantly to his companions, "I have committed
    manifold sins and He has pardoned me all!"


                                _Hospital of Gratz (Austria), 1867._

    An officer in the garrison at Gratz, suffered from a serious
    wound in the right arm. He was brought to the general hospital,
    that he might be more conveniently under the especial treatment
    of M. Rzehazeh, a very eminent surgeon. The latter exhausted
    all his skill, but in vain, and after a few weeks he saw the
    necessity of amputation to save the officer's life. Learning
    the doctor's decision, the patient was deeply grieved, and
    his oppressed heart sought refuge in piety. He who had never
    spoken of God, who had accepted a proffered medal only from
    courtesy, now appeared to experience a genuine satisfaction
    when the Sisters told him they would implore the Blessed Virgin
    in his behalf. During the few days immediately preceding the
    operation, he felt inspired with a great confidence in his
    medal, and frequently repeated the invocation engraven upon it:
    "O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse
    to thee!" The danger was now imminent, and the amputation,
    which must not be delayed, was to take place on the morrow. One
    of the Sisters, perceiving that the young officer's confidence
    expressed itself in continual prayer, suggested that evening
    that he lay the medal upon his afflicted arm, and let it remain
    all night, a suggestion which was joyfully received. Next
    morning she hastened to ascertain her patient's condition, and
    get the medal. He had spent a quiet night, his sufferings being
    less severe than usual; and the Sister, whilst attributing his
    improvement to the anodynes prescribed, understood full well
    that the precious medal had also been instrumental in procuring
    relief, and that Mary had looked compassionately upon him;
    but she did not yet realize the full extent of the blessing.
    The surgeon came a few hours after, and whilst awaiting his
    assistants, he carefully examined the wounded arm, he touched
    it, he probed it, and to his great astonishment, perceived that
    amputation was not necessary. The other doctors on arriving,
    confirmed his opinion of this surprising change. The officer
    was mute with happiness, and not until he found himself alone
    with the chief surgeon did he impart to the latter, as a
    secret, his opinion as to the cause of this wonderful change.
    On leaving him, the surgeon (notwithstanding the injunction
    of secrecy), could not refrain from saying to the Sister: "I
    believe the Sisters of Charity have engaged the good God in
    this case."

    The officer's arm was entirely healed; a few weeks later he
    left the hospital, taking with him the precious medal as a
    memento of gratitude and love for Mary Immaculate.

       *       *       *       *       *


Letter from a Daughter of Charity in Lima (Peru), 1876:

    M. N---- had been suffering a long time from hypertrophy of
    the heart, the physicians having vainly exhausted all the
    resources of their skill, were forced to tell the family that
    he was beyond the power of human aid, and should look to the
    state of his soul, sad news for this father of a family, and a
    man devoid of religion. In vain did his relatives and friends,
    with all possible delicacy, endeavor to turn his thoughts to
    religion and induce him to receive the Sacraments; he would
    hear nothing on the subject; a priest, who was an intimate
    friend of the family, attempted to second their efforts, but he
    met with no better success; the sick man became exasperated at
    all allusions to religion, he blasphemed everything relating to
    it, sparing not even the Blessed Virgin.

    One day, after listening to an account of the conversion of
    M.----, of Lima, our patient's relatives expressed a desire
    of having recourse to similar means for their dear one's
    conversion. "It is very simple," said the person addressed,
    "you have only to ask Sister N., of St. Anne's Hospital for a
    medal, she got one for M. Pierre, she will not refuse you."
    One of his nephews immediately repaired to the hospital and
    returned with a medal. A niece offered it to him; "Mamma,"
    said she, "sends you this medal and begs that you will wear
    it." "Certainly," was the reply, "I will wear it for her sake,
    but I want everybody to understand that I have no notion of

    He spent a quiet night, and was quite pleased next morning to
    find himself somewhat better. "Euloge," said he, to one of his
    nephews, "what preparation should a person make who intends
    taking a long journey?" Euloge, who thought he certainly
    must be in a dream to hear his uncle speak thus, inquired
    to what journey he alluded. "Ah!" was the answer, "I speak
    of Eternity." The poor young man, delighted at such a happy
    change, replied that the best preparation was to put one's
    conscience in order by making a good confession. "I will do so,
    send me a priest," said his uncle. As soon as the clergyman
    arrived and heard his confession, he administered the Holy
    Viaticum. All the assistants were overcome with emotion when
    they saw the sick man, almost in his last agony, supported by
    his children, to receive on bended knee, the God who had just
    pardoned all the sins of his life. A few moments after, he
    blessed his children, gave them his parting counsel, and died
    in sentiments of piety rivaling his past irreligion. His family
    was deeply grateful to Mary Immaculate for this token of her


Letter from a Sister of Charity in Lima, Peru, 1877:

    An old lady whose youth had been pious, having lost her Faith
    by reading bad books, had not frequented the Sacraments for
    thirty-five years. The Sister with whom she lived was carried
    to her grave, after an illness of only five days, and it was
    natural to suppose that the Christian death of one so dear
    would have softened her heart; on the contrary, it embittered
    her the more, and she vented her grief in blasphemies. A
    Sister of Charity witnessing this scandal, and not being able
    to soothe the poor creature, was inspired with the thought
    of giving her a medal of the Blessed Virgin; the old lady
    accepted, and wore it for several days, during which she
    appeared greatly pre-occupied, and somewhat less confident in
    her scepticism; but having yielded to a diabolical suggestion,
    that urged her to lay the medal aside, doubtless because grace
    tormented her conscience with keen remorse whilst the medal
    was on her person, she fell back into an habitual hardness
    and melancholy that she styled peace. The Sister perceived
    this, and inquired if she still wore the medal; on receiving
    a negative answer, our good Sister represented the danger
    to which her soul was exposed without it, and the old lady
    promised to put it on again. Many prayers were offered up
    for her, and at the end of fifteen days, the Sister, who was
    greatly interested in this poor woman's soul, paid her another
    visit; perceiving no change in her sentiments, she inquired
    immediately if the medal had been resumed. The poor woman, who
    was very uncouth, dared not speak, but made a sign with her
    head which revealed all. "What have you done with it, and where
    is it?" asked the Sister. The old lady replied that it was in
    her wardrobe, and she had made several ineffectual efforts to
    put it on again. The Sister understands that this miserable
    soul is under some diabolical influence, holding her aloof from
    aught calculated to reclaim her to God; she feels that now
    is the moment for prompt action, and in a tone of severity,
    says: "Very well, since you will not wear the medal, I abandon
    you entirely." These words produced the desired effect; the
    old lady ran to the wardrobe, and taking up the medal, put it
    around her neck this time to remain. Soon experiencing the
    sweet and powerful influence of Mary Immaculate, so justly
    called the Gate of Heaven, in a few days she assisted at the
    Holy Sacrifice and listened to the instruction, and from that
    time was entirely changed; she confessed and made her Easter
    Communion, and the deepest compunction and gratitude are now
    the abiding sentiments of her heart. She wished to remain
    at the church door, feeling herself unworthy to penetrate
    further into the sacred edifice, and it was with the greatest
    difficulty her friends could prevail upon her to accept a place
    nearer the altar. She never ceases to thank God and Mary; and
    she told the Sister that, from the moment the medal was on her
    neck, she knew neither peace nor rest till she had returned to
    her duties, so great are the power and love of that Virgin who
    is the sovereign Terror of demons.


                                        _Moirans, 1877._

The Superioress of the Sisters of Charity at Moirans, relates as
follows a very consoling conversion, redounding to the glory of Mary

    "The most important manufacturer of our village, who employed
    from four to five hundred men and women, has just died, and
    contrary to all expectations, his death was penitent and
    consoling. He had been impious and immoral, and the profligate
    characters in his workshops were a curse to the surrounding
    country. His rudeness was such, that everybody trembled before
    him. His wife and two daughters, pious Christians, silently
    bewailed his misconduct; and as for myself, I had barely
    sufficient acquaintance with him to render justifiable my
    calling upon him in any urgent need.

    "One morning I received a message in great haste; this person
    was very sick and wished to see me. I went at once, but the
    disease was of so serious a character and its progress so
    rapid, that I saw the poor man on the verge of the grave ere
    I could find a means of turning his thoughts to eternity.
    I had told his wife and daughters to give him a medal of
    the Immaculate Conception, but he refused to accept it, and
    we were reduced to the necessity of stealthily putting it
    under his pillow. On the third day, as I was about to leave,
    after rendering him all the care and attention in my power,
    he wished, in the effusion of his gratitude, to shake hands
    with me. I profited by the opportunity to tell him how much
    pleasure he could give me by consenting to receive the curé,
    who had just come to see him. He made a sign in the affirmative
    and with a smile that very rarely parted his lips. We went
    out of the room, leaving him alone with the priest, whom he
    had welcomed cordially. In half an hour the latter returned
    blessing God, for the sick man had made his confession. He
    now consented to wear the medal, and that evening he received
    Extreme Unction, but not the Holy Viaticum, as he had spells
    of suffocation. I asked his wife to let his employees see him,
    that they might be edified at their patron's conduct. The
    request was granted, but not many came, as the workshops were
    closed at this hour; those who did come, prayed a few minutes
    beside him. Next morning his family was greatly rejoiced at his
    apparent physical improvement, but their hopes were deceived,
    and very soon his last agony began. He was recommended to
    the prayers of the parish; the whole village manifested a
    touching interest in his condition, and his employees all came
    to see him. The throng around the dying man was renewed every
    quarter of an hour, and we recited the _Chaplet_ aloud, a most
    appropriate devotion for this occasion, the last moments of
    one whom the Blessed Virgin had snatched from eternal misery.
    Amidst this concert of praises to Mary, he expired. The
    Christian Brothers, to whom he had been very hostile, willingly
    aided us in rendering to him the last duties of religion."




_I.--Our Lady of La Salette.--1846._

In her first manifestation to Sister Catherine, July 19, 1830, the
Immaculate Virgin announced the disasters which threatened France;
grief was depicted upon her countenance, tears stifled her voice, she
earnestly recommended prayer to appease the wrath of God.

Sixteen years later, this Mother of mercy, appearing to two little
shepherd children upon one of the summits of the Alps, repeated, in a
most solemn manner, the same warnings and the same counsels. The first
apparition remains in obscurity, but a knowledge of the second has
been spread throughout the world, and with most consoling results. The
miracle of La Salette has greatly increased devotion to the Blessed
Virgin, and given Christians a clearer idea of the important duties
of penance and prayer, which, in reality, are the embodiment of all
practical piety.

We quote the best authenticated account of La Salette, that of the Abbé
Rousselot, who himself received it from the mouths of the children.

    "Two peasant children, Mélanie Mathieu, aged fourteen years,
    and Maximin Giraud, aged eleven, both simple and ignorant, as
    might naturally be expected of their age and condition, were
    together upon the mountain of La Salette, which overlooks a
    village where they were at service under different masters.
    Their acquaintance was very slight, their first meeting having
    been only the day before the occurrence we are about to relate.
    When the _Angelus_ announced the hour of noon, they went to
    soak their hard bread in the water of a spring. After this
    rural repast, they descended a little farther, and laying down
    their crooks beside another spring, then dry, they seated
    themselves a slight distance apart, upon a few stones which had
    been piled up there, and went to sleep.

    "It was Saturday, September 19th, 1846, and eve of the day on
    which fell the Feast of Our Lady's Seven Dolors.

    "'After taking the cows to water, and eating our lunch,' says
    Maximin, 'we went to sleep beside a stream, and very near a
    spring which was dry. Mélanie awoke first, and aroused me to
    hunt our cows. We crossed the stream, and going in an opposite
    direction, saw our cows lying down on the other side, and not
    very far off.'

    "'I came down first,' says Mélanie; 'when I was within five or
    six steps of the stream, I perceived a light like that of the
    sun, but even more brilliant and not the color of sunlight,
    and I said to Maximin: Come quick to see the bright light down
    here.' 'Where is it?' inquired Maximin, coming towards me. 'I
    pointed with my finger in the direction of the spring, and he
    stood still when he saw it. Then the light seemed to open,
    and in the midst of it appeared a Lady, she was seated, and
    her head resting upon her hands.' 'We were both frightened,'
    continues Maximin, 'and Mélanie, with an exclamation of terror,
    let fall her crook.' 'Keep your crook,' said I, 'as for me,
    I am going to keep mine. If it does anything to us, I will
    give it a blow with my crook.' And the Lady arose. She crossed
    her arms, and said to us: 'Come to me, my children, do not be
    afraid. I am here to tell you something very important.' All
    our fears vanished, we went towards her and crossed the stream,
    and the Lady advancing a few steps, we met at the place where
    Mélanie and I had fallen asleep. The Lady was between us, and
    she wept all the time she was talking. 'I saw her tears flow,'
    adds Mélanie.

    "'If my people,' said she, 'do not humble themselves, I shall
    be forced to let them feel the weight of my Son's uplifted arm.
    I have stayed it heretofore, but it now presses so heavily that
    I can scarcely support it much longer. And all the while I am
    suffering thus for you, I must pray without ceasing if I wish
    to prevent your abandonment by my Son. And, moreover, you do
    not appreciate it.'

    "'In vain will you pray, in vain will you strive, never can you
    recompense what I have undergone for you. I have given you six
    days of the week wherein to work, the seventh I reserved for
    myself, and even that is denied me! It is this which weighs
    down my Son's arm.'

    "'Even those who drive carts must curse, and mingle my Son's
    name with their oaths.'

    "'These are the two things that weigh down my Son's arm.'

    "'If the harvest fails, it is for no other reason than your
    sins. I tried last year to make you see this in the failure of
    the potato crop. You took no account of it. On the contrary,
    when you found the potatoes rotted, you swore and mingled my
    Son's name with your maledictions. The potatoes will continue
    to rot, at Christmas there will be none.'

    "I did not know what this meant," said Mélanie, "for in our
    part of the country we do not call them potatoes. I asked
    Maximin what they were, and the Lady said to me:

    "'Ah! my children, you do not understand me, I will use other

    "The Blessed Virgin now repeated the preceding in _patois_, and
    the remainder of her discourse was also in _patois_. We give
    the translation as follows:

    "'If you have wheat, it must not be sown, the animals will
    devour what you sow; and should any remain, it will yield
    naught but dust when threshed.'

    "'There will be a great famine. Before the famine comes, little
    children under seven years of age, will be seized with fright
    and die in the arms of those who are holding them. Some will do
    penance by reason of the famine. Even the nuts will fail and
    the grapes rot.'

    "After these words, the beautiful Lady continued to speak aloud
    to Maximin. Though seeing the motion of her lips, Mélanie hears
    nothing. Maximin receives a secret in French. Then the Blessed
    Virgin addresses herself to the little girl, and Maximin ceases
    to hear her voice. She likewise confides to Mélanie a secret
    in French, but a more lengthy secret it appears than that
    entrusted to Maximin. Continuing her discourse in _patois_, and
    so as to be heard by both, she adds: 'If they turn aside from
    their evil ways, the very rocks and stones will be changed into
    heaps of grain, and potatoes will be found scattered over the

    "The Queen of Heaven then addressed herself more directly to
    the children.

    "'Do you say your prayers with devotion, my children?'

    "'Oh, no, Madame,' they both answered, 'we say them with very
    little devotion.'

    "Our divine Mother continued: 'Ah! my children, you must say
    them fervently evening and morning. When you have not the time,
    and cannot do better, say an _Our Father_ and a _Hail Mary_;
    and when you have the time you must say more.

    "'No one goes to Mass, except a few aged women; all the rest in
    summer spend Sunday working, and in winter, when at a loss for
    something to do, they go to Mass only to ridicule religion; and
    during Lent they frequent the shambles as if they were dogs.'

    "After a few more words, reminding Maximin that he had already
    seen the failure of the grain, the august Queen finished in
    French as follows: 'Ah! my children, tell this to all my
    people.' And before leaving them, she repeated the command.

    "The two children add: 'Then she ascended about fifteen steps,
    to the place where we had gone to look after our cows. Her feet
    barely touched the surface of the verdure, which did not even
    bend beneath her, she glided over the surface as if suspended
    in the air, and impelled by some invisible power. We followed
    her, Mélanie a little ahead, and I two or three steps from the
    Lady's side. The beautiful Lady was now gently elevated to
    about the height of a yard,' said the children. 'She remained
    thus suspended in the air for a moment. She glances up to
    Heaven and then at the earth, her head disappears from our
    view, next her arms, and lastly her feet. She seemed to melt
    away. There remained a brilliant light that gleamed upon my
    hands, and the flowers at her feet, but that was all.'

    "At the first words of his son's narration, Maximin's
    father began to laugh, but very soon recognizing the marks
    of incontestable sincerity, he hastened to comply with
    his Christian duties, so long neglected. The neighboring
    inhabitants followed his example, there were no more
    blasphemies, no more profanation of Sunday, the whole country
    was soon transformed, even maternally. Like those of Jonas to
    Nineveh, the prophetic warnings of the divine Messenger were
    conditional. They were fulfilled in general, as can still be

    [Footnote 23: Several details of this account have been derived
    from "Illustrious Pilgrim Shrines."]

The apparition of La Salette, as is the case with all extraordinary
events, was variously appreciated even among Catholics, some receiving
the account with enthusiastic confidence, others strongly contesting
the reality. But for a long time doubts have ceased, Providence having,
by numberless miracles, confirmed the faith of those who believed;
and the mountain sanctified by Mary's presence, has never ceased to
be visited by pilgrims from the most distant countries. Mgr. De
Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, anxious to prevent illusion on so
important a question, nominated a commission composed of most competent
persons, to examine and pass judgment upon this apparition. The result
being in the affirmative. His Grace, in a circular of September 19th,
1851, declared as follows:

    "We assert that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two
    little peasants, the 19th of September, 1846, upon one of the
    peaks of the Alps, situated in the parish of La Salette, of
    the archpresbytery of Corps, bears every mark of truth, and
    that the faithful are confirmed in believing it indubitable and

    "Wherefore, to testify our lively gratitude to God and the
    glorious Virgin Mary, we authorize the devotion to Our Lady of
    La Salette."

The circular, before publication, was submitted to the Holy See, whose
approval it received, and Mgr. De Bruillard's two successors have
always endorsed his appreciation of the apparition.

Consequently, this devotion is invested with every guarantee of
authenticity that the severest criticism could exact.

A church of the Byzantine style and graceful appearance is erected
upon the holy mountain, near where the apparition took place. The
identical spot remains uncovered, and the grass still grows upon the
soil hallowed by Mary's sacred footsteps; a series of crosses, fourteen
in number, to which are attached the indulgences of the _via crucis_,
indicate the path she took. The spring, formerly intermittent, has
been inexhaustible since the apparition, and its waters have worked
miracles. Near the church, a convent has been built to accommodate the
numberless pilgrims, who daily resort hither in the favorable season.
Numerous chapels, dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette, are scattered
throughout Christendom, and abundant graces repay the faith of those
who in these sacred shrines invoke her intercession.

       *       *       *       *       *

_II.--The Children of Mary.--1847._

Rome, the guardian of our Faith and Catholic traditions, has given
municipal privileges to the Children of Mary, in consecrating to them
a chapel in one of her most celebrated churches, St. Agnes Beyond the
Walls. The Italian sodalities are all inscribed there, and represented
by a group of the children of Mary surrounding this young Saint, who
in the third century was martyred for her virginity. They seem to say
to her, "Agnes, you are our eldest Sister, the well beloved of Jesus
Christ and His Mother."

This place of honor, this representation proclaims most eloquently,
that the Children of Mary form in the Church, a family as ancient as
Catholicity itself.

Nearly nineteen centuries ago, Jesus, our Redeemer, was in the agony
of death upon the tree of the cross, which his love had chosen as the
instrument of our redemption; "seeing," says the Evangelist, "that all
was consummated" for our salvation, He wished to place the seal upon
His work, by making His last will and testament.

Looking first at Mary, His Mother, and then at John, the beloved
disciple, he made John a Child of Mary in these memorable words: "_Ecce
Mater tua, ecce filius tuus_: Behold thy Mother, behold thy son."

Such is the origin of the Children of Mary. We believe with the holy
Church, that the eternal Word, after becoming incarnate to render men
redeemed with His blood, the Children of His heavenly Father, gave them
also, at the hour of His death, His own Mother to be theirs. We know
likewise, that among the children of every family, there is always one
most tenderly attached to the mother, for instance, Jacob and Rebecca;
John and Mary.

Even so, in the bosom of the great family of Catholicity, do we find in
all ages, souls jealous of rendering to Mary the most intimate filial
devotion, selecting her in an especial manner, for their model and

Such are the religious orders particularly devoted to her service,
also, the confraternities established for the same purpose in many
parishes. The Society of Jesus, which was founded in the sixteenth
century, laboring zealously to extend the glory of God among the youth
under its charge, found no means so effectual in forming hearts to
virtue and piety, as that of placing them under Mary's protection; and
the celebrated Association of the Prima Primaria, canonically erected
by Pope Gregory XIII, in 1584, became the parent stem of all the
congregations, subsequently found in honor of the Mother of God.

It was reserved for our age, to give full development to this fruitful
devotion, by popularizing and thus making it a powerful means of
salvation. In placing themselves under the patronage of the Immaculate
Conception, the Children of Mary cannot fail to obtain from their
divine Mother the most abundant and precious benedictions.

In 1830, the Immaculate Virgin had uttered a prophecy which resounded
incessantly in the heart of the missionary, to whom was confided the
account of the apparitions of the medal. "The Blessed Virgin wishes
you to found a congregation, of which you will be the Superior, a
confraternity of Children of Mary; the Blessed Virgin will bestow many
graces upon it as well as upon yourself, indulgences will be granted
it. The month of Mary will be celebrated with great solemnity; Mary
loves these festivals; she will requite their observance with abundant

But why this command and this prediction of the Queen of Heaven to her
servant, in regard to something which was not all new?

Sodalities of the Children of Mary already existed among the numberless
youths educated by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. And following
their example, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart had formed similar
associations among their scholars, and in 1832, had even established
them for ladies in the world, under the invocation of the Immaculate
Conception. It would seem then that a new work was superfluous.

It is true, Associations of the Children of Mary already existed and
accomplished much good, but they were confined to a few isolated
places, and recruited from a chosen class, they were not popular;
and Mary designed as elements of the future work, that multitude of
young girls in the ordinary walks of life, surrounded by all the
trials, exposed to all the dangers of the world, who to-day form her
blessed family, whose innocence she guards, whose modest virtues she
encourages, and from whom she receives in exchange, a tribute of love,
praises and a visible service acceptable to her heart. Let us speak
a word concerning its establishment. When the apostolic heart of M.
Aladel received Sister Catherine's consoling predictions, he did not
fully comprehend how he, a simple missionary, should accomplish the
designs of the Queen of Heaven.

Whilst quietly awaiting the propitious hour and means foreseen by
Providence, he seized every opportunity of speaking to the children and
young people of Mary's bounty and the happiness of belonging to her.
His simplicity and animation, when discoursing upon this his favorite
theme, attracted all hearts; his listeners hung entranced upon the good
father's words; and the unction of grace sustaining the ardor he had
enkindled, the associations were formed by way of trial, in the houses
of the Daughters of Charity, where M. Aladel had officiated.

Such were those of the Providence Orphanage in Paris, of the House of
Charity of St. Médard, of the Madeleine; also, those of St. Flour,
Mainsat, Aurillae, established from 1836 to 1846. The young girls, who
were externs, very soon rivaled the inmates of the establishments in
obtaining similar favors; several new associations were begun in the
year 1846, those of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Roch, St. Paul, St. Louis,
in Paris, and others in Toulouse, Bruguière, etc., in the province.

Whilst in Rome in 1847, M. Étienne, Superior General of the Priests
of the Mission and Daughters of Charity, obtained from the Sovereign
Pontiff a rescript dated June 20th, empowering him and his successors
to establish among the scholars attending the schools of the Daughters
of Charity a pious confraternity, under the title of the Immaculate
Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin, with all the indulgences
accorded the Congregation of the holy Virgin established at Rome for
the scholars of the Society of Jesus.

Three years later, the Sovereign Pontiff extended a similar favor to
the youths educated by the Priests of the Mission; also, to the little
boys in charge of the Daughters of Charity.

[Illustration: _The Miraculous Medal adopted as the Livery of the
Children of Mary._]

From this time, 1847, thanks to the benediction of Pius IX, the
Sodality of the Children of Mary, spread rapidly in all quarters of
the globe, wherever the Daughters of Charity were established. A
manual containing the rules of the Association, its privileges and
obligations, was compiled by M. Aladel, the Director of the work. The
livery naturally adopted by the Children of Mary was the Miraculous
Medal, suspended from a blue ribbon.

The new Association from its very origin gave a wonderful impulse to
youthful piety; humble girls, earning their daily bread, practiced the
most heroic virtues, under the influence of a desire to become faithful
Children of Mary; and, sustained by the same spirit, the poorest
courageously resisted temptation, and complied with those duties so
little esteemed at the present day--filial devotion and self-denial.

[Illustration: _The Miraculous Medal adopted as the Livery of the
Children of Mary._]

To these precious fruits are also joined some beautiful flowers of
devotion; how eagerly the Children of Mary repair to re-unions of the
Association, especially on all their Mother's feasts, chanting her
praises and exciting one another to fervent piety.

But the death of these young girls is still more admirable than their
life; many of them stricken down in the very bloom of youth, fortified
with their medal and ribbon as with a precious talisman, smile at death
and defy hell.

Thirty years have passed since the grain of mustard seed was confided
to the earth, and it has now become an immense tree, whose branches
overshadow the most distant countries. Europe numbers nearly a thousand
of these Sodalities, about six hundred being composed of externs, or
mixed associates. They amount, in other portions of the world to nearly
two hundred. This displays the visible effects of the benediction of
St. Peter's Successor; the promises made in 1830 were not realized
until they had received the approbation of the Vicar of Jesus Christ,
Pius IX, whose name will always be dear to the Children of Mary.

The Associations vary in number from ten to three hundred sodalists,
which gives us an average of eighty thousand young girls, courageously
holding themselves aloof from satan's snares and pomps, and leading a
life of purity and piety amidst the seductions of a corrupt world.

Surely this must be a miracle of God's right hand and Mary's bounty!

We have thought it would not be uninteresting to the readers, to give
the statistics for the end of the year 1877, of the Sodalities of the
Children of Mary, established in the houses of the Daughters of Charity
throughout the world.


                _Internal._ _External   SUMMARY.
  France           287         451    } Internal Sodalities   287
                                      } External and Mixed    451


  (Exclusive of France.)
  Belgium           11          14    }
  Switzerland        1           7    }
  Italy             55          64    }
  Spain             17          25    }
  Portugal          ..           1    } Internal Sodalities   100
  Great Britain      2          13    } External and Mixed    153
  Poland             8           9    }
  Prussia           ..           5    }
  Austria            4          11    }
  Greece            ..           1    }
  Turkey             2           3    }


  Turkey             2           7    } Internal Sodalities     2
  Persia            ..           2    } External and Mixed     10
  China             ..           1    }


  Egypt              3           2    } Internal Sodalities     6
  Algeria            3          17    } External and Mixed     20
  Canary Isles      ..           1    }


  United States     11          44    }
  Guatemala          4           3    }
  Brazil            11           9    } Internal Sodalities    54
  Peru               9           6    } External and Mixed     81
  La Plata           1           6    }
  Chili              3           1    }
  Cuba               5           4    }
  Mexico             9           7    }
  Ecuador            1           1    }


  Philippine Isles   1           6    } Internal Sodalities     1
                                      } External and Mixed      6

                   ---         ---                           ----
  Total            450         721      Total               1,171

_III.--Definition of the Immaculate Conception._

We have observed several times in the course of this work, that the
principal end of the apparition of 1830, was to popularize belief
in the Immaculate Conception. The facts we have related, prove most
conclusively that, thanks to the Miraculous Medal, this object has been
fully attained.

As a preparation for the accomplishment of this great design,
Providence placed in St. Peter's chair, a Pontiff animated with the
most filial tenderness for Mary, and inspired him from the beginning
of his pontificate, with the desire of glorifying the most holy Mother
of God, by proclaiming the Immaculate Conception an article of Faith.
And this hope, this desire, had Pius IX, in the ninth year of his
reign, the happiness of realizing amidst the universal applause of the
Catholic world.

We quote below from M. Villefranche's beautiful History of Pius IX, the
account of this memorable event:

    "By an Encyclical dated from Gaëta, Pius IX had interrogated
    the Episcopacy of the Universal Church, on the subject of the
    belief in the Immaculate Conception. The answers received were
    six hundred and three in number. Five hundred and forty-six
    Bishops earnestly entreated the doctrinal definition, a few
    hesitated, though only as to whether it were an opportune
    moment or not for the decision, for the sentiment of the
    Catholic world was in unison as regards the belief itself.

    "To assist at this solemnity, Pius IX summoned to his presence,
    all the Bishops who could repair to Rome. They came five
    hundred and ninety-two in number, and from all quarters of
    the globe except Russia, where they were held in check by
    the suspicious despotism of the Emperor Nicholas. These
    prelates put the finishing touch to the work of the commission
    charged with preparing the Bull; but at the very moment of
    making the final pause in its rendition, it was asked if the
    Bishops assisted there as judges, to pronounce the definition
    simultaneously with the Successor of St. Peter, and if their
    presence must be mentioned as judges, or, if the supreme
    judgment should not be attributed to the word of the Sovereign
    Pontiff alone. The debate terminated suddenly, as if by the
    inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 'It was the last sitting,' says
    Mgr. Audisio, an eye-witness; 'the hour of noon had just been
    sounded, every knee was bent to recite the _Angelus_. Then each
    one resumed his place, and scarcely had a word been spoken,
    when there arose a universal acclamation to the Holy Father,
    a cry of eternal adherence to the Primacy of St Peter's See,
    and the debate was ended:' '_Petre, doce nos; confirma fratres
    tuos!_ (Peter, teach us; confirm thy brethren!)' And the
    instruction these pastors asked of the supreme Pastor was the
    definition of the Immaculate Conception.

    "The 8th of December, 1854, was the grand day, the triumphal
    day, which, according to the beautiful words of Mgr.
    Dupanloup's circular, 'crowns the hopes of past ages, blesses
    the present age, evokes the gratitude of future generations,
    and leaves an imperishable memory; the day that witnessed
    the first definition of Faith, which was not preceded by
    dissension and followed by heresy.' All Rome rejoiced. Immense
    multitudes, representing every tongue and nation on the globe,
    thronged the approaches to the vast Basilica of St. Peter's,
    far too small to accommodate all who came. Soon, the Bishops
    were seen forming into the line of march, ranged according to
    their seniority, and followed by the Cardinals. The Sovereign
    Pontiff, amidst the most brilliant surroundings, appeared
    last, whilst the chant of the Litany of the Saints, wafted to
    Heaven, invited the celestial court to unite with the Church
    militant in honoring the Queen of Angels and men. Seated upon
    his throne, Pius IX received the obeisance of the Cardinals and
    Bishops, after which the Pontifical Mass began.

    "When the Gospel had been chanted in Greek and Latin, Cardinal
    Macchi, Dean of the Sacred College, accompanied by the Dean of
    the Archbishops, and the Dean of the Bishops present, with an
    Archbishop of the Greek rite and one of the Armenian, presented
    themselves at the foot of the throne, and supplicated the
    Holy Father, in the name of the universal Church, to raise
    his Apostolic voice and pronounce the dogmatic decree of the
    Immaculate Conception. The Pope replied that he willingly
    granted this prayer, but ere doing so he would invoke once more
    the assistance of the Holy Spirit And, now, every voice united
    in the solemn strains of the _Veni Creator_. When the chant had
    ceased, the Pope arose, and in that grave, sonorous, majestic
    voice, to whose profound charm millions of the faithful have
    borne testimony, commenced reading the Bull.

    "He established: first, the theological motives for belief in
    Mary's privilege; then he adduced the ancient and universal
    traditions both of the East and West the testimony of religious
    orders and schools of theology, of the holy Fathers and
    the Councils, and finally, the pontifical records, ancient
    as well as modern. His countenance, as he pronounced the
    words inscribed upon these pious and magnificent documents,
    betrayed his emotion. Several times he was so overcome that
    for a few moments it was impossible for him to proceed. 'And
    consequently,' he adds, 'after having offered unceasingly in
    humility and fasting, our own prayers and the public prayers
    of the Church to God the Father through His Son, that He would
    deign to direct and confirm our thoughts by the inspiration of
    the Holy Spirit, after having implored the assistance of all
    the celestial court, ... in honor of the holy and indivisible
    Trinity, for the glory of the Virgin Mother of God, for the
    exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the increase of the
    Christian religion, by the authority of Our Saviour, Jesus
    Christ, the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, and our own.'----

    "Here his voice was stifled with emotion, and he paused an
    instant to wipe away the tears. The assistants, deeply affected
    as well as himself, but mute with respect and admiration,
    awaited in profound silence the continuation. In a clear,
    strong voice, slightly elevated by enthusiasm, he proceeded:

    "'We declare, profess, and define, that the doctrine affirming
    that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved and exempt from
    all stain of original sin, from the first instant of her
    conception, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of
    men, is a doctrine revealed by God, and for this reason, all
    the faithful must believe it with firm and unwavering faith.
    Wherefore, if any one should have the presumption, which
    God forbid, to allow a belief contrary to what we have just
    defined, let him know that he wrecks his faith and separates
    himself from the unity of the Church.'

    "The Cardinal Dean, prostrating himself a second time at the
    feet of the Pontiff, supplicated him to publish the Apostolic
    letters containing the definition; the Promoter of the Faith,
    accompanied by the Apostolic Prothonotary also presented
    themselves, to beg that a verbal process of the decree be
    prepared. And now the cannon of the castle of St. Angelo and
    all the bells of the Eternal City, announced the glorification
    of the Immaculate Virgin!

    "In the evening, Rome, enwreathed in illuminations, and crowned
    with inscriptions and transparencies, resounded with joyous
    music, and was imitated at that very time by thousands of
    cities and villages all over the face of the globe. If we were
    to compile an account of the pious manifestations relating to
    this event, it would fill, not volumes, but libraries. The
    Bishops' responses to the Pope before the definition were
    printed in nine volumes; the Bull itself, translated under
    the care of a learned French Sulpitian into every tongue and
    idiom of the universe, filled about ten volumes; the pastoral
    instructions, publishing and explaining the Bull, and the
    articles on the subject in religious journals, would certainly
    require several hundred, especially if we add thereto the
    poems, scraps of eloquence, and descriptions of the monuments
    and fêtes. We should not omit mention here of the spontaneous
    and incomparable periodical illuminations at Lyons, each time
    the course of the year brings round the memorable 8th of

Pius IX knew that the Catholic movement leading to the definition of
the Immaculate Conception had originated in France, and he was happy to
see the French people enthusiastically welcome the Pontifical decree
of December 8th, and celebrate with unparalleled magnificence Mary's
glorious privilege. Henceforth, the love he bore that country was
firmly rooted in his heart, and her misfortunes had but increased his
tenderness and compassion. It consoles us to insert here the prayer to
the Blessed Virgin which he composed, and recited daily to obtain for
her the protection of the Queen of Heaven:

    "O Mary! conceived without sin, look down upon France, pray for
    France, save France! The greater her guilt, the more need of
    your intercession. Only a word to Jesus reposing in your arms,
    and France is saved."

    "O Jesus! obedient to Mary, save France!"




The wars which have taken place since the year 1854, the epoch of the
definition of the Immaculate Conception, have presented a spectacle to
which the world was unaccustomed. Not only were _priests_ called upon
to administer to the spiritual necessities of the soldiers in camps
and ambulances, but _Sisters_ also were charged with the care of the
sick and wounded. The priest's cassock and the robe of the religious,
became almost as familiar to the eye as the military costume itself!
Sisters of Charity accompanied the armies in the wars of the East, in
1854; in Italy, in 1859; in the United States, in 1861; in Mexico, in
1864; in Austria and Prussia, in 1866; in France and Germany, in 1870;
and we find them ministering to the Russian army and also the Turkish
ambulance in 1877. For them no enemies existed; the camps of both
belligerents claimed their attention, they were equally devoted to all
who needed their ministry of charity.

During the hardships and dangers of war, chaplains and Sisters could
not fail to invoke the Blessed Virgin, and the Miraculous Medal
naturally became the sign of the soldier's devotion and the pledge
of our merciful Mother's protection, against the moral and physical
dangers war brings in its train. The medal was profusely distributed;
it was accepted and worn with confidence; even Protestants and
Schismatics asking eagerly for it; officers as well as private soldiers
attaching it to their uniforms when they set out for the combat; the
sick employed it to obtain recovery, or at least, an alleviation of
their sufferings; the dying kissed it with love; many attributed to it
their preservation in battle, and a still greater number were indebted
to it for their eternal salvation.

In proof of the above, we shall present some facts, selected from the
thousands related in the correspondence of the missionaries and Sisters
who followed the several armies.

WAR IN THE EAST, FROM 1854 to 1856.

    "On the Feast of the Assumption, we shall have at Varna, a
    beautiful religious ceremony, at which the whole army will
    assist. I have brought from Constantinople a banner of the
    Blessed Virgin; this we will set up, and confidently invoking
    Mary, we know she will obtain the cessation of the cholera, and
    success of our arms."[24]

    [Footnote 24: Letter of Mr. Boré, Aug. 13, 1854.]

    "The inmates of our hospital of Péra, at Constantinople, number
    about twelve hundred, including sixty officers. These gentlemen
    receive the Miraculous Medal with joy and gratitude. Endeavor
    to find some good souls who will send us a large supply of
    these pious objects."[25]

    [Footnote 25: Letter of a Sister, September 29.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The three patients whose confessions I heard were poor
    Irish. They manifested great resignation in their sufferings;
    all three asked for, and gratefully received a medal of the
    Immaculate Conception. An English officer (a Catholic), who
    wore with pious confidence the medal of Mary, told me that
    several of his colleagues, though Protestants, had accepted the
    medal and preserved it respectfully, and that the cholera and
    balls of the Russians had, so far, spared them."[26]

    [Footnote 26: Letter of Mr. Boré, October 25.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Even amidst the turmoil of war, and in spite of the multitude
    of sick and wounded, the Catholics of Constantinople celebrated
    solemnly the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate
    Conception. Mr. Boré wrote as follows, March 22d, 1835: 'The
    _triduum_ of thanksgiving for the declaration and promulgation
    of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was fixed for the
    Feast of Saint Joseph. We have endeavored to unite, in the
    expression of our joy, with that of the faithful throughout the
    Catholic world, and to imitate, to the best of our ability,
    those magnificent and most consoling manifestations that have
    taken place in France, who in this has shown a true love for
    the Mother of God, a love already repaid by a new development
    of national strength and vigor. The zeal and skill of our dear
    Sisters in charge of the adjoining establishment have greatly
    contributed to the splendor of the feast. The good taste
    and experience of one of them suggested to her the idea of
    substituting for the large picture over the main altar a figure
    of the Immaculate Conception; the Blessed Virgin was crowned
    with golden stars, her dress and drapery were rich and radiant
    in a glory of gauze, the whole framed in lilies. The head,
    borrowed from the portrait of a Circassian lady, and the golden
    crescent under her feet, were happy indications, both in color
    and emblem, of the events transpiring around us. A Catholic
    Armenian lady lent a set of diamonds, which flashed back the
    myriad flames of tapers and candles contained in candelabras,
    hidden in the abundance of lilies. This illumination,
    improvised by our pupils in imitation of those they knew would
    take place throughout France, was indeed an honor to their
    taste and piety.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We sometimes meet with sick persons, who, through human
    respect, ignorance, or indifference, are prevented from
    receiving the succors of religion. We give them a medal of
    the Immaculate Conception, and the Blessed Virgin charges
    herself with their conversion. Nearly always, without any
    other inducement, and, as it were, of themselves, they ask for
    the priest and prepare to receive the Sacraments, manifesting
    the most lively sorrow for having offended God and abused His
    benefits. I could cite examples by thousands."

    "Numbers of soldiers wear the Miraculous Medal, the scapular, a
    reliquary, a cross, or sometimes not one but all of these, and
    those who do not possess these articles are happy to receive
    them. In a word, the army is, in a great measure, Catholic, and
    knows how to pray."

    "A soldier wounded in both legs at the battle of Alma, received
    for more than two months, the unremitting attention of the
    physicians and Sisters though without experiencing any relief.
    Having despaired of saving his life otherwise, the surgeons
    decided upon amputation. They began by the limb which was most
    shattered. Next day the patient was in a hopeless condition;
    there was no question of further amputation. Recourse was
    then had to supernatural remedies; a novena was made to the
    Immaculate Mary, and in a few days the patient showed signs of
    improvement. He is now cured, and his piety and good example
    are the admiration of his comrades."[27]

    [Footnote 27: Report of Mr. Doumerq, 1855.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A patient who was brought in yesterday, refused to go to
    confession. I placed under his pillow a medal of the Blessed
    Virgin, and left him quiet, continuing to give him assiduous
    care. This morning he called me, and in a resolute tone,
    inquired if people here died like dogs. 'I am a Christian, and
    I wish to confess.' 'Yesterday I proposed confession,' said
    I, 'but you objected, and even sent the priest away.' 'It is
    true,' he replied; 'but I am sorry for having done so; I wish
    now to see him as soon as possible.' Since his confession
    he is completely changed; and calmly awaits the approach of

    [Footnote 28: Letter of a Sister, 1855.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Among the Russian prisoners brought to Constantinople after
    the battle of Tchernaïa, many wore the medal of the Immaculate
    Conception. By this I understood at once that they were
    Catholics and Poles."[29]

    [Footnote 29: Letter of Mr. Boré, August 25, 1855.]

    "A young lieutenant in the eighty-fifth regiment, had been
    wounded in the skull, and when brought to the hospital, his
    throat was gangrened, and he could scarcely speak. A secret
    sympathy attracted us towards each other, and he accepted
    gratefully the services I rendered him. As he was evidently
    sinking, I spoke to him of the Blessed Virgin, and alluded to
    the medal he wore around his neck. He smiled, and replied by
    pressing my hand. When his confession (during which he regained
    his voice and strength) was finished, he said: 'Monsieur abbé,
    I have a favor to ask of you.' 'What is it, my friend? tell
    me; I am anxious to gratify you.' 'Be so kind,' said he, 'as
    to inform Father Boré that I am here, and am very ill.' These
    words pierced my heart; however, I was able to answer him:
    'Father Boré is he who now speaks to you.' Raising his eyes
    moistened with tears, and, again pressing my hand, he added:
    'I am the brother-in-law of your dear friend, Mr. Taconet, and
    also brother of the captain of zouaves, whom you assisted a
    year ago at Varna.' I then recognized in him Mr. _Ferdinand
    Lefaivre_; he had been recommended to me by a pressing letter
    from Mr. Taconet, but this letter reached me only after my
    young friend's death. Mr. Taconet wrote that, on the eleventh
    of May, the lieutenant with his family had heard Mass at the
    church of Notre Dame des Victoires, and that he did not doubt
    but the Blessed Virgin would watch over a life so precious.
    His hope was not misplaced, for the Blessed Virgin called him
    to herself, fortified with the Sacraments, on the day of her

    [Footnote 30: Letter of August 25, 1855.]

    "While we were invoking our Immaculate Mother, on the eve of a
    combat, in which one of our young soldiers was to take part for
    the first (and perhaps last) time, he arose and went to Mary's
    altar; kneeling an instant, he arose again, and hung around
    the statue's neck a silver heart, in which were inscribed his
    name and the names of his parents. I feel, as St Vincent has
    forcibly expressed it, that he did not perform this act of
    devotion without tearful eyes and a sobbing heart."[31]

    [Footnote 31: Letter of Sister M----, 1855.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A serious fire had broken out in the city of Salonica. The
    flames soon appeared opposite the Sisters' house, the buildings
    on the other side of the street, a few yards distant, being
    seized and devoured by the fire, which the wind continued to
    fan into activity. Already the Sisters' roof and that of the
    adjoining house were covered with dense smoke. I cast therein
    several Miraculous Medals. There was no prospect of human
    succor, as the rumor of there being powder in the vicinity had
    caused every one to seek safety in flight. I also retired,
    deeming it useless to expose myself longer; and besides, I was
    obliged to go to the assistance of a poor man, who, partially
    intoxicated, persisted in remaining near the fire. I returned
    shortly after, expecting to see our houses in flames; I doubted
    not but they would be wholly consumed. As I approached, a
    young man stopped me on the way, and said: 'Your property
    is saved, sir; the Sisters' house is not even in danger.'
    Only on reaching the scene could I be convinced that he had
    spoken truly. It would be impossible to express my emotion at
    the sight. I sent to inform our dear Sisters of the fact and
    they could scarcely credit this marvellous preservation. It
    suffices to add, that all Salonica is unanimous in pronouncing
    it a miracle."[32]

    [Footnote 32: Letter of Mr. Turroque, July 16, 1856.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In an ambulance crowded with Russians was a young Pole,
    severely wounded and suffering intolerable pain; he earnestly
    invoked the sweet and merciful Virgin Mary. By his side lay
    a Russian Protestant, wounded also, and attacked by violent
    dysentery. So offensive was the odor from his disease, that
    both patients and nurses complained. He appeared utterly
    indifferent to everything concerning religion. He took no
    notice of the Sister as she passed and repassed; he never
    even deigned to look at her. The young Pole, on the contrary,
    called her frequently, and gratefully received her care and
    consolations. One evening our young Catholic was suffering more
    than usual; the pain drew tears from his eyes; his groans and
    cries were incessant. He called the Sister and begged her to
    help him, saying his patience was exhausted; he was in despair;
    his sufferings were excruciating. The Polish Sister, consoling
    and encouraging him, bade him have confidence, and gave him
    a medal to apply to the wounded limb. The young man followed
    her suggestion; and laying his hand on the medal to keep it in
    place, he soon fell asleep. Our Protestant appeared unconscious
    of what was going on, yet he had seen and examined all. Some
    days after, he called our Polish Sister to him, (she was the
    only one who could understand him) and said: 'Sister, please
    give me what you gave this young man that did him so much
    good, for I suffer greatly!' 'My friend, she replied, I desire
    nothing better than to relieve you also; but you lack what
    effected his cure, faith and confidence. You Protestants deny
    the power of the Blessed Virgin; you do not acknowledge her as
    your Queen, your Advocate, your Mother. So what can I do? It
    was a medal of Mary that so speedily relieved your neighbor,
    the young Pole.' 'Give me one also, Sister,' he answered; 'I
    believe all that you tell me; you do good to every one, why
    should you deceive me?' 'But,' said the Sister, 'have you
    confidence in Mary, the Mother of God? Do you believe in her
    mercy and her power?' 'I believe all that you believe, Sister,
    since Mary hears the prayers of the unfortunate, and brings
    relief to the suffering, she cannot deceive us!' The Sister,
    much consoled at hearing these words, gave him a medal, and
    our admirable talisman effected in his soul most gratifying
    results. He asked to receive instruction from a priest, and
    after some days employed in studying the holy doctrines of
    the Church, and in assiduous prayer to Mary he abjured his
    errors. As he had been separated from the other patients, on
    account of the unpleasant odor we have mentioned, he was at
    full liberty to act as he wished. After his baptism, and the
    reception of the holy Eucharist, being unable to restrain
    his transports, he exclaimed: 'Oh! how happy I am! My heart
    has never known such joy! I am content to die, and I do not
    regret having been struck on the battlefield! To my wound do
    I owe my salvation. Oh! how we poor Protestants are deceived!
    By what lies are we led astray! How good God is to rescue me
    from error! May the sweet and holy Virgin be known and loved
    always and everywhere!' And in these beautiful dispositions, he

    [Footnote 33: Letter of Sister M----, July 9, 1857.]

    "A sergeant advanced in years had been suffering for three
    months from a severe dysentery; one morning the Sister who was
    visiting the sick found him in tears. 'Ah! my brave soldier,'
    said she, 'what is the meaning of all this grief?' 'O Sister,'
    he exclaimed, 'lend me patience, for mine is exhausted. I am
    in despair; I can endure my sufferings no longer; I feel that
    I am going to die, and just at the time I was to receive a
    pension--at the very moment I hoped to return to my country
    with honor and see my family once more. Must I die afar from
    home and leave my bones in a strange land?' Groans were
    mingled with his words, and his gestures had all the violence
    of despair. The Sister who relates the fact says: 'My heart
    ached at witnessing the grief of this brave man, with his white
    hairs and numerous scars. However, as my tears would not have
    dried his, I tried to rouse his courage by other means, and I
    promised him a perfect cure if he would unite in prayer with
    our little family at the hospital. Giving him a Miraculous
    Medal, I recommended him to God and Mary with my whole heart.
    We made a novena to the Immaculate Virgin, and ere its
    termination our sergeant was entirely cured."[34]

    [Footnote 34: Letter of Sister M----, July 9, 1857.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Every evening our soldiers assembled around the Sisters in
    charge and sang pious canticles; they even composed music and
    words suited to the occasion. These they intoned, uniting
    their deep, sonorous voices with the Sisters'. In unison and
    harmony of mind as of voice, they repeated in chorus the sacred
    names of Jesus and Mary as a rallying cry of hope, confidence
    and triumph--a chant of love, a united echo of heaven and
    country. Then their hearts thrilled with joy inexpressible,
    and they were filled with pride and happiness at the thought
    of belonging to that France who imparts to her children the
    heroism of courage and the virtue of the perfect Christian.
    During the month of May our military concerts were multiplied;
    all were rivals in zeal. The altars were adorned with admirable
    piety and taste, notwithstanding our extreme poverty. Entire
    trees were felled to assist in concealing the dilapidated state
    of the barracks, which had been converted into chapels. Had
    our soldiers been free to do so, they would have despoiled the
    gardens of the Turks to adorn the sanctuary of the Queen of

    "In the ambulances of Péra some of the most zealous soldiers,
    both officers and privates, wished to present Mary a solemn
    homage of their devotedness and gratitude. They chose a heart
    as the symbol of their sentiments. All the balls extracted
    from their wounds were collected to compose the offering. But
    a soldier suddenly exclaimed with enthusiasm: 'Comrades, what
    are we doing? Shall we offer the Blessed Virgin a schismatical
    heart? All these balls are Russians!' 'True,' replied another,
    'these balls are Russian; we must have French balls. Let us ask
    the Russians for those we sent them.' 'Stay,' said a third,
    'you have forgotten that these Russian balls are stained with
    our blood!' 'Well, then, let us use them,' suggested a fourth,
    'the French balls will form the centre.' They went immediately
    to ask the Russians for the French balls. These were willingly
    given. The heart was prepared; their names inscribed on it with
    the designation of the regiment, and the offering was presented
    to Mary amid the most lively acclamations and transports of joy
    and gratitude."[35]

    [Footnote 35: Letter of Sister M., July 9, 1857.]


Letter of Sister Coste:

                                _Gaëta, December 18th, 1860._

    During the siege of Gaëta, the Sisters of Charity willingly
    remained in the city, to assist the sick and wounded
    Neapolitans. They felt that there was no greater security
    against the dangers to which they were exposed, than that of
    recommending themselves and their abode to the protection
    of the Blessed Virgin, by means of the Miraculous Medal.
    Their Superioress, Sister Coste, wrote December 18th, 1860:
    "Frequently the cannon roars in our ears; bombs whiz around us,
    but divine Providence is our shield. The first night of our
    sleeping at the palace, we were saluted by the Piedmontese, who
    sent us a multitude of bombs; one of them burst just outside
    our room, and you might have supposed a thunderbolt had fallen.
    Yet, the precious medal of our Immaculate Mother, which we
    had placed at all the doors and windows, shielded us from the
    danger. A large piece of iron detached itself from the bomb
    above mentioned, and remains in the wall, a visible testimony
    of Mary's protection. This circumstance reanimated our
    confidence, and we hesitate not to pass through the streets,
    notwithstanding the whizzing of projectiles."


Extracts of letters written by Sisters of Charity during the War of
Secession, from 1861 to 1865:

                            _"Military Hospital (House of Refuge),_ }
                                            _"St. Louis, Missouri._ }

    "Many of our poor soldiers scarcely knew of the existence of
    God, and had never even heard baptism mentioned. But, when
    the Sisters explained to them the necessity of this Sacrament,
    and the goodness of God, who, by means of it, cleanses us from
    the original stain, and adopts us as His children, they were
    filled with the deepest emotion, and often shed tears. On one
    occasion, a patient said: 'Sister, do not leave me; tell me
    more about that good God whom I ought to love. How is it that
    I have lived so long and have never heard Him spoken of as you
    have just done? What must I do to become a child of God? 'You
    must,' replied the Sister, 'believe and be baptized.' 'Well,
    baptize me,' was his answer. The Sister persuaded him to await
    the arrival of Father Burke, who would be there next morning.
    The patient consented reluctantly. 'Ah!' said he, 'it is very
    long to wait, and I am so weak; if I die unbaptized, I shall
    not go to Heaven.' To relieve his anxiety, the Sister promised
    to watch near him and administer baptism, should she perceive
    any unfavorable change in his condition. 'Now,' said he, 'I am
    satisfied; I rely on you to open for me the gates of Heaven;
    it is through your intervention I must enter.' He spent a
    quiet night. Next morning, Father Burke admitted him into the
    Catholic Church, by the Sacrament of Baptism, which he received
    with admirable piety. A crucifix was presented him; grasping it
    eagerly, he kissed it, saying as he did so: 'O my God! I did
    not know Thee or love Thee before coming to this hospital!'
    Then, turning to the Sister, he said: 'Sister, I have forgotten
    the prayer you taught me;' and he repeated after her several
    times, 'My Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit, sweet
    Jesus, receive my soul.' He died pronouncing these words."

    "The precise number of baptisms cannot be ascertained; there
    were probably seven hundred during the two or three years of
    our residence in the hospital. Five hundred Catholics who
    had led careless or sinful lives returned sincerely to God
    and resumed the practice of their religious duties. A great
    number of these had received no other Sacrament than that of
    Baptism, and they made their first Communion at the hospital.
    The majority of the newly baptized died; the others on leaving
    asked for medals and catechisms, saying they desired to
    instruct themselves and their families."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A soldier named Nichols fell dangerously ill, and in a few
    days was reduced to the last extremity. Vainly did we strive
    to touch his heart and awaken him to a sense of religion.
    His sufferings were terrible; both day and night was he
    denied repose, and he could scarcely remain a moment in the
    same position. His condition was most pitiful. Many of his
    companions, knowing that he had never been baptized, and having
    perceived the beneficial effects of baptism upon others, begged
    the Sisters to propose to him the reception of this Sacrament,
    thinking it might be a comfort to him, and not being aware of
    the many efforts that had already been made to induce him to
    believe in its necessity and efficacy. However, we redoubled
    our efforts, and placed a Miraculous Medal under his pillow.
    His comrades regarded his sufferings as a visible chastisement
    of his impiety. We could not induce him to pronounce the name
    of God, but he implored the physician, in the most heart
    rending accents, not to let him die. Four days passed without
    the least change, when one of his companions, who appeared
    the most deeply interested in his welfare, said to him, with
    eyes filled with tears, how much he regretted to see him die
    thus, utterly bereft of a hope for the future. The other
    soldiers had engaged this man to acquaint the patient with his
    danger, and persuade him to make his peace with God, for they
    saw that human respect alone prevented his showing any signs
    of repentance. This last effort of charity was crowned with
    success; he called for the Sister, and when she came, said to
    her: 'Sister, I am ready to do all you wish.' After instructing
    him in what was necessary for salvation, and feeling convinced
    of the sincerity of his dispositions, she asked him by whom
    he wished to be baptized. 'By any one you please,' was his
    answer. But, to be sure that he did not desire a Protestant
    minister, she said: 'Shall I send for the priest who attends
    this ward?' 'Yes,' he replied, 'it is he I wish to baptize
    me.' The priest was sent for without delay, and we had the
    inexpressible consolation of seeing this poor sinner admitted
    into the number of the children of God by the very person who,
    a few days previous, had been an object of his raillery. He
    became perfectly calm, and expired shortly after, invoking the
    holy name of Jesus."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Among the patients was a poor young man named William Hudson,
    who for a long time refused to receive baptism. The Sisters,
    however, nowise discouraged, explained to him the Sacrament
    of Baptism, and instructed him in the mysteries of our holy
    religion, and the Sister, under whose immediate charge he
    was, hung a medal around his neck. Finally, he asked to speak
    to good Father Burke; was baptized, and expired in the most
    edifying dispositions, pronouncing the holy name of Mary.
    Several others followed his example, and made their peace with
    God before death."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Huls, a man of thirty-five, though convinced of the
    necessity of baptism, postponed the reception of it from day
    to day. Knowing that he had but little attraction for our holy
    religion, I forbore to mention the subject too frequently.
    Nevertheless, seeing that death was rapidly approaching, I
    placed a medal under his pillow and begged the Blessed Virgin
    to take charge of his salvation. The next day, just as I was
    turning away after giving him a drink, he called me and said:
    'Sister, what ought I to do to prepare for the next world?' I
    told him that it was necessary to repent of his sins, because
    sin is the greatest of evils, and it had caused the sufferings
    and death of our Lord Jesus Christ; that God's goodness and
    mercy towards sinners are infinite, and that He is always ready
    to pardon us, even at the last moment, if we sincerely return
    to Him. I urged him to cast himself with confidence into the
    arms of this merciful Father, who earnestly desired to open
    for him the gates of the Eternal City, and I added that it was
    absolutely necessary to be baptized. He assured me that he
    believed all I had said to him; he then repeated with fervor
    the acts of faith, hope, charity, contrition, and resignation
    to the will of God. Seeing that he was entering into his agony,
    I baptized him; the Sacraments appeared to revive his strength.
    He began to pray, and made such beautiful aspirations of
    love and gratitude to God, that one might have said his good
    angel inspired them, particularly the act of contrition. I
    remained with him to the last, praying for him, when he had not
    strength to do so himself; if I paused a moment through fear of
    fatiguing him: 'Go on Sister,' he would say in dying accents,
    'I can still pray.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Another soldier, William Barrett, scarcely twenty years of
    age, was almost in a dying condition when brought to the
    hospital. After doing all I could for the relief of his poor
    body, I inquired very cautiously as to the state of his soul.
    Alas! it was deplorable; not that he had committed great
    crimes, but that he was entirely ignorant of everything
    relating to his salvation. He had never said a prayer, and he
    hardly knew of the existence of a God. My first conversation
    with him on the subject of religion, was not altogether
    pleasing to him, for he did not understand it; but when I
    had briefly explained the principal articles of Faith, he
    listened very attentively, and begged me to tell him something
    more. When I told him that our Lord had loved us so much as
    to become man and die on a cross for our salvation, he could
    not restrain his tears: 'Oh!' said he, 'why did no one ever
    tell me that? Oh! if I had only known it sooner! How could I
    have lived so long without knowing and loving my God!' I now
    prepared him to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and tried
    to make him sensible of God's great mercy, in bringing him to
    the hospital, that he might die a holy death. He understood
    this and much more, for grace had spoken to this poor heart,
    so truly penetrated with sorrow for sin. 'I wish to love God,'
    said he, 'but I am such a miserable creature! I would like to
    pray, but I do not know how. Sister, pray for me, please.' I
    promised to do so, and offering him a medal of the Blessed
    Virgin, I told him that by wearing it, he would secure the
    intercession of the Mother of God, who is ever powerful with
    her divine Son. He gladly accepted the medal, put it around
    his neck, and repeated, not only the aspiration, O Mary!
    conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee,
    but other prayers, to obtain the grace of a happy death. He
    then asked me when I would have him carried to the river, for
    he was under the impression that he could not be baptized
    without being immersed. I explained to him the manner in
    which the Catholic Church administers this Sacrament, and the
    dispositions necessary for receiving it. Listening eagerly to
    every word I uttered, 'Pray with me, Sister,' said he, 'come
    nearer, that I may hear you better, for I do not know how to
    pray.' He repeated with great fervor all the prayers I recited,
    and thought only of preparing himself for his baptism which
    was to take place on the following day. From that time he
    wished to converse with the Sisters only. If his companions or
    the attendants came to him, he answered them in a few words,
    evidently showing that he desired to be alone with his God. One
    of the officers asked him, if he wished any one to write to his
    family. 'Do not speak to me of my family now,' said he, 'the
    Sisters have written to my parents. I wish for nothing but to
    pray and to be baptized.' And the words ever on his lips, were
    these: 'O God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Towards evening he
    became so weak, that I thought it best to remain with him. At
    three o'clock in the morning, fearing that he was in his agony,
    I administered the Sacrament of Regeneration; he lived till
    seven o'clock. The fervor with which he united in the prayers
    was truely edifying; even when scarcely able to speak, he tried
    to express his gratitude to God for His goodness and mercy to
    him. He was most anxious to quit this world, that he might go
    to that Father, who had admitted him into the number of His
    children, and whom he so earnestly desired to see and know."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A soldier, advanced in age, told me one day, that in his
    country the prejudices of the people were so strong against our
    Faith, that they would refuse hospitality to a traveler did
    they know him to be a Catholic; as to himself, he had never
    met with a Catholic previous to his coming to the hospital;
    but what he had seen here (nothing comparable to which had he
    ever witnessed among Protestants), was sufficient to convince
    him of the truth of Catholicity; that he had belonged to the
    Presbyterian Church, but he would remain in it no longer, and
    desired to be instructed in our holy religion. I gave him
    a catechism and some other books, which he read with great
    attention. Perceiving that his end approached, he asked for a
    priest and was baptized. 'If it were the will of God,' said he,
    speaking of his property, which was considerable, 'I should
    like to live a little longer and enjoy my fortune; but if the
    Lord wills otherwise, I am ready to leave all.' He was ever
    repeating these words: 'Not as I will, O Lord, but as Thou
    wilt.' From the moment of his baptism, he applied himself
    most diligently to a profitable disposition of the remainder
    of life, that he might prepare for his journey to eternity.
    At times, when he felt a little stronger, he studied the
    catechism; and when he could no longer hold a book, he prayed
    and meditated in silence. One day as I was giving him a drink,
    he showed me his medal. 'Ah!' said he, tears of gratitude
    streaming down his cheeks, 'behold! my Mother. I kiss her
    every hour!' He prayed constantly, even when he could neither
    eat, drink, nor sleep. Once when he was extremely weak, the
    attendants having changed his position, he fainted, and rallied
    only with great difficulty. On perceiving that I was trying to
    restore him: 'Ah! Sister,' said he, 'why did you not let me
    go?' He also remarked to the attendants, that he feared the
    Sister would prolong his life for a month, but his fears were
    not realized; in a few days he slept the sleep of the just.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One of the soldiers, who had been a long time in the hospital,
    having fallen very ill, I tried to persuade him to make his
    peace with God, before going to meet that God as his Judge. My
    efforts met with little success; he did not admit the necessity
    of baptism, and he was not in the least concerned about his
    salvation. But he accepted a medal, and without being aware of
    it, he swallowed some drops of holy water. Then I recommended
    him very earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, and in a few days
    after he asked to be instructed, and was baptized. We could not
    give him greater pleasure than to pray beside him. He received
    Extreme Unction with deep and sincere devotion, and expired in
    the most happy dispositions."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In the hospital was a soldier named Sanders, who, though not
    very ill, was unable to join his regiment. He had no idea of
    religion. I remarked that he observed us very closely, as if
    examining our conduct; nothing escaped him. Before leaving, he
    came to bid me good-by and thank me for the care I had bestowed
    upon him. I was somewhat surprised, as I had had no occasion of
    serving him; but, seeing he was so well disposed, I profited by
    the opportunity to offer him a medal and a book explaining the
    Catholic Faith. He accepted them with gratitude, and returned
    to his regiment. A year later, he came again to the hospital,
    hastening to inform me of his conversion, and seeking a priest,
    by whom he was gladly instructed and received into the fold
    of the Holy Church. 'I owe my conversion,' said he, 'to the
    intercession of the Immaculate Mary and your prayers, and it
    has been my happy lot to bring other souls to God.' This was,
    indeed, the case; employed in a military hospital, where he was
    the only Catholic, by his zeal and solicitude he instructed
    many poor sick, called a priest, had them baptized, and enjoyed
    the consolation of procuring eternal happiness for a large
    number of his fellow-soldiers."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In 1862, a Sister of the hospital at New Orleans gave a medal
    to one of the attendants on the point of setting out for the
    army, and she advised him to keep it always about him. Some
    time after, he returned, having received a slight wound on
    the head. On seeing the Sister, he exclaimed: 'Sister, here
    is the medal you gave me; it has saved my life! Just in the
    midst of battle, the string by which the medal hung around my
    neck broke, and whilst the cannons were roaring around us, I
    attached it to a button of my uniform; all my companions fell,
    and I escaped with this slight contusion.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Military Hospital of Philadelphia._

    "A soldier was brought to the hospital grievously wounded. A
    few questions which the Sister put to him on the subject of
    religion revealed the fact, that not only was he not baptized,
    but also most ignorant of the truths essential to salvation.
    The Sister then began to instruct him, and with all requisite
    prudence, gave him to understand that the physicians despaired
    of his recovery. From this moment he listened with the deepest
    interest to explanations of the catechism; and, one day, when
    Sister had spoken to him of the necessity of that Sacrament
    which renders us children of God and heirs of heaven, he joined
    his hands and said in the most beseeching tone: 'Oh! do not let
    me die without baptism!' The Sister then asked him from what
    minister he desired to receive this Sacrament and he replied:
    'From yours; from him who says Mass in the Sister's Chapel.'
    Before the close of the day, Father MacGrane had satisfied
    the sick man's pious desire, and the new Christian, filled
    with joy, incessantly repeated acts of love and gratitude. The
    physician, making his evening visit, found him so ill, that
    he directed the attendant to watch him all night, saying he
    might die at any moment. Before retiring, the Sister gave him a
    medal of the Blessed Virgin, and briefly narrating to him how
    this tender Mother had often wrought miraculous cures by means
    of her blessed image; she encouraged the dying man to address
    himself to Mary with entire confidence.

    "Next morning she was surprised to find him better; but he
    was much troubled about 'his piece,' which he could not find;
    he feared it had been taken away. The Sister soon found and
    restored it to him; receiving it most joyfully, he asked for a
    string and placed the medal over his wound. When the physician
    came, which was soon after, he was no less surprised than the
    Sister at perceiving the change in his patient's condition.
    The patient, (Duken by name), continued to improve, and in a
    few weeks he could walk with the aid of crutches. His first
    visit was to the chapel; from that day, whenever we had Mass,
    he rose at five o'clock in order to assist at it; and so eager
    was he for Father MacGrane's instructions, that the intervening
    time from one Sunday to another seemed to him very long. He
    attributed his cure to the Blessed Virgin, and it was indeed
    most remarkable; for he was out of the physician's hands long
    before many other soldiers of the same ward whose wounds were
    less dangerous, and who had received the same attentions, were
    able to leave their beds. He asked for a furlough that he might
    visit his wife, whom he was very anxious to see a member of the
    true Church, but 'knowing her prejudice against Catholics, he
    dared hope for such a happiness.' It was, nevertheless, granted
    him; she consented to be baptized with her children, and Duken
    returned to the hospital, blessing God and the holy Virgin for
    the wonderful graces bestowed on his family.

    "Our Sisters of the South, like those of the North, were
    in great demand wherever sufferings and miseries claimed
    relief, and they responded to the call with a holy courage and

    "In these divers localities was the Miraculous Medal the
    instrument God frequently employed in delivering souls from
    the yoke of Satan. How often have we seen Mary's image
    kissed respectfully by lips which had formerly uttered only
    blasphemies against the Mother of God! Every one asked for
    a medal; some, no doubt, urged by curiosity or the desire
    of possessing a souvenir of the Sisters, as they themselves
    acknowledged; but, even so, they could not carry upon
    their person this sweet image, without growing better and
    experiencing the effects of Mary's protection. In nearly every
    case, what rendered the triumph of grace still more remarkable
    was the fact of its acting upon men who were not only ignorant,
    but fanatical, hating the name of Catholic, and excited to
    fury at the sight of a priest. A Sister relates that she
    ventured, one day, to ask a soldier, who was in the threshold
    of eternity, if he had been baptized. 'No,' was the reply, in
    a voice of thunder; 'no, and I have no wish to be plunged in
    water just now. Let me alone!'

    "'Recommending him to Mary,' says the Sister, 'I left him.
    Towards evening, I heard a noise in the ward in the direction
    of his bed, and the attendant came in haste to say that the
    patient had sent for me.' 'Ah!' said the latter, in a tone
    very different from that of his morning's speech; 'I am dying,
    baptize me, I beg of you.' 'Giving him briefly the necessary
    instruction, I administered the holy rite, and a few hours
    later he peacefully expired.'

    "Rarely did these poor soldiers complain of their fate; though
    but little accustomed to the rigors of military life, they bore
    them with admirable patience. However, there was one exception
    to the general rule, that of an old soldier, who murmured
    continually and accused God of afflicting him unjustly.
    Arguments were worse than useless, they served but to aggravate
    the evil. Failing in this means to bring him to a better state
    of mind, I offered him a medal of the Blessed Virgin. By
    degrees, his complaints ceased, his countenance became composed
    and serene, and I had the consolation of seeing him expire in
    the most edifying dispositions."


Letter of Mr. Stroever, Priest of the Mission, July 1st, 1867:

    "The wounded arrive in great numbers, and all our houses are
    filled. Every one wishes to have a medal; I inquired of one,
    who had begged for a medal at any price, if he were a Catholic.
    'No,' was the answer; 'I am a Protestant but I would like to
    have it as a souvenir of yourself;' and he received it most

    "We observe a certain degree of piety among the soldiers,
    and the sick are most eager to receive the Sacraments. The
    Protestants show a remarkable inclination to Catholicity. Not
    only the private soldiers, but even persons of distinction,
    wishing to have medals, scapulars or a crucifix. They take no
    measures to conceal these objects of devotion, and no one seems
    surprised at seeing them on their persons."


Notes of a Sister of the Hospital d'Enghien:

    "During the siege, we had placed Miraculous Medals over all the
    doors and windows of the house. As one of our Sisters expressed
    the intention of concealing them, Sister Catherine exclaimed:
    'No, no; they must be seen; put them in the middle of the
    principal entrance.'

    "During the few days immediately preceding our departure from
    the house, the federal national guards said to one another:
    'Let us go and ask the venerable Sister Catherine for medals;
    she has given some to our comrades who have shown them to us,
    we would like to have them too.' 'But you, poor creatures,'
    replied a Sister, 'you have no faith, no religion, what good
    will the medal do you.' 'Very true, Sister,' said they, 'we
    have not much faith, but we believe in the medal; it has
    protected others, it will also protect us, and when we go to
    battle, it will help us to die as brave soldiers.' Good Sister
    Catherine gave medals to all who presented themselves, and
    many, who belonged to the enemy, sent their comrades to procure

    "After the army had entered Paris, thirty of the wounded
    insurgents, before being brought to trial, were sent to the
    Hospital d'Enghien to be nursed by the Sisters. The house
    was already transformed into an ambulance, and we were
    obliged to take one of the dormitories of the orphans for the
    newly-arrived patients. The appearance of these men were so
    frightful, that Sister Eugenie who had been appointed to attend
    them, had not the courage for the first two days to make any
    suggestions to them concerning religion; but finally, feeling
    that she must comply with her duty, and urged by the advice of
    a companion, she went to Sister Catherine and asked for medals
    for the insurgents. Sister gave them cheerfully, and encouraged
    her to use this powerful means of inspiring these unfortunate
    men with Christian sentiments. Animated by this thought, Sister
    Eugenie repaired to the ward, and much affected, proposed
    to say evening prayers. 'Yes, Sister,' answered some among
    them. Trembling, she began; but at the _Creed_, overcome by
    excitement and terror, she wept like a child, and was obliged
    to pause. When she recovered her voice, it was not to continue
    the prayers, but to tell the prisoners how much she felt at the
    thought that on the morrow, they would be judged and perhaps
    condemned; then making them a brief exhortation, inspired by
    the circumstances, she offered to give each one a medal of the
    Blessed Virgin, begging them to retain it about their person,
    happen what might. The proposition was accepted immediately,
    but Sister Eugenie was too frightened to give the medal into
    their hands; in the middle of the night, when all seemed to be
    asleep, she quietly placed a medal under each one's pillow.
    How great was her joy next morning, to see all these poor
    insurgents with the medal around their neck.

    "The Superioress came into the hall where the men were
    collected and asked if they wished a priest to come and hear
    their confessions. All consented with unequivocal signs of
    gratitude. A good priest, one of the hostages of the Commune,
    came and heard their confession. On leaving them he seemed
    much consoled, and said he had every reason to hope for their
    salvation. The unfortunate men left the house at seven o'clock,
    and were conducted to Versailles; they were calm and resigned,
    and when about to leave, showed the Sisters the medal they
    wore. Doubtless, God accepted the sacrifice of their life in
    atonement for their faults."



Recent Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin



The definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, has, in our
age, brought to its climax, devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Divine
Providence employed twenty-four years in preparing the world for this
great event; we have seen in the preceding chapters, how much the
apparition of 1830, contributed thereto, and how powerful the influence
of the Miraculous Medal in propagating this devotion. Since this time a
second period of twenty-four years has elapsed, during which devotion
to the Immaculate Mary has shone as a radiant star in the firmament
of the Church, spreading everywhere the light of truth and the warmth
of true piety; and, by a gentle yet efficacious impulse, producing
unanimity of mind and heart in the great Catholic family.

Since the definition, as well as before it, France continues to be the
privileged country of Mary; nowhere else are miracles so numerous, or
graces so abundant. Whence arises this glorious prerogative? So far as
we are permitted to penetrate the secrets of God, it appears to us, to
our understanding: France who has wrought so much evil by disseminating
philosophical and revolutionary doctrines, is to repair the past by
propagating truth, and Mary desires to prepare her for this mission.
Everyone knows, moreover, that the French character possesses a force
of expansion and a power of energy that render the French eminently
qualified to maintain the interests of truth and justice. Then, again,
is not France the eldest daughter of the Church, since she was baptized
in the person of Clovis, the first of the Most Christian Kings; and in
virtue of this title, is it not her duty to devote herself under the
patronage of her Mother in heaven to the defence of her Mother on earth?

Be the motives of Mary's predilection for the French nation what they
may, the fact is incontrovertible. Nevertheless, the Blessed Virgin has
not forgotten other Catholic countries; they also have had their share
in the singular favors she has so generously dispensed in our days.


Four years after the definition of the Immaculate Conception, Mary
vouchsafed to manifest herself anew to the world, and this time, as if
in token of her gratitude, she took the glorious name the Church had
just decreed her: "_I am the Immaculate Conception_." It was in France
that the vision of the medal took place, preparatory to the act of
December 8th, 1854; it was also in France, at Lourdes, in the diocese
of Tarbes, at the base of the Pyrenees, that Mary came in person, to
testify and proclaim that privilege which she prized above all others.
In 1830, she choose a young, unlettered Sister for her confidant; in
1846, she addressed herself to two poor peasant children; in 1858, she
also selects one in the humblest ranks of life as the depository of her
merciful designs.

Bernadette Soubirous, born at Lourdes in 1844, of poor parents, was
a young girl of weak and delicate health; she could neither read nor
write; she knew no prayers but her _Chaplet_, and she could speak only
the _patois_ of the country. "On February 11th, 1858," says she, "my
parents were in great perplexity for want of wood to cook the dinner. I
put on my hood, and offered to go with my younger sister Marie and our
friend, the little Jeanne Abadie, to pick up some dead branches." The
three children repaired to the bank of the Gave, opposite the grotto
of Masabielle; in which were collected the sand and branches of trees
drifted there by the current. But to reach the grotto, it was necessary
to wade through the shallow bed of the river. Marie and Jeanne took off
their shoes without hesitation; Bernadette delayed and feared to cross,
as she was suffering from a cold. Whilst thus deliberating, she was
astonished by a rushing of wind, instantly repeated, though the trees
near the river were motionless. One vine only was slightly agitated,
an eglantine, which grew in the upper part of this natural grotto.
This niche and the wild rose within reflected a most extraordinary
brilliancy; a Lady of admirable beauty appeared in the niche, her feet
resting on the eglantine, her arms gracefully bent, and her hands
joined; with a sweet smile, she saluted the child. Bernadette's first
emotion was one of fear; she instinctively grasped her chaplet, as if
seeking defence in it, and she tried to raise her hand to make the sign
of the cross, but her arm fell powerless and her terror increased. The
Lady also had a _Chaplet_ suspended from her left wrist; taking it in
her right hand, she made a very distinct sign of the cross, and passed
between her fingers the beads (white as drops of milk); but her lips
did not move. She smiled upon the shepherdess, who, reassured from
this moment, recovered the use of her arm, made the sign of the cross
and recited the _Chaplet_. The little Bernadette remained on her knees
nearly an hour, in ecstacy. At length, the Lady made her a sign to
approach, but Bernadette did not move. Then the Lady, extending her
hand, smiled, and, bowing as if bidding farewell, disappeared. Returned
to herself, Bernadette thought of rejoining her companions, who, having
seen nothing, were at a loss to understand her conduct. She entered
the water, which she found, to her surprise, of a gentle warmth. On
reaching home, she imparted the secret to her sister, and then to her
mother, who did not credit it.

However, the child being tormented by an earnest desire to behold the
apparition again, her parents granted permission for her return to the
grotto with several companions; the same manifestation took place and
the same ecstacy. On Thursday, February 18th, she again repaired to the
grotto; the apparition was visible for the third time, and the Lady
requested Bernadette to come there daily for a fortnight. Bernadette
promised. "And I," replied the Lady, "promise to render you happy not
in this world, but the next."

On the succeeding days, the young girl went to the grotto, accompanied
by her parents and an ever increasing crowd. None of them saw or
heard anything. The transfiguration of the countenance of Bernadette
announced the presence of a supernatural being, who urged the child to
pray for sinners.

On the sixth day of the fortnight, the august Lady revealed to
Bernadette three secrets, forbidding her to communicate them to any
one. She taught her a prayer, and charged her with a message. "You will
go," said she, "and tell the priest that a chapel must be built here,
and that the people must come here in procession."

Bernadette communicated this order to the curé, but he hesitated to
believe the child, and told her to ask the Lady for a sign which might
confirm her words, for example, to make the wild rose which winter has
divested of its leaves, break forth into blossom, then the month of

The Blessed Virgin did not judge proper to grant the miracle, but she
tried Bernadette's obedience, by commanding her to kiss the ground
on several occasions, and to climb the rock on her knees, praying
meantime for sinners. One day she enjoined upon her to go and drink at
the fountain of the grotto, to wash therein, and to eat of a certain
herb which grew in that place. Bernadette saw no fountain, and no one
had ever heard of one in the grotto, yet on a sign from the Lady, the
docile child dug the earth with her fingers, and discovered a muddy
water which, notwithstanding her repugnance, she used as commanded.

At the end of several days, the little thread of muddy water had become
a limpid and abundant spring, and what was still more marvelous, it
wrought innumerable prodigies. On February 26th, by the use of this
water, a man who had gone blind twenty years previous, by the explosion
of a mine, recovered his sight, and on the last day of the fortnight, a
child dying, or as was supposed, dead, regained life and health in the
waters of this fountain.

We will not dwell here upon the persecutions directed against
Bernadette by the magistrates, or upon the vexations besetting the
pilgrims who flocked hither from all parts of the world. Every one has
read these details in the work of M. Lasserre, who so ably depicts the
dignity and firmness displayed in the affair by the parish priest, M.

The apparition of March 25th, has a special significance. Bernadette,
on several occasions, inquired the Lady's name. At this question, the
vision, on the day mentioned, unclasped her hands, the chaplet of
golden chain and alabaster grains sliding on to her arm. She opened her
arms and directed them towards the earth, as if to indicate that her
virginal hands were filled with benedictions for the human race; then
raising them towards the celestial country, whence descended on this
day the divine messenger of the Annunciation, she clasped them with
fervor, and looking towards heaven with an indescribable expression
of gratitude, she pronounced these words: "_I am the Immaculate
Conception_." Having said this, she disappeared, and the child found
herself and the multitude in presence of a bare rock.

The Immaculate Virgin appeared to Bernadette twice again; on Easter
Monday, April 5th, and July 16th, the Feast of our Lady of Mount

The following 28th of July, the Bishop of Tarbes named a commission of
inquiry, composed of ecclesiastics, physicians and learned men. July
18th, 1862, he published a decree concerning the events that had taken
place at Lourdes; it was couched in the following words:

    "We judge that the Immaculate Mother of God did really appear
    to Bernadette Soubirous, Feb. 11th, 1858, and on succeeding
    days to the number of eighteen times in the grotto of
    Masabielle, near the city of Lourdes; that this apparition
    bears all the characteristics of truth, and that the faithful
    may rely upon its reality."

Mary had petitioned that a chapel be built upon the spot. The first
stone was laid in the month of October, 1862, the piety of pilgrims
furnishing the necessary funds for the erection of the edifice, and on
the 21st of May, 1868, the Holy Mass was celebrated there for the first
time, in the crypt which was to bear the new sanctuary. The connection
existing between the apparitions of 1858 and 1830 is indicated by two
painted windows in the sanctuary, one of which represents Bernadette's
vision, the other that of Sister Catherine.

The pilgrimage to Lourdes has assumed vast proportions; thanks to the
railroads, the pilgrims each year number hundreds of thousands, coming
from every quarter of the globe, and countless miracles recompense the
faith of those who seek in this sanctuary the merciful power of the
Immaculate Mary.

The grotto of Lourdes, reproduced in a thousand places, has become one
of the most popular objects of devotion.

As to Bernadette, the interest and veneration attached to her have not
in the least affected her candor and simplicity. She has retired to the
convent of Sisters Hospitallers of Nevers, and nothing distinguishes
her from the most humble of her companions.


    "France, having been invaded by the Prussians, was conquered;
    Paris was besieged and suffered the horrors of famine,
    aggravated by the rigors of an extremely cold winter. It
    was at this period the Blessed Virgin vouchsafed to appear,
    bringing words of hope and consolation to the people of her
    predilection. The place favored with this apparition was the
    little town of Pontmain, situated about four leagues from
    Fougères, on the confines of the dioceses of Laval and Rennes.
    It was Monday, January 17th, 1871, about six o'clock in the
    evening; Eugène Barbedette, a child aged twelve years, looking
    from the door of the barn where he was occupied with his father
    and younger brother, Joseph, aged ten years, perceived in the
    air, a little above and behind the house of the family of
    Guidecoq, which was opposite him, a tall and beautiful Lady,
    who smiled upon him. He called his brother, his father, and
    a woman of the village who was talking to him at the moment.
    But his brother was the only one except himself who saw the
    vision, and both gave exactly the same description of this
    wonderful being. The Lady was clothed in a wide-sleeved blue
    robe, embroidered with golden stars. Her dress descended to
    the shoes, which were also blue, fastened with a clasp of
    gold-colored ribbon. She wore a black veil, covering a portion
    of her forehead and falling behind her shoulders to the girdle.
    Upon her head was a golden circle like a diadem, and with no
    ornament but a red line passing through the middle. Her face
    was delicate, very white, and of incomparable beauty.

    "In a little while, quite a crowd had collected around the
    barn-door; Madame Barbedette, the Sisters in charge of the
    parish school, the venerable curé, and more than sixty other
    persons, but of all these, only two shared the happiness of the
    Barbedette children. These two were also children, boarders
    at the convent. Frances Richer, aged eleven years, and Jane
    Mary Lebossé, aged nine and a half. The other spectators were
    witnesses only of the joy and happiness of the four privileged
    ones, but all were convinced that it was truly the Blessed
    Virgin who had appeared.

    "The Blessed Virgin's attitude was at first, that seen in the
    Miraculous Medal. After the parish priest arrived, a circle of
    blue was formed around the apparition, and a small red cross
    like that worn by pilgrims, appeared on the Blessed Virgin's
    heart. All began to pray. Suddenly the vision was enlarged,
    and outside the blue circle, appeared a long white strip or
    band, on which the children saw letters successively traced
    and forming those words: '_But pray, my children. God will, in
    a short time hear you. My Son allows himself to be touched by
    your supplications._' Then, raising her hands, as if in unison
    with the singing of the canticle, '_Mother of hope_,' there
    appeared in them a red crucifix at the top of which was the
    inscription: _Jesus Christ_.

    "This prodigy was visible for three hours. After juridical
    information, Mgr. Wicart, Bishop of Laval, confirmed by a
    solemn judgment, the reality of the apparition.

    "On the 17th of January, 1872, the first anniversary of the
    event, a beautiful statue representing the apparition, was
    solemnly set up, in presence of more than eight thousand
    pilgrims, and a magnificent church is now in course of erection
    on the spot.

    "The Holy See has authorized the clergy of the diocese of Laval
    to recite the _Office_ and celebrate the Mass of the Immaculate
    Conception, every year, on the 17th of January; and by Papal
    brief, an archconfraternity, under the title of _Our Lady of
    Hope_, has been instituted in the parish of Pontmain."[36]

    [Footnote 36: Extract of a relation approved by the Bishop of

       *       *       *       *       *

We could enumerate many other apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in
France, but, not having been approved, by ecclesiastical authority, we
dare not give them as authentic. We shall mention only the apparitions
with which Miss Estelle Faguette was favored with at Pellevoisin, in
the diocese of Bourges. The instantaneous cure of this lady, afflicted
by a malady judged incurable, may be regarded as evidence of the truth
of the account. Moreover, the Archbishop of Bourges appears to have
considered it reliable, as he has authorized the erection of a chapel
in memory of the event. On the 14th of February, 1876, the Blessed
Virgin appeared to Miss Faguette, and the vision was repeated fifteen
times in the space of ten months. Mary's attitude was similar to that
represented on the Miraculous Medal, except that the rays proceeding
from her hands were replaced by drops of dew, symbols of grace. A
scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was on her breast.

Mary expressed her love for France, but complained of her admonitions
being disregarded. She recommended fervent prayer, by the fulfillment
of which duty we may confidently rely upon God's mercy.

    "What have I not done for France?" said she. "How many
    warnings have I not given! Yet, this unhappy land refuses to
    listen. I can no longer restrain my Son's wrath. France will
    suffer. Have courage and confidence. I come especially for the
    conversion of sinners. You must pray; I set you the example.
    My Son's heart has so great love for my heart that He cannot
    refuse my petitions. You must all pray, and have confidence!"
    Showing the scapular, she said: "I love this devotion."

       *       *       *       *       *

Who has not heard of the wonderful manifestations of the Blessed Virgin
in Italy of late years? How many thousands of persons, moved by piety
or curiosity, have visited the Madonnas of Rimini, of San Ginesio,
of Vicovaro, of Prosessi, etc., and have witnessed the movement of
the eyes, the change of color, and other miraculous signs certainly
attributable to none but a supernatural power. It does not appear,
however, that Mary has, in this country, presented herself in person,
though here she receives the most sincere and abundant tributes of
affection. Doubtless, she considers any stimulus to the faith of its
people unnecessary. And besides, may we not say that she has fixed her
abode in Italy, since her own house, the house of Nazareth, wherein the
mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished, and where dwelt the Holy
Family, has been transported thither by the hands of angels?

       *       *       *       *       *

Whilst the Prussian government is persecuting the Church, the Blessed
Virgin vouchsafed to appear in the two most Catholic provinces of her
kingdom, and in two opposite frontiers, near the banks of the Rhine
and in the Grand Duchy of Posen. Does she not seem to say to the good
people of these localities, that they must have confidence and that
God will conquer their enemies? We must remark that on both of these
occasions, Mary announces herself as the _Virgin conceived without

We give an abridged account of these two apparitions, which we have
every reason to consider supernatural. The second vision had been
formally approved by the Bishop of Ermeland.

On the 3rd of July, 1876, at Marpingen, an inconsiderable village of
the district of Trèves (Rhenish Prussia), the Blessed Virgin appeared
to three little girls, in a pine forest about the hour of the evening.
The three children were each about eight years of age, and belonged
to families of poor, honest farmers residing in the village. They
perceived a bright light, and in the midst of it a beautiful Lady
seated, holding a child in her right arm. The Lady and child were clad
in white, the Lady crowned with red roses, and in her clasped hands, a
little cross.

The vision was renewed several times. To the childrens' questions as
to her name, she answered; "_I am she who was conceived without sin_;"
and when asked what she desired, the reply was: "That you pray with
fervor, and that you commit no sin." Several sick persons were cured by
touching the place which the children pointed out as that occupied by
the Blessed Virgin. These facts are incontestable; but they have not
yet been examined by ecclesiastical authority.[37]

    [Footnote 37: Extract from _Catholic Annals_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the village of Grietzwald, in Varmia, one of the ancient provinces
of Poland annexed to Prussia, four young girls, poor and of great
innocence, were favored on various occasions for two months, beginning
June 27th, 1877, with apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, who appeared
sometimes alone, sometimes carrying the Child Jesus, holding in his
hands a globe surmounted by a cross. Both Mother and Child were clothed
in white.

To the children's question: "Who are you?" the apparition answered, on
one occasion: "I am the Blessed Virgin Mary, _conceived without sin_;"
and another time, "_I am the Immaculate Conception_."

In the first apparition, our Lady's countenance was sad, and she even
shed tears; afterwards, it betokened joy. She asked that a chapel be
erected and a statue of the Immaculate Conception placed therein. At
each apparition she blessed the crowd, which was always numerous; she
blessed also a spring, which has since then furnished an abundant
supply of water, effecting miraculous cures. She recommended the
recitation of the _Rosary_, and exhorted all to fervent prayer, and
confidence in the midst of the trials which were to come.[38]

    [Footnote 38: Letters from Poland.]

       *       *       *       *       *

These recent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin have founded new
pilgrimages, the faithful flocking to the favored spots in honor of the
Mother of God, and ask for the graces which she bestows with a truly
royal liberality. At the same time her ancient sanctuaries, far from
being neglected, have only become more endeared to piety, many having
been reconstructed with magnificence, or at least most handsomely
embellished; it suffices to mention Fourvières, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde,
Rocamadour, Boulogne-sur-mer, Liesse and Buglose.

The coronation of the most celebrated statues of the Blessed Virgin,
in the name and by the munificence of Pius IX, was the occasion of
imposing solemnities, and also a means of infusing into the devotion of
the people greater vigor and fervor.

The exercises of the Month of Mary have extended to the most humble
villages, and there is scarcely a parish without its confraternity in
honor of the Blessed Virgin.

Science, eloquence, poetry, music, sculpture, painting and architecture
have rivalled one another in celebrating the glory of the Virgin Mother.

What may we deduce from this wonderful increase of devotion to the
Immaculate Mary?

The impression naturally produced is that of confidence. A society
which pays such homage to Mary, cannot perish. If, as St Bernard says,
it is unheard of that any one has been forsaken who had recourse to
her intercession, how were it possible that the fervent prayers of an
entire people should fail to touch her heart? No, the future is not
without hope; the mediation of Mary will save us.

The venerable Grignion of Montfort, in his _Treatise_ on true devotion
to the Blessed Virgin has written these lines: "It is by the Blessed
Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ came into the world; it is also by her,
that he is to reign in the world. If then, as is certain, the reign
of Jesus Christ will come, so likewise is it certain that this reign
will be a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of the
Blessed Virgin. Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, produced that
most stupendous of all creations, a Man-God, and she will produce by
the power of this same Holy Spirit, the greatest prodigies in these
latter times. It is through Mary the salvation of the world began, it
is through Mary the salvation of the world is to be consummated. Mary
will display still greater mercy, power and grace in these days. Mercy,
to bring back poor sinners; power, against the enemies of God; grace,
to sustain and animate the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of
Jesus Christ, combating for His interests. Ah! when will arrive the
day that establishes Mary mistress and sovereign of hearts, to subject
them to the empire of Jesus?... Then will great and wonderful things be
accomplished.... When will this joyful epoch come, this _Age of Mary_,
in which souls absorbed in the abyss of the interior of Mary, will
become living copies of the sublime, original, loving and glorifying
Jesus Christ?"

Father de Montfort adds, in addressing our Saviour: _Ut adveniat regnum
tuum, adveniat regnum Mariæ!_ May the reign of Mary come that they
reign, O Jesus, may come!

Is not this the _Age of Mary_? Was there ever in the Church, a period
in which Mary was, if we may thus express it, so lavish of favors as
in these, our days? Was there ever a period in which she has appeared
so frequently and familiarly, in which she has given to the world,
admonitions so grave and maternal; in which she has worked so many
miracles; and poured out graces so abundantly? The reader of this
volume will answer unhesitatingly, that no period of history offers
anything comparable to what we have witnessed in our own days.

It is true, that the day of triumph announced by the venerated
Montfort, appears far distant; one might say that the kingdom of God on
earth is more compromised than ever. The wicked make unexampled efforts
to demolish the social edifice; they are numerous, powerful, and
possessed of incalculable resources. But for the Church, when all seems
lost, then is her triumph at hand. God sometimes permits the malice of
men to exceed all bounds, that His power may be the more manifest when
the moment of their defeat arrives.

All the united efforts of the Church's enemies in the course of ages,
all their errors, hatred and violence directed against her, the Spouse
of Christ, are now concentrated in what is termed the Revolution--that
is, anti-Christianity reduced to a system and propagated throughout the
world, it is Satan usurping the place of Jesus Christ.

But He who has conquered the world, and put to flight the prince of the
world, will not permit Himself to be dethroned. He will reign, and even
now, before our eyes, is His kingdom being prepared, by the mediation
of the Immaculate Mary, of whom the promise was made that _she should
crush the serpent's head, and to whom alone belongs the privilege of
destroying all heresies arising upon earth_.

                               _THE END._

Transcriber's Note: The book included a decorative image at the
beginning of each chapter.

The labels for these have been removed in the text version of
this book

The oe ligature has been expanded. There were many printer's errors in
this publication, which have been corrected.

    Page 25 Extraordinay is now extraordinary.
    Page 112 physican is now physician.
    Page 158 Physycian is now for physician.
    Page 258 Prepartion is now preparation.
    Page 266 Tranformed is now transformed.

Inconsistent use of accents has resulted in 2 words being
amended. Chalons is now Châlons, and Eugene is now Eugène.

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