The Immaculate Conception
Dec. 8th (Advent)
On December 8th 1854, Pope Pius IX on behalf of the Church made the following declaration:
'To the honour of the holy and undivided Trinity, to the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of
God, to the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian religion, we, by the
authority of Jesus Christ, our Lord, of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own, define that
the doctrine, which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, at the flrst moment of her conception, by
a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, the
saviour of the human race was preserved free from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God,
and is therefore to be flrmly and constantly believed by all the faithfull'
One of the effects of Baptism is the removal of Original Sin. Our Lady was the first to be freed from the
effects of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, when by a special privilege from God she was
conceived without sin.
STORY - "The Medal of the Immaculate Conception"
Catherine Labouré was born on 2nd May 1806 in France. She lived in the countryside near Dijon. Her
father owned a big farm. Her mother, Madeleine, was once a schoolteacher. She died when Catherine
was only nine years old. Before she died she taught Catherine a lot about God. When her mother died
Catherine invited Mary the mother of Jesus to be her new mother. Catherine had to take on the running
of the house, looking after all the workers and the rest of the family. She used to walk six miles to Mass
every morning. She loved to pray in front of a battered picture of the Annunciation, in her local church.
When she was twenty three years old Catherine joined the Daughters of Charity, a religious order of
nuns who help the poor and sick. She lived at the Rue de Bac in Paris.
One night, at half-eleven, she heard someone calling her name. She woke up and saw a child dressed
in white who told her Our Lady wanted to meet her in the chapel. She followed the child, who was
surrounded by a bright light, all the way to the chapel where all the candles were lighting. She heard
the sound of a silk dress rustling and saw Our Lady. She fell down at Our Lady's feet and it was the
sweetest moment of her life.
On 27th November 1830 in another apparition, Our Lady gave Catherine a very special mission. It was
a Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent, at half past five in the evening. Our Lady was wearing a
brilliant white dress with a white veil on her head, Her face was incredibly beautiful. Her feet rested on
a white globe with a figure of a serpent. She had rings on her fingers with gems in them. Rays of light
came from the rings and they were signs of the graces that she was willing to give to people who ask her
for help. A frame surrounded Our Lady with the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who
have recourse to thee" written on it (A Mhuire a gineadh gan smál, Guigh orainn a bhfuil muinín again asat
Our Lady told Catherine to have a medal struck with the design she saw on it.
Whoever had the medal was to wear it around the neck and Our Lady would
look after them. At the back of the medal there was to be a design with a large
letter "M" on a bar with a cross on it. Under this design there were two hearts
- one for Mary with a sword, the other for Jesus with a crown of thorns. Twelve
stars were around the border of this side of the medal. It was known as the
medal of the Immaculate Conception. The first medal was made in 1832 and
so many great blessings followed for people who wore it with faith that it
became known as the Miraculous Medal.
The Miraculous Medal is a sacramental of the Church.