Saturday, December 8th, is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day we celebrate Our Blessed Mother as conceived without Original Sin. The declaration of this solemnity was inspired by the 1830 apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Laboure in France.
Catherine was a novice (studying to become a Nun) in the Religious community of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. On the night of July 18-19, 1830, she woke up at midnight and noticed a child standing at the foot of her bed. The child summoned her to the chapel. When she got there, she beheld the Virgin Mary who now spoke to her for over two hours. During this meeting, Mary said, “My child, I am going to give you a mission.
Few months later, while Catherine was with the other nuns in the chapel praying our Blessed Mothered appeared again. Her head was covered with a soft white veil, and she stood on what looked like a ball. Under her feet was a serpent with a crushed head. She has a globe in her hands, with a tiny cross at its top, and appeared to be offering the globe to God in prayer. Upon her fingers were many rings filled with precious stones, and rays of light could be seen shooting out from these stones, but some were dark.
The Blessed Mother, then explained: “This ball which you see is the world; I am praying for it and everyone in the world. The rays are the graces I give to everyone who asks for them. But there are no rays from some of these stones because people have not asked for them. Then, the vision changed to show an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on a globe with her arms outstretched with the dazzling rays of light still streaming from her fingers. Around the image was the inscription: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (Our blessed Mother revealed at this moment that She was conceived without sin—Immaculate Conception).
Then, the Image turned, revealing the design on the reverse side. Twelve stars encircled the letter "M," from which a cross arose. Below the “M” were two hearts with flames arising from them. Thorns encircle one heart, and a sword pierces the other. The whole picture was encircled with 12 stars in a golden frame. A voice then said, "Have a medal made according to this picture. All who wear it, when blessed, will receive many graces, especially if they wear it suspended about their necks.” She also instructed that the “Medal be given to the whole world and to every person.”
Because of the many miracles associated with “Miraculous” Medal, The Church deemed it fit that the love of Mary manifested so generously and powerfully by the Miraculous Medal should not be overlooked and that devotion to the Immaculate Conception should become worldwide. So, upon careful examination of the facts surrounding this apparition, Pope Leo XII declared the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. This is so fitting because a sinful womb cannot contain and carry the sinless Son of God Most High. A river cannot contain an ocean. Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.