It was on November 27, 1830, that the blessed Mother appeared to a young sister,
St Catherine Laboure in Paris France. Mary asked the Vincentian sister to have a
medal struck in honor of her Immaculate Conception, following the model she
would show her: "Have the medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive
great graces. They should wear it around the neck." The medal was finally struck
on June 30, 1832 with the permission of the Archbishop of Paris. The many miracles
that resulted after this gave it the popular name of the "Miraculous Medal." On the
front side of the medal may be seen the Blessed Mother standing on the globe of
the earth and crushing the head of the evil serpent, Satan. From her extended hands,
rays of light stream forth upon the world, symbolizing graces that the good Mother
procures from her Divine Son for her children. Around the edge of this side of the
medal are inscribed the words; "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have
recourse to thee." On the reverse side of the medal, the "M" of Mary is surmounted
by the Cross of Christ, beneath which she stood and joined her sacrifice to the perfect
sacrifice of her Son. Beneath this can be seen the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary -
together in the virginal womb during His Gestation, together during life, together in
Calvary and for eternity. Christ's Heart is surrounded by a crown of thorns and
flames with a surmounted cross atop it, to represent the burning love of Jesus for
humanity testified unto by the shedding of His blood at Calvary. Mary's heart is
pierced by a sword, as Simeon the Prophet foretold (Lk 2:35), and surmounted by
flames, her own burning love for humanity. This whole is surrounded by twelve
stars around the edge of the medal, which refer to St. John's vision of the "woman
clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of
twelve stars" (cf. Rv 12:1)