Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse (The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal)
ADRESS : 140 rue du Bac 75340 Paris Cedex 07
TRANSPORTATION : Metro line 10 Sèvres station/ line 12 Babylone station
OPENING HOURS : daily except for Tuesday 7:45-13:00, 14:30-19:00/ Tue 7:45-19:00/ closed on holidays except for religious holidays
WEBSITE : you can find the website from here.
Just behind the Bon Marche, the oldest department store in Paris, you can find this church. From its appearance, you wouldn’t expect that there is a church hidden in this modern building, however, The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is an important place of prayer and pilgrimage, relating the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. Many people from all over the world visit here and ask the Virgin Mary’s protection.
Saint Vincent de Paul
Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) was a French Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. Studied at a college in Dax in France and he began his study of theology at the University of Toulouse. in 1605, he was taken captive by Babary pirates and taken to Tunis. After, he was sold for multiple times and the last master was a former priest and Franciscan from Nice. He had converted this master’s wife and they finally escaped back in France. Thus he returned to Europe again and spent his life around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He founded what is known now as Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul to help poor people.
Saint Catherine Laboure
Saint Catherine Laboure was born on 2nd of May in 1806, in a small village in Burgundy. She lost her mother at the age of 9 and started working as a farmer at the age of 11. On 18th of July, after 3 months she has been at the Seminary, Catherine saw obtained the grace of seeing the Blessed Virgin, following her guardian angel to the chapel. And on 27th of November, she heard the “rustling of a silk dress”, the same sound she heard the last time. This time she heard her voice saying, “Have a medal made according to this model. For those who wear it with confidence, there will be abundant graces.”
This is the inside of the church. You can find the Virgin Mary open her hand with rings with precious stones. And these jewels emit rays of light, becoming increasingly bigger as they beam toward earth. It is described by Catherine that the radiance of these beans justifies and strengthens the trust in Mary’s faithfulness toward her Creator and children, in the efficacy of her intervention and the final victory.
You can find Miraculous Medal here. Sometimes the sisters are waiting outside of the shop and pray for you.
There are some color choices like silver, gold, blue, turquoise blue, etc. If it’s more convenient for you, there is also necklace or bracelet and so on. Each of the pieces cost from 1 euros to 3 euros. Be careful not to resell the medals which is not acceptable.
Some months after the apparitions, Sister Catherine was assigned to the Hospice of Enghein (in the 12th district of Paris) to care for elderly men. She set about her work; however, an interior voice kept insisting that the Medal must be struck. Catherine spoke about it again to her confessor, Father Aladel. In February 1832 a terrible cholera epidemic broke out in Paris and would cause more than 20,000 deaths. In June the Daughters of Charity began to distribute the first 2000 medals produced at Father Aladel’s request. Cures accumulated, as did protection from the disease and conversions. It was overwhelming. This is why the medal is called “miraculous” by people of Paris.(quated from the official homepage)
The letter “M” is Mary’s initial, the cross is the Cross of Christ. The two symblos are interlaced to show the indissoluble bond between Christ and His Holy Mother.
Twelve stars represent the Church. And the two hearts with flames are representing the love of Jesus and Mary for us.
The heart crowned with thorns recalls the cruel episode of the Passion of Christ before he was put to death. And the heart pierced by a sword is the Heart of His Motherand recalls the prophecy of Simeon when Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph.
There are variety types of medals at the shop. It’s all up to your preference, as to be able to bring it around easier with you or your favorite design.
The small pamphlets for better understanding of the chapel is available at the shop. you can put 30 cents in the box for each. The leaflets are available in many languages.
Written and photographed by : Leona Fujii