Bringing the Apparitions of St. Catherine Home

Fr. Frank Sacks, CM, retelling the story of the first apparition to St. Catherine Labouré.


In a first for Mary’s Immaculate Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, devotees gathered on Wednesday, July 18th, for a special Mass to commemorate hear the story of the First Apparition of the Miraculous Medal in 1830. This was the first Marian apparition to St. Catherine Labouré in Paris, at the Motherhouse Chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, prior to receiving the instructions to have the medal made for people to wear with confidence to receive God’s graces.

After the Mass, devotees processed outside to place vigil lights for their intentions at the statue of Our Lady of the Chair, which depicts the First Apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Labouré. Fr. Frank Sacks, CM, was the celebrant for the Mass and delivered a beautiful sermon about the Apparition and its meaning.  [Note: He also provided the photos of the candles illuminating the shrine at dusk. See photos below.]


The Story of the First Miraculous Medal Apparition

On the night of July 18, 1830, the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent De Paul, the first apparition of our Blessed Mother to Catherine Labouré occurred in Paris, France. Catherine Labouré, a young religious of the order of the Daughters of Charity, prayed to St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of her order, to intercede on her behalf that she may see the Mother of God with her own eyes.

That night, the voice of a child, Catherine’s guardian angel, awoke her from her slumber, saying, “Sister Labouré, come to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you.” The chapel was aglow as if prepared for Mass, and, as Catherine knelt by the altar steps, she heard the rustle of a silk dress and the Blessed Virgin appeared. Mary sat in the Director’s Chair of the chapel, as Catherine knelt next to her, hands resting on the Virgin’s lap. Our Lady spoke to Catherine, saying, “My child, the good God wishes to entrust to you a mission. Have confidence. Do not be afraid. Graces will be shed on all… You will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent.”

[A video of the Anniversary of the First Miraculous Medal Apparition is available at Fast forward to 13:40 for the dramatic retelling of the story.]


Catholic Philly presented an interview with the new Director of the Shrine, Fr. Michael Carrol. Among other insights from the interview…

Philadelphia’s Central Association of the Miraculous Medal was founded in 1930 by Vincentian Father Joseph Skelly, who was introduced to the devotion as small child by his mother.

Now Father Carroll, who also was introduced to the devotion by his mother, is the latest spiritual director of the Central Association.

Fr. Carroll continues…

“My hope as the director is to share the promise and the gift of the Miraculous Medal to as many people as possible. This can be done with the support and help of our promoters.”

The message of the Miraculous Medal, he said, “is hope. Share your needs with Mary and she will present them to her Son. God will share his grace with you. Come to the altar.”

The great challenge today, Father Carroll believes, is making the Gospel relevant to young people.

Devotees pray Novena prayers at the outdoor shrine


Outdoor shrine at dusk


Outdoor shrine at dusk

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