Miraculous, Mystical Paris

If you’re checking out St. Sulpice after having read the Da Vinci Code, you’re in the same neighborhood as the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, rue du Bac, Metro: Sevres Babylone. Visions seemed to be abound in France in the 19th century. You’ve probably already heard about St. Bernadette at Lourdes, but Catherine Laboure belonged to the Sisters of Charity (St. Vincent de Paul) in Paris when she began having her visions in the 1830s. In her two visions she saw the Virgin Mary in the chapel. She was holding a globe and told Catherine that anyone who came to the foot of the altar asking for blessings with confidence and fervor would be showered with grace. In later apparitions the Virgin Mary entrusted Catherine Laboure with the task to have a medal designed in a certain fashion called the ‘Miraculous Medal’. Consequently, between 1832 and 1842, 20 million medals were produced and sold – of which 2 million were made in gold and silver. By 1930 the number of medals in circulation were more than 320 million. Vachette, the company that produced these medals certainly had their wishes come true.
It is also said that the priest’s armchair, upon which the Blessed Virgin sat, during one of these apparitions has been the site of some miracles, including a hunchback who was able to sit up straight.
Whether you believe in miracles or not, this is a quiet place to seek respite from the holiday rush around the nearby Left Bank department stores.
It’s also a nice place to reflect on the mysteries of this holiday season.
The chapel where she had these visions is open to the public. at the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal.