Spiritual Paris

Is Paris a spiritual city? If you’re stuck in a traffic jam on the ‘periph’ engulfed in seething, contained road rage or if you’ve just tumbled out of one of Paris’s ‘no holds barred’ after hours clubs, ‘spiritual’ may not be the first word that comes to mind.

Nevertheless, Paris has been known to be a city where miracles can happen. Several years ago, I heard about the Miraculous Medal – also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception.
Most visitors to France are familiar with Lourdes located far to the south in the Pyrenees, but a much closer apparation site for the Virgin Mary exists right in Paris.
In 1830, a novice nun named Catherine Laboure experienced three apparitions at the Notre Dame Chapel of the Miraculous Medal which is located at 140, rue du Bac,Metro: Sevres-Babylone in the St. Germain -des-Pres neighborhood.
Apparently two million pilgrims visit this site every year which ranks with the Basilica of St. Theresa in Lisieux as the two most visited pilgrimage sites after Lourdes.
Unlike the vast proportions of Lourdes and St. Theresa’s basilicain Lisieux, the Notre Dame chapel is a jewel box of mosaic tucked in narrow Rue du Bac in the heart of Paris’s Left Bank.
The miraculous medal apparently was commissioned by the Virgin Mary herself based on Catherine Laboure’s description of the apparitions.
She described many rays of light streaming from Mary’s fingers that symbolize the graces available for those who ask.