Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse, Paris
A PILGRIMAGE IN PARIS
Catherine Laboure was a nun at the convent of the "soeurs de la charité" (founded by Saint Vincent de Paul) and during the night of the 18/19 July 1830 she was awoke up by a young girl saying the Holly Virgin was waiting for her in the Chapel. She had several meetings with the Jesus Christ's mother. During one of them, she received the accurate description of a medal showing Mary protecting the world.
A lot of medals were produced and sold. They protect against a lot of things and especially the sickness. The medal made some miracles during the cholera epidemic of 1832.
The chapel receives daily a lot of pilgrims coming from all the world.
Just nearby there is a department store : Le Bon Marche. So you can also shop.
Welcome to the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Medaille Miraculeuse, the spot that Frommer's Irreverent Paris calls an "Out-of-the-ordinary religious experience" and it sure is. Inside is a nun who is perfectly preserved under glass, laid out in the open for all to see, rather like Lenin! Only people pray to her in the hopes of being granted an audience with God. She is Catherine Laboure who had a vision in 1830 of the Virgin Mary and for which she has since been beatified by the church. Since then the nuns have sold 500 million miraculous medals with the image of the virgin that is guaranteed to reap rewards for all who wear them.
I thought I was taking a photo of Catherine Laboure but the photo I have is of a wax figure of another nun, St. Louise, who was the founder of the Daughters of Charity. This was off to the left of the chapel while Catherine Laboure's undeteriorated body lies to the right. This shot was taken during mass so I was unable to get closer as I didn't want to disturb the worshippers. Good thing my camera can take decent shots in low-level lighting so as not to resort to flash.
Address: 140 rue du Bac - 7th arr - Paris
Hours: Wednesday thru Monday 7:45am - 1pm, 2:30 - 7pm and Tuesday from 7:45am - 7pm. Get there early.
Photos: February 2006
We were staying near the Musée d'Orsay and the rue de Bac Metro station and one day decided to take one of the Paris Walks in that area. These are a box of cards and each card has a walk in a different part of Paris. Some are better than others, but all of them get you out into places you might not otherwise visit.
On this one we walked down rue de Bac toward and past our Metro station in the direction of the Bon Marché department store. The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal is at 140 rue du Bac but if you're not looking for it, it is very easy to miss. The entrance is very discreet but there is a small statue of the Virgin and Child above the portal. I knew it was there and was still hesitant. If you don't see it, check addresses. There is a portal where you go in and it doesn't look like much, but go in anyway. It is all inside. There is an information booth, a lovely little garden and the chapel which is very impressive but quite hidden. It's one of those magical places in Paris where the world stops and peace reigns.
The body of Ste. Catherine Labouré is visible beside the main altar. There will be pilgrims there so respect their prayers and be quiet as a mouse while visiting. You may take photos but don't use your flash.
I can't find a phone number but all the other information is listed on their web site listed below and there is more information at http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/paris-chapel-of-miraculous-medal
Miraculous and/or Macabre-- The Chapelle Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse (Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal)—140, rue du Bac 75007
Métro : Sevres Babylone
All her life, my grandmother wore a Miraculous Medal. By accident one day, I stumbled across the chapel in Paris where the medal originated. According to the story, a young novice, Catherine Laboure, had a series of divine visions, culminating with several visits from the blessed mother. These visions, and the medal which commemorates them, originated at this chapel in Paris.
Saint Catherine died in 1876. Her body was exhumed in 1933, and it was found to be perfectly preserved. It is currently on display in the chapel. Skeptics may feel that an artesian from Madame Tussaud’s has had a heavy hand in the preservation, but at any rate, pilgrims from around the world come to view her body and to pray. Another body is on display—that of Saint Louise de Marillac, who founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633 with Saint Vincent de Paul. Saint Vincent’s heart is also in the chapel.
Whatever your faith, this is a fascinating place!
If you want to see a Saint, then go to the Hôtel de Châtillon. Saint Catherine Labouré lies in state at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal) at 140 rue du Bac, Paris (Métro Sèvres - Babylone)
Catherine Labouré was a twenty-four year old novice sister when she was privileged to see Mary late on the night of 18 July 1830. Mary told Catherine that God wished to charge her with a mission. "There will be bad times to come. Misfortunes will come crashing down on France. The throne will be toppled. The whole world will be turned upside-down by misfortunes of all kinds [...] But come to the foot of this altar. There, graces will be poured out on all those, small, or great, who ask for them with confidence and fervour. Graces will be poured out especially [on tho]se who ask for them.”
Catherine repeated all this to her spiritual director, Father Aladel, who was sceptical, but this scepticism disappeared when the revolution in Paris began just over a week later on 27 July 1830.
Later in the same year, on 27 November, Catherine again saw Mary in the chapel, during community meditation. She was dressed in white, standing on a globe and holding a golden ball, with rings on her fingers flashing with light. “The ball which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular. These rays symbolise the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask."
The golden ball then vanished as this apparition changed to represent Mary with her arms outstretched, inside an oval frame with golden lettering: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Then she was shown the reverse of the medal, consisting of a large “M” surmounted by a bar and cross, with two hearts, representing the hearts of Jesus and Mary, all encircled by twelve stars.
"Have a Medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”
Again Father Aladel was reluctant to act, but once the medal was struck and distributed, it rapidly earned the title of the “Miraculous” medal. A canonical inquiry was initiated by Archbishop de Quelen and this concluded that Catherine was of good character, that the apparitions she had reported were to be accepted, and that the Miraculous Medal was supernaturally inspired and responsible for genuine miracles.
Catherine worked in a hostel for old men for forty years and was eventually canonised as St. Catherine Labouré, in 1947.
Sources: Dirvin, Saint Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal, Rockford, 1984; Laurentin, The Life of Catherine Labouré, London, 1983. Laurentin, The Life of Catherine Labouré; Dirvin, Saint Catherine Labouré.
I found it inside Notre Dame. I have found a similar one in Brussels Cathedral too.
It's a remembrance to the one million brithish dead during 1st World War, whom the greater part of them rest in France.
While street musicians are somewhat common in cities, I found these people to be a bit different and very enjoyable. Everyone was smiling and tapping their toes.
I don’t know their schedule, however caught them on playing on a Sunday afternoon in front of Notre Dame.
Just another one of those enjoyable things that you won’t find on any tourist map.
"Notre Dame de la Médaille miraculeuse"
"Our Lady of Miraculous Medal"
Here, Virgin Mary appeared in 1830 to Catherine Labouré, and asked her to make a medal (the one on the photo).
Mass in many laguages (enven Japanese sometimes).
A mystical place.