While many Catholic refer to the image of Mary on the Miraculous Medal as “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,” she is also referred to as, “Our Lady of Grace.”
One reason for this title is found in the visions of St. Catherine Labore. She saw the Blessed Mother in 1830 and wrote down what transpired. Below is an excerpt found in the 1892 book, The Sacramentals of the Holy Catholic Church.
Her hands were raised about as high as her waist and she held in a graceful attitude another globe, a figure of the universe. Her eyes were lifted up to heaven and her countenance was radiant as she offered the globe to Our Lord…While occupied in contemplating this vision, the Blessed Virgin cast her eyes upon me and a voice said in the depths of my heart, “The globe that you see represents the entire world and particularly France and each person in particular.” And the Blessed Virgin added, “Behold the symbol of the graces I shed upon those who ask me for them,” thus making me understand how generous she is to all who implore her intercession.
Our Lady also added, “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be, in a special manner, under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.”
Our Lady of Grace
The title, “Our Lady of Grace,” recalls the symbolism of the medal and its connection to the flowing of graces when worn in faith.
What’s interesting is that this title is not new and according to the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, it has its origin in the 12th century.
The earliest historic records mention a shrine to Our Lady of Grace in Ipswich, England, in 1152. Nearly 150 years later, the daughter of King Edward I was either married at the shrine or visited it with her husband. It wasn’t until the fourteenth century that a miraculous statue was discovered; shortly afterward, the shrine became so popular only Our Lady of Walsingham could claim more pilgrims.
The shrine was eventually burned, but it is believed by some that the statue was recovered and is currently at a shrine in Nettuno, Italy.
There are many other shrines in different places of the world that have a similar title, all recalling the words of St. Gabriel, “Hail, Full of Grace.”