Readers of this column may recall an item published earlier this year which dealt with the “Miraculous Medal of Mary” which “saved” the life of a death row felon who willingly went to the electric chair believing he would, after death, be joining Jesus and his mother, Mary, in heaven.

Information from that previous column and this effort comes from a book “It Ain’t Gonna Happen, A Return to Truth” authored by “a friend of Medjugorje*.” This is the story in brief of St. Catherine Laboure, who in 1830 lived as a novice in the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Paris on Rue du Bac.

 * — “The Village Sees The Light” is the title of a story which Reader’s Digest published February 1986. It was the first major news on a mass public scale that told of the Virgin Mary visiting the tiny town of Bosnia-Hercegovina. At that time the village was populated by 400 families. National Geographic pointed out Medjugorje is a “hot spot for for Virgin Mary sightings — devotees of diverse faiths and nationalities gather to pray. A million pilgrims a year (in 2015) hope for a message a miracle.

 One of the Blessed Mother’s most famous apparitions was in Mexico. National Geographic pointed out, “According to tradition, she (Mary) revealed herself to an Indian man, Juan Diego, in 1531. Speaking in Nahuati, she produced roses in winter and imprinted her image on his cloak, miracles that led many indigenous Mexicans to convert to Catholicism.

 “In the year 1830, there lived a young novice, Sr. Catherine Laboure who had just entered the Daughters of Charity. She was placed in the Mother house in Paris, located on Rue du Bac. Catherine had gone to bed on July 18, 1830 but at 11:30 p.m. was awoken by a brilliant light. She heard a child’s voice say, “Sister Laboure, come to the Chapel, the Blessed Mother wishes to speak to you.” Sister Laboure had said she thought the voice of the small child was that of her guardian angel.

   “The child led her to the Chapel and, upon hearing the rustling of a silk dress, she looked up and beheld the Blessed Virgin sitting in a chair near the altar. Catherine knelt down beside Her, placing her folded hands upon our Lady’s lap. The Blessed Mother began to speak to Catherine informing her that God had chosen her for a special mission.

After this apparition, Our Lady appeared to Catherine on two more occasions. “In the apparition of Nov. 27, 1830, Our Lady appeared holding a golden ball. She said this ball represented the entire world and, in particular, France. Then the apparition changed, and Catherine was shown a medal, both front and backside, and was told by Our Lady to have the medal struck and spread.”

Though it took two years, the medal was finally produced and distributed. “Immediately people began to experience miracles they associated with the medal which led to it being called the ‘Miraculous Medal.’”

“For certain, this apparition to St. Catherine, the past apparitions in history leading up to this, and the medal itself opened up a floodgate of graces, inaugurating the coming of the Marian era. Medjugorje has ushered in this Marian era with Our Lady appearing daily for almost 30 years. This era, with Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje, is the fulfillment of all Her apparitions throughout history.”

   When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure July 18, 1830, She was seated in a chair. That chair has been preserved all these years, still present in the Chapel at Rue du Bac. The chair is located on the far right side of the Miraculous Medal Chapel.

   The chair is just a few feet from where St. Catherine’s miraculously, perfectly preserved body can be seen. Even St. Catherine’s blue eyes, slightly open, can be seen.

Millions of miracles are said to have occurred as a result of St. Catherine’s medal request being finalized, struck as Our Lady had requested.

“One famous conversion took place on January 20, 1842, when a man, after being encouraged to wear this medal, saw Our Lady. He was not a Christian but a Jew. Alphonse Ratisbonne became a priest and it sparked such enthusiasm for the medal that the Vatican looked into this case, Ratisbonne’s apparition and the Miraculous Medal.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has appeared to millions all over the world. My copy of the December 2015 National Geographic magazine features a frontpage story and picture, “Mary, the Most Powerful Woman in the World.”

“Maryam (Mary) is the holiest woman mentioned in the Muslim Koran,” more often than in the Bible. “So the Virgin Mary is not at all strange to Muslims” says the Nat Geo article. “In fact, wherever there is a connection between Christians and Muslims, or any two groups that know and love her, there is a common value in the covenant mother.”

Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of Nat Geo in 2015, editorialized the reasons for the frontpage feature on the Mother of God. “When an exhibition opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts ... featured were 74 artworks from the 14th through the 19th centuries, lent by galleries including Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and the Vatican Museums.

“The exhibition drew the largest crowd ever for the Washington, D.C., museum. That got us wondering: What is it about Mary? She is the world’s most depicted woman, yet among the most mysterious, with more written about her in the Koran than in the Bible.

“Her powers are invoked for anything and everything: by the sick in search of a cure and a quarterback hoping for a Hail Mary pass to win the game; by mothers who feel a special kinship with her; and truckers — dashboards adorned with plastic Mary statuettes seeking safe travels.”

“You see for yourself and your concerns reflected,” says Melissa R. Katz, an art history professor at Wesleyan University and an author of a book on Marian imagery. “That’s what Mary has always done, that Jesus could not. She’s more accessible, less threatening, always on peoples’ side.”

After all this research, I realize I need all the help I can get so, yes, I wear my Miraculous Medal. Do you? Maybe now, for sure!

(11) comments




How is it that if Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned so often in the Quran, and is so venerated by Muslims, that the Muslims in Afghanistan subjugate women so?

How is that that all your "facts", Jim, are anecdotal? Do anecdotes prove anything?


After reading Mr. Osdel’s homily, it occurred to me how strange it is that devout Catholics like Mr. Osdel don’t demand that women be allowed in the Priesthood.

Seems if Mary was good enough to be the Mother of God, women might merit having the clerical glass ceiling removed by the Catholic Clergymen. No luck. Some complicated theology forbids it.

Of course, I’m not a clever sophist, and I haven’t mastered this arcane theology, but PRACTICALLY wouldn’t it at least cut down on all the crippling lawsuits that sap the coffers and the credibility of his shrinking faith group?


Must God follow the "logic" or demands of those who want Christianity to align itself with the way one wants it only? Does one also bristle when they hear of undeniable supernatural manifestations? That is where the Virgin appeared to three children at Fatima, prophesied and then performed a great miracle of the sun. Now one must choose, was it God or the evil one. Or Lourdes, or the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And I can assure you, the scores of weeping statues of Mary and Jesus are not clever nuns concocting tricky apparatuses in the basements of their convents.

Jolly Roger

As a devoted member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I’m now hopeful the Press & Dakotan will finally publish my screed extolling the Holy Virtue of my Faith.

We must never underestimate the power of Pastafarianism.

Of course, since the Press & Dakotan publisher is apparently a Catholic he’ll probably have to run this by the Pope if this posting ever will see the light of day.


In 1968 the Virgin Mary appeared on top of a Coptic Christian cathedral in Zeitoun Egypt on at least 20 occasions all after midnight. Tens of thousands Egyptians waited every night for her and often were rewarded with her presence along with unknown colorful lights and plumes of smoke. She never spoke just floated atop and above the cathedral domes and blessed the crowds. Egyptian authorities had no explanation for the woman on the cathedral dome or the multi colored lights and plumes of smoke. Govt. authorities investigated tirelessly at every appearance even shutting off electricity over several blocks surrounding the cathedral. Still there were the lights, the Virgin Mary and dove-like birds flying at great speeds over the crowds.

Testimonies of eye witnesses number in the thousands. Oddly some pictures taken did not develop, but many others did although Mary appears surrounded often in a veiled cloud. The NYTimes covered this with two articles in May and August 1968, but America was too wrapped up in protests, civil unrest and a sixties culture to care much about some alleged miracle half way across the world. Surely the media wasn’t pushing this stuff either.

It is undeniable what this is, a supernatural apparition of the Virgin Mary before hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, including atheists and agnostics no longer. If it were a hoax the pranksters would never have risked trying to duplicate the apparition so many times.

And, no, it is not mass hallucination, even science says such a thing has never occurred. Too many demand a miracle for evidence and then when God provides one, many still refuse to believe, likely because they do not want to. (imo) Go research it for yourself, there are photos and it’s all over youtube.


Never underestimate Mr. Osdel’s mysterious power to persuade the Press & Dakotan to publish his exquisitely turgid prose.


Maybe the clueless Mr. Osdel might reflect on how out of touch his antediluvian musings seem to younger folks.

Last month, Cardinal Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, took to the pages of the “Chicago Catholic,” the newspaper of his archdiocese, to address “young people” who “are becoming disenchanted with religion.”

He posed the question: “What will become of our democracy if so many young people disengage from both religion and politics?”

And how irrelevant Mr. Osdel’s little corner of the religious world has become to young people who see religion as always hiding the “wrong” instead of sharing the “right” with their family, friends and neighbors.

Cardinal Cupich most certainly should wonder “what will become of our democracy.” To the young, “religion” has become just a bunch of groups lobbying for political power.

Despite your rambling memories of the old and faithful, Mr. Osdel, the young are moving on from religion. Have you noticed your empty pews? Why do you suppose that is?

Christians push young people away from the Church as they double down on a mob boss who won’t look to our future, but just keeps reliving the past. Mostly HIS past and an America we never want to return.

Politics is now everything. Religion is just a bumper sticker afterthought. Who needs your kind of Church? For what?

And please light a candle for me, Cardinal Cupich. No reason to curse the darkness when you’ll never see the light


Well if it’s on YouTube that’s enough for me.

Thank you, jehanne.

The Bible is so contradictory and confusing. Thank Goodness in our digital age, you modern Christians have found a better source of God’s Truth on the Internet! 🙏 ✝️ 🤡


"Religion is man's vain attempt to reach God." A personal relationship with Jesus Christ bridges that gap.


Just remember this, ol' pal... there are two kinds of people in this world: mocking, deceitful, proud, arrogant humanists that believe something came from nothing - and those who will be rejoined at the marriage supper of the Lamb. God bless you, Jim

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