Miraculous Medal Story
Many extraordinary graces have been obtained through the instrumentality of the Blessed Mother’s Miraculous Medal. Evidence of the devotion to Her Immaculate Conception is found through the distribution of Her Medal throughout the world, and Our Lady has surely rewarded such zealous devotion.
We see the Miraculous Medal used as a powerful instrument of grace in the United States, even as early as the Civil War. The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul ministered to the wounds of fallen soldiers, but it was the salvation of souls that was their ultimate concern. Here is just one of the many accounts of conversion obtained through Our Lady, extracted from a letter written by an American Sister of Charity:
“A soldier, William Barrett, scarcely twenty years of age, was almost in a dying condition when brought to the hospital. After doing all I could for the relief of his poor body, I inquired very cautiously as to the state of his soul. Alas! It was deplorable; not that he had committed great crimes, but that he was entirely ignorant of everything relating to his salvation. He had never said a prayer, and he hardly knew of the existence of God.
“ My first conversation with him on the subject of religion was not altogether pleasing to him, for he did not understand it; but when I had briefly explained the principal articles of Faith, he listened very attentively, and begged me to tell him something more. When I told him that Our Lord had loved us so much as to become man and die on a cross for our salvation, he could not restrain his tears: ‘Oh!’ said he, ‘why did no one ever tell me that? Oh! If only I had known it sooner! How could I have lived so long without knowing and loving my God!’
“I now prepared him to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and tried to make him sensible of God’s great mercy, in bringing him to the hospital, that he might die a holy death. He understood this and much more, for grace had spoken to his poor heart, so truly penetrated with sorrow for sin. ‘I wish to love God,’ said he, ‘but I am such a miserable creature! I would like to pray, but I do not know how. Sister, pray for me, please.’ I promised to do so, and offering him a medal of the Blessed Virgin, I told him that by wearing it, he would secure the intercession of the Mother of God, Who is ever powerful with Her divine Son.
“He gladly accepted the medal, put it around his neck, and repeated, not only the aspiration, “O Mary! Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee,” but other prayers, to obtain the grace of a happy death. He then asked me when I would have him carried to the river, for he was under the impression that he could not be baptized without being immersed. I explained to him the manner in which the Catholic Church administers this Sacrament, and the dispositions necessary for receiving it.
“Listening eagerly to every word I uttered, ‘Pray with me, Sister,’ said he, ‘come nearer, that I may hear you better, for I do not know how to pray.’ He repeated with great fervor all the prayers I recited, and thought only of preparing himself for his baptism which was to take place on the following day. From that time he wished to converse with the Sisters only. If his companions or the attendants came to him, he answered them in a few words, evidently showing that he desired to be alone with his God. One of the officers asked him if he wished anyone to write to his family. ‘Do not speak to me of my family now,’ said he, ‘the Sisters have written to my parents. I wish for nothing but to pray and be baptized.’ And the words ever on his lips, were these: ‘O God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“Towards evening he became so weak, that I thought it best to remain with him. At three o’clock in the morning, fearing that he was in his agony, I administered the Sacrament of Baptism; he lived till seven o’clock. The fervor with which he united in the prayers was truly edifying; even when scarcely able to speak, he tried to express his gratitude to God for His goodness and mercy to him. He was most anxious to quit this world, that he might go to that Father who had admitted him into the number of His children, and whom he so earnestly desired to see and know.”
— Story taken from The Miraculous Medal: Its Origin, History, Circulation, Results by Father Aladel.