By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis on Wednesday blessed a statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary of the Miraculous Medal brought to him at the end of his General Audience. A small delegation headed by Fr. Tomaž Mavrič, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, commonly known as Vincentians, brought him the statue, on the occasion of 190 years since the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to French St. Catherine Laboure.
The Congregation of the Mission, a religious order founded by St Vincent de Paul in France in 1625, says in a press release that the delegation is on a Marian pilgrimage with the statue to various communities in Italy. At a time when the entire world is going through difficult times because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and when society is marked by strong tensions in every continent, it says, the Marian pilgrimage is “a journey of the proclamation of God's merciful love”.
Catherine Labouré, a young nun of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul is said to have had 3 visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1830 in Paris. The Madonna spoke about the misfortunes of France and the disasters of the world, but assured St Catherine that graces will be granted to all who pray for them confidently and ardently. The Virgin asked her to have the Miraculous Medal made, promising “all who wear them will receive great graces”.
The statement by the Vincentians speaks about deep restlessness and growing poverty worldwide, which is exacerbated by the pandemic. It draws attention to the Pope’s message for the 4th World Day of the Poor, on Sunday, November 15, where he notes that despite restrictions to our freedom, the loss of jobs and distance from our loved ones, and the lack of our usual interpersonal relationships due to the pandemic, we feel poorer and weaker. However, the situation has opened up new horizons that call for the need for a new fraternity, capable of mutual help and mutual esteem.
Therefore, the Vincentians, faithful to the Word of God and inspired by their centuries-old charism, which calls them to serve God in the poor, through the initiative of the Pilgrim Mary, wish to remind all that even today the Holy Virgin invites us to the foot of the altar.