" I offer you now to My Mother, for it is through Her that the world came to know Me, and through Her the world will come back to Me; by the gentle guiding hand of a Mother."
Our Blessed Mother Mary is often misunderstood, dismissed, and even attacked by many who remain ignorant to the reasons and importance of Mother Mary and Her veneration within the Catholic Church. There is lack of understanding and as a result many judgements are made. It is important to share the fact that we as Catholics do not worship Mary; we only worship The Lord our God. We honor Mary, and we venerate Her in our Church, praying for Her intercession to aid us in becoming closer to Her Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Our Lady has been truly important to me throughout my journey of faith and has indeed carried me further into the bosom of our Lord. I share this story of the Miraculous Medal today because it is one that has been on my heart for some time. It is through Mary's "gentle guiding hand" that I have become stronger in my walk with Christ and ultimately in my own journey as a woman in faith aspiring for purity.
In the year 2000 I was a young grade eight kid approaching the Sacrament of Confirmation- today, looking back upon this time in my life I feel that I was ignorant to not only many aspects our Catholic faith, but also of the importance of this Sacrament in my life. I hold no one at fault for this and recognize that regardless of my own ignorance our Lord was at work.
I attended a small elementary school in Wildfield, Brampton (St. Patrick's Elementary School). Catechism classes were mandatory the year of confirmation and held at the school's parish prior to Saturday evening Mass. I do not recall much of the Catechism class or what my teachers name was, all I recall is one event that left me with this beautiful Miraculous Medal and a moment that initiated a relationship with the Blessed Mother and a profound encounter with the Catholic faith.
It was one evening before Mass and I was walking to the back of the Church and I met a lady; she began asking me about our classes and when our Confirmation date was. Hanging on her neck was this amazing, aqua blue Blessed Mother- it caught my eye and I simply said "that is so beautiful, I've never seen one like that before". She put her hand to it and asked me what my name was. I shared this with her and then parted as Mass was soon beginning. Being an adolescent my mind was definitely preoccupied with other things and I did not think much more of this moment. However, this was not the case for this woman.
A couple weeks later she again approached me following Catechism and said " I think you should have this"...she opened her hand and gifted me with the same Medal of Mary that I had been drawn to a couple of weeks before. I was humbled by this gift and did not fully understand the value of it at that time, yet, somehow I believed that this was something so special I never wanted to lose. In fact I felt that it was so special I did not wear it for many years. I placed this Medal on a shelf in my room and would often look at it, feeling so unworthy to even wear it around my neck. As years passed and my relationship with God seemed to sadly dissipate there were nights that I held this medal in my hands before falling asleep. It would be at the age of 22 when everything started to change.
I started attending Mass with a yearning to be nearer to The Lord and my faith again. I also began wearing this Miraculous Medal. During this time of return to the Church I often felt very emotional. The Eucharistic celebration and consumption often led me to tears; tears of sorrow for my sins, my ignorance, and also in recognition of the truth that I had never known.
Following one Mass Deacon Robert at the parish approached me and asked me to sit down. He was attentive to the needs of the parishioners and extremely great to our youth. Through my tearful rambles he noticed the Medal on my neck and shared with me that this was the Miraculous Medal. Up to that point I had thought that the medal was just a medal with Mary on it, given by some nice lady during the year of my confirmation. Deacon Robert gave me a brief history of the medal and told me that I should do some reading on St. Catherine of Laboure. I am not sure if that moment with Deacon Robert is one that he even recalls and yet, it is one that I have never forgotten. I continued, and continue to wear the Miraculous Medal and have read the biography of beloved St. Catherine of Laboure with great interest.
This Miraculous Medal has continued to draw attention to Our Lady and I often get asked by students daily who it is hanging on my neck. I have yet to see another medal like this one with such beautiful blue. I am grateful each day to that woman at my parish years ago who gifted me with this. I know that the moment I put it around my neck was a moment that I began to welcome Mary and Jesus further into my heart. Since then my faith has grown immensely. This relationship and devotion to the Blessed Mother has given me such an understanding of what it means to be a woman of God, a woman in Christ, and a woman for Christ. I wish I could know the identity of this lady who so selflessly gave away her "necklace" to me, and yet, I am at the same time grateful that I do not. In this way everything points back to the workings of our Beloved Mother and our Lord who I thank for this gift and the gift of faith everyday. (C.C.)