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The Miraculous Medal

Grace Received

Among the miracles of the Miraculous Medal the most famous was that of the conversion absolutely unexpected, unbelieving Jew Alfonso Ratisbonne, chose to carry the medal around his neck just to please a friend. In a visit to the Roman Church of S. Andrea delle Frate, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal appeared dazzling, beautiful, literally turning around a soul. It was January 20, 1842. He subsequently became a Catholic, and soon, a priest and missionary.Even today there are many graces attributed to the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal. 

 

Mary Doesn't Run a Hotel 

Maybe you've had absolutely no desire to do something, could not find the right motivation to do it,
but still inside yourself you've  heard that insistent voice: "Come on, do it anyway." Well, it happened to me (one evening during door to door visitations)...

It was already very late. The evening had been difficult and I really didn't feel like meeting another family. But, that voice! I went ahead. 
The family was all there. I politely greeted them; everything seemed peaceful. The wife was preparing dinner, the children were in front of the TV, the husband busied himself... but why did I feel a tension in my chest? There was something chilling my bones, and it wouldn't leave. 
I stopped in the kitchen with the wife, for the moment the others continued to do what they were doing. Aha! Everything was explained. 
The poor woman! The husband didn't care for the family, he spent everything the family earned on gambling. He often returned home violent and beat the wife and insulted the children. The children rebelled in turn, everyone behaving as if the house were a hotel just to eat and sleep. And she was there, all alone, to take the blame from one and the other. 
I let her vent: she had great need of it. I understood that she really never has a chance to do it. She grasped with all her strength for the little tiny light of faith that remained, then crumbled into a darker sadness. 
What could I do? What could I say? At times like that, I want to be like the Madonna, to know the right words to console her in the best way, and above all, to obtain the miracle of conversion for her husband and children. But I'm not Our Lady. I have "only" consecrated myself to her, so that she can work with me, in me. Therefore, I renewed my offering and gave her the freedom to work. I thought, "If nothing else, I can do like Mary and take this woman to my heart and guard her pain, presenting it daily to the most merciful Father." Of course, I also left a visible sign of the presence of Mary: the Miraculous Medal. I was convinced that she would obtain the necessary graces. I managed to at least slightly convince the woman.
The husband demonstrated less enthusiasm when I offer him the Medal. But, that wasn't important. It was Mary who was (and is) enthusiastic for them. 
Some years passed, and the apostolate took me to other places and to do other things. But, just the same, I continued to follow Mary's way: I held and guarded them in my heart. 
Then, just two years ago, I found myself at their house once again. How strange! This time, it didn't feel so cold, and my heart was light. When I took up a conversation with the wife, it seemed like no time had passed. She said:  "My husband no longer gambles to absurdity, he loves me, is faithful, and takes interest in the children. They've found work, and we understand each other. I can go to Mass more often, even daily, pray the Rosary, and help at the parish." I literally thought I was dreaming. She continued, "Remember the Medal? I don't know how, but we lost it. Our neighbor, a very good woman, got another one. We lost that one too.... She got another one, regularly it disappeared. Then, I got the idea to hide it in a certain corner of the house, sort of hidden and untouched. I thought that from there, the Medal - or better yet, the Madonna - could scatter her perfume little by little and so touch everyone." 
I knew that, in fact, Our Lady had touched more than this household. Once again I sang with all possible gratitude: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior." 

 

Stubborn Woman

It was Saturday afternoon, I and a group of young adults were visiting a convalescent home.As the people watching through the windows saw us arrive, smiles appeared on their sad faces and they gave us a festive greeting. Others came to meet us with an air of expectation.
First, we went to the chapel to communicate and witness to these brothers and sisters who were so alone and often hopeless. Then, we divided into two groups; I went to the men’s side.
I immediately sensed a heavy and gloomy atmosphere. Two of the elderly men, in particular, glared at me while, with apparent indifference, they continued to play cards. We approached them, greeted them cordially, and tried to engage in conversation.  One of the two angrily rose to his feet and, cursing, growled at me to get away and not leave one of those “little, insignificant things.”
The young people in our group were astonished, and encouraged me to leave him alone – because at that point he could start a fight. Instead, I felt very calm and strong. I approached him anew and offered the Miraculous Medal, telling him not to be afraid. He sneered at me, grabbed the Medal, and threw it on the floor. I calmly picked it up and sat next to them. The old man still grumbled, but in the end he said, “Very well, that thing has won… leave it for me then, but only in friendship.”
The next day I received a phone call: “Mr. X died - with the Medal in his hand.  He asked us to let you know and to thank you!”

 

One. More. Chance.

The story that I am about to tell began in January 1973. It happened in the marvelous land of Argentina, specifically in Chubut - in the South (Patagonia) - in the foothills of the stupendous Andes mountain range. The main characters: Mrs. and Mrs. Salamin, myself..... and the Madonna. 

Every summer the Missionaries of the Immaculata from Olavarria make the thirty-six hour journey that separates them from Chabut. They enter into a region that is beautiful, but almost entirely isolated, in order to break the bread of faith, hope and love - that year I was also there. 

I find myself in the area called "Hoyo de Epuyen," up and down through the mountains, carrying only the Word of God. It immediately strikes me that the people are already meeting me and asking, "Hermana, will you go also to the Salamin's?" How could I not go?

...The outside (of the house) was so uninviting that I am tempted to go back where the others wait. Then, something - or Someone - pushes me to enter. And the inside! Men completely drunk, women in hardly any clothes, smoke that makes it difficult to breath.... I go forward!

I'm about to leave when my gaze crosses the longing eyes of a woman, from the other part of the room. She signals to me to enter.  I tightly grasp my rosary, and between one drunk and the other, I walk toward the woman. She is Mrs. Salamin. Immediately, she indicates with sorrow and embarrassment that her husband is among the men.  Then, she begs me to follow her to another small room where, finally, there is a little light and air to breathe.

Between her tears and gasps for breath, she recounts the impossible life that she is forced to live. Her husband  no longer has any moral compass, is always drunk, openly prefers prostitution, puts their young children in jeopardy, and she has no options.

Mrs. Salamin continues and I think to myself of the great cost of living thirty years without a priest, without listening to the Word of life and truth, without receiving the sacraments that give us strength. Right now I find myself giving almost a first proclamation of the Gospel, and I speak of the word of God, the Merciful Father of all - even the most desperate and sinful; I speak of Mary as the Mother who is vigilant in seeking the salvation of all her children. I leave a Miraculous medal for her husband. Then, I leave.

That night I can't sleep. It isn't the hard pavement in the old school that was my bed. It isn't the company of all sorts of animals. It is the hard life that those people led, the shocking misery, the total lack of human dignity. 

The next day, early in the morning, I pass by the Salamin's, thinking that at that hour I would find the husband sober.  Instead, I can believe my eyes, he begins to insult me with unrepeatable impropriety. I entrust him to the Holy Virgin, and was on my way.

Throughout our month long stay I try many times to visit Mr. Salamin, but the result is always the same.

One year passes, and in January 1974 I find myself again in Chabut.

My first thought is to go to the Salamin's; my first visit is to them. The welcome? Exactly like the year before: the husband chases me away. As I leave, I meet the wife, who is always more discouraged: she was not able to give him the Medal and he became more unreasonable every day.

I suggest that she sow it into his pillow, with the absolute faith that Mary knows how to speak to the heart of this man.

I begin the family meetings in that area, well aware of their material and spiritual needs. We celebrate baptisms, First Communions, marriages, and with the help of Mary we rekindle the thread of faith and hope that still lives in the depth of their souls.

It's the last day of the mission.

I am crossing a wooden, suspened bridge, the like of which Chabut is full of and the successful crossing of which is a grace of God - when I hear a young boys voice: "Hermanita, hermanita, Mr. Salamin is sick!"

Salamin is sick!

"OK", I think to myself, "but I'm not crossing this bridge again. I'll stop by and see him on my return."

But, I'm not serene. I understand very well that if I don't go back now its not because of the bridge - its because of my pride. I don't want to expose myself to more verbal abuse. So.... I once again cross that "wonderful" bridge and with great peace, entrusting everyone and everything to the Immaculata.

The wife is very happy to see me and brings me immediately to her little room where her husband lies. It is clear that he is very sick and doesn't have long to live. There's no time to call a priest. So, without hesitation I tell him that he is dying and will soon face God. In this moment, the infinite goodness of God gave him the possibility to confess his grave sins and to ask pardon. I begin the examination of conscience, inviting him to follow along in his mind, because I realize that he can not speak, but he does understand.  But, is he listening?

Then, noting that his eyes are fixed on the crucifix that hangs around my neck, I take it off and place it between his hands.  He squeezes it, slowly brings it to his lips, kissing the image of the all-merciful God.
Not even a quarter of an hour later, Salamin commends his soul to the Father.