The undecayed corpse of St Catherine Labore and the chair in which our Lady sat during one of the apparitions.
The design of the "Miraculous Medal" was shown by Our Lady during her apparition to a young French nun Sr Catherine Labore in the Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830. Mary showed Catherine this design of this new medal she wanted people to have and then she asked her to get them manufactured. Sr Catherine with the help of her Spiritual director got the medal produced and it was originally called the "Medal of the Immaculate Conception". Since there was a plague in France at the time and there was many cures through the medal the people of France just called it the "Miraculous Medal".
The Front of the medalOn the front of the medal we see Mary standing with her heel crushing the head of the serpent Satan who is on top of the world. Mary is showing us that she is the immaculate "New Eve" who was never conquered by satan to sin. During the apparition Catherine could see rays coming from Mary's hands down onto the world. These are the graces that Mary obtains for us from her Divine Son Jesus to help us conquer satan and his temptations for us to sin. Mary is the "Mediatrix of all Graces". Catherine saw gaps in the rays coming from Mary's hands and she asked Mary the reason for that and Mary told her that the missing rays were to symbolize the graces she could get for people but they do not ask her to get them. Around the border of the medal during the apparition Sr Catherine saw the prayer "Oh Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to you" which again shows that Mary is the sinless New Eve.
The Back of the medal
Around the border of the back of the medal we see 12 stars which symbolize the Church which Jesus founded on the 12 Apostles. We are all called to be apostles and to share our Faith with others. In the center of the medal we see a Cross on top of an Altar with a large M underneath. The "M" beneath the Cross symbolizes Mary our Mother who stood and suffered at the foot of the Cross at Calvary as her Divine Son suffered for our sins. This large "M" beneath the Cross may also symbolize the Catholic Mass because during the "Consecration" of the Mass we too are present at the foot of the Cross at Calvary. At the Consecration of the Mass the "Bread and Wine" are changed into the real "Body and Blood" of Jesus Christ at Calvary where He suffered and died for sinners on Good Friday. Underneath the large M there are two hearts Burning with Love for mankind. On the left is the Sacred and Divine Heart of Jesus which is on fire with so much Love for mankind that he died on the Cross for all of us. His Heart is crowned with thorns by our sins but also by the pain He suffers because so many of us do not really believe that He Loves us even though He suffered so much to prove that to us. The heart of Mary is also on fire with love for us because she became our Mother also when she became the Mother of Jesus. Her heart is pierced with the tremendous Sword of suffering and Sorrow of Calvary which was predicted to her by Saint Simeon when Jesus was presented as a child in the Temple. Mary also loves us so much because Jesus Loves us so much.
ConclusionThe Medal is a "Sacramental" which means that it is used by God to grant graces to His children and it should be blessed by a priest. Mary asked "people" (not just Catholics or Christians) to wear the medal around their neck and she would protect them from satan if they asked her for help. There are so many small and big miracles through the medal which remind us that it really is from Heaven. Sr Catherine was very humble and remained anonymous behind her Spiritual Director all her life. She died in 1876 and when the Church had examined her life and declared that she was truly a Saint it was discovered that her body had never decayed.
Novena Prayer to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
(Novena is said for nine days)
O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.
(Here form your petition)
You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son Who hates iniquity. Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of angels and of men. Amen.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (3 times).