The meaning of the Miraculous Medal…
• Mary stands on a globe, crushing a serpent beneath her feet. Describing the original vision, St. Catherine said the Blessed Mother appeared radiant as a sunrise, “in all her perfect beauty.”
• Rays shoot out from Mary’s hands, which she told Catherine, “… symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them.”
• Words from the vision form an oval frame around Mary: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Seen as a matrix, the elements of the front design encapsulate major Marian tenets:
Quality of Our Lady As Illustrated by the Medal:
• Mother — Her open arms, the “recourse” we have in her.
• Immaculate — The words, “conceived without sin.”
• Assumed into Heaven — She stands on the globe.
• Mediatrix — Rays from her hands symbolizing “graces.”
• Our Protection — Crushes the serpent (Gn 3:15).
The Reverse Side:
• A cross-and-bar surmounts a large, bold “M.”
• 12 stars disperse around the perimeter.
• Two hearts are depicted underneath the “M,” the left lapped with a crown of thorns, the right skewed by a sword. From each, a flame emanates from the top. Again, employing a grid analysis, we can see how the reverse-side design contains great symbolism reflecting major tenets of the Catholic faith.
Design Element and its Catholic Meaning:
• The large letter “M” — Mary as Mother, Mediatrix.
• Cross and bar — Jesus’ Cross of Redemption.
• 12 stars — 12 Apostles, who formed the first Church.
• Left Heart — The Sacred Heart, who died for our sins.
• Right Heart — The Immaculate Heart, who intercedes for us.
• Flames — The burning love Jesus and Mary have for us.’