The History of Advent: Raising Awareness for the Season

We have been in the Advent season for quite some time now. Christmas is almost upon us, however in all the excitement to buy Christmas presents I think people forget to appreciate Advent. It is a time where we await the birth of Christ. I think learning a little bit about the history of Advent would help people to appreciate it more.

I found a post called the 10 things you should know about Advent. It has a lot of information that most people have probably never known about the season. Advent traces its roots back to 380 AD. Saint Gregory the Great gave one of the oldest known Advent sermons. Pope Saint Gregory VII shaped Advent into the four week season that we know now. There is really so much more you can learn from this post as well, so if Advent interests you then check it out!

American Catholic Nuns Being Recognized

This article comes from Catholic Answers Forum and was pretty cool I thought. Women do not get the recognition they truly deserve in America, and nuns receive even less. This was great to see nuns getting recognized for all their efforts throughout American history.

“Women & Spirit is a museum exhibit which started at the Smithsonian Institution and is currently touring the US. It shows how Catholic sisters have been involved in shaping the US over the past 300 years.

“It’s really amazing to see all they’ve done for our country,” Smithsonian spokeswoman Becky Haberacker told Catholic News Service during a recent tour of the exhibit, which made its Washington debut Jan. 15. “It’s also really interesting to find out how rugged they are. That just isn’t something I imagined before when I thought about nuns.”

The exhibit includes an 1804 letter from President Thomas Jefferson to an Ursuline nun, braided corn husk shoes worn by pioneer sisters, the nurse’s bag of a nun used during the Civil War and student work from the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first all-black community.

Perceptions of women religious 300 years ago, and today, are often not accurate, Sister Annmarie said.

“So, we think this exhibit would show another side to what the public might normally perceive as the life of Catholic sisters.”” – “Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America”

I had no idea that nuns did so much for our country. While it all seems like behind-the-scenes work the nuns did, they have played their role in American history just like all the other famous historical figures.

History of the Miraculous Medal

Saint Catherine Laboure was shown the plannings for the Miraculous Medal, also called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, through one of the many holy visions that she had a on regular basis. The particular vision that brought the world the Miraculous Medal took place in Paris, France in the year 1830.

The visions that Saint Catherine saw on such a frequent basis were typically of different saints or of God. She even sometimes saw Jesus, but that was on a less regular basis than the other visions she received. In 1830, Saint Catherine saw Mary for the very first time though and this is the vision that brought us the Miraculous Medal.

The Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine with a white sphere at her feet and a hand covered in rings made of beautiful jewels. These jewels were shining extraordinarily bright and it was truly a sight to see. Mary talked to Catherine saying that the shining lights were all the people who had asked Mary for help through prayer. Mary said that those who asked her for help would receive the grace they needed to be successful in their endeavors. However, some of the stones seemed to not be shining, and Mary explained the reason behind this. She told Catherine that all the people in the world who were suffering and not asking Mary for grace or help were represented by the jewels that were dull and not shining at all. An oval of bright light then encompassed Mary and lettering appeared in the air underneath her. It said, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you”. Mary made sure to state to Catherine that she wished for a medal to be made in this image that Catherine had in front of her. Mary’s intentions were that people would be reminded by the medal to pray to her and ask her for grace.

The Virgin Mary then disappeared and Catherine was left by her lonesome. Catherine saw an image on a table in the room though, and she quickly hurried over to see it. On the table she saw a large M with a cross through it, and below that there were two hearts. These two hearts are the hearts of Jesus and his mother Mary. This image is where the backside of the Miraculous Medal comes from.

Mary wanted herself in the image that she chose to be on the front side of the medal because she just wanted to have a way to get more people to pray to her and ask for grace. Mary just wanted to help people live their lives with as much grace and dignity as possible.

Saint Catherine did just as Mary instructed her to do. She had the medal made with the back as what she saw after Mary had departed, and the front as the image of Mary she had ingrained into her mind. The medal began being sold to the masses and more people became mindful of praying to Mary.

Pope Pius XII found it fitting that Catherine be canonized for bringing the Miraculous Medal to everybody. This took place in July of 1947.