[Província de Rio de Janeiro – Brasil] The Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, built on a small hill called “Colina do Matoso” in the Tijuca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is celebrating its feast. Dedicated in a momentous ceremony presided by Bishop Lazarus Neves, CM in the presence of Mother Blanchot on July 18, 1955, it is celebrating 60 years of welcoming with love and copious graces all who come there to put himself/herself under the protection of Mother of God.
Motivated by the canonization of Sister Catherine Labouré, who in 1830 was a Sister of the Seminary of the Company of the Daughters of Charity and had the distinguished privilege of Our Lady apparitions, the new temple dedicated to the Virgin of Grace also became a monument of recognition of Daughters of Charity to the first Sisters, who had brought the dear medal to our country hundred years ago, and a response to the expectations of many Brazilian people favored with many miracles through the Miraculous Medal.
The foundation stone was laid on June 26, 1949 in the presence of the Cardinal of Rio de Janeiro, at the time, Dom Jaime de Barros Camara and the construction lasted for six years. It can be regarded as a miracle of the Mother of God because at the beginning there was only the project and a great desire to build, but a small collection of 50 cruzeiros (former Brazilian currency) obtained in a bazaar. A tiny amount considering the total to be invested in the work. It seemed evident proof that she really wanted that construction to take place!
Then followed campaigns, bingo halls, community festivals, spontaneous and generous donations that were growing, and today we have the Shrine visited annually by thousands and thousands of pilgrims and devotees of Our Mother.
Many pilgrims come here for protection, to give thanks for favors or search in the silence of prayer, peace and comfort for the spirit, confident in the Virgin’s promise in asking Catherine Labouré to make a medal, that graces would be given in abundance to the people who wear the medal with confidence and faith.
After the Shrine undergoing renovations to better accommodate the pilgrims, the day of the feast, November 27th, as is usual every year, will be preceded by a solemn novena. Its theme is: “The Medal of the Immaculate a light for the world” with subthemes: 1st day – “Catherine Labouré: a life illumined by the light of God”; 2nd day – “The infinite light of God in the heart of the Immaculate!” (1st apparition); 3rd day – “Mary path of light that leads us to Jesus” (1st phase of the 2nd apparition); 4th day – “Mary, a light that illuminates our life”! (2nd phase of the 2nd apparition). From the 5th to the 9th day, we will reflect on the diffusion of the Medal in the world across continents. each evening will present the subtheme: “The infinite light of God in a continent” in this order: Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and America. The subthemes will be developed during Mass and energized by various pastoral activities.
On November 27, we will have the “Great Party”, when eight Masses will be celebrated. The solemn one will be presided by Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, Cardinal Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro. We are sure that Mary, the Mediatrix of all Graces from above, serene and beautiful, hands outstretched, will see at feet of her altar, thousands of her sons and daughters who will come to thank her for her love, blessings and graces and above all, her ineffable protection.