The Twelve Stars
Bishop Fernando Rifan*
The Flag of the European Union (EU), as established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1990, should have a 12-golden-stars circle form on a blue background. This flag appears on the face of all the note bills of "Euro" and the stars in all currencies. This flag was created by the Catholic French designer Arsène Heitz, who was awarded in the competition for the greatest symbol of the EU. Heitz said he was inspired by the " Miraculous Medal " he wore around his neck. The symbolism of the flag is a clear allusion to Marian devotion, which attributes to Our Lady of the referred passage in the beginning of chapter 12 of Revelation: "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars". The president of the jury was a Belgian Jew who was converted into Catholicism and was quite sensitive to the number 12, in biblical symbolism, represents perfection: 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles, 12 months in a year, etc...
It is Interesting, indeed ironic ! Europe, which increasingly rejects Christian values, which had refused to stamp the cross on their flag because it is a Christian symbol, has ended up putting a Marian symbol, thus honoring the Mother of Jesus. "Ad Jesum per Mariam !" It reminds the the story of an atheist who could not pray the Holy Prayer, while tried to pray the Hail Mary: of course He became a converted catholic. He encountered Mary trough Jesus, Safe Way !
The "Miraculous Medal", which inspired the French designer, has its origin in the famous apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure, then a novice of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, in Paris on November the 27, 1830, exactly 183 years ago. The Virgin appeared to her on a large globe, with her arms outstretched and fingers adorned with rings radiating light and surrounded by a sentence that said:
"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."
She said: " have a medal struck on this model, and all those who wear it will receive abundant graces, especially when worn around the neck". "And Mary showed her how the reverse of the medal should be: the letter "M" monogram of Mary, with a cross on top, the Hearts of Jesus and his Mother, surrounded by a crown of 12 stars .
The phrase stamped on the medal summarizes the message revealed by the Virgin: Her The Immaculate Conception, soon proclaimed as Dogma of the Catholic Faith in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, and ratified in the Our Lady apparition at Lourdes in 1858, and the mediation of the Mother of God with his Divine son: Mary Immaculate Mediatrix. Therefore, we have Our Lady of Graces and Miraculous Medal.
It is Interesting that initially, the confessor of St. Catherine, Father Jean Marie Aladel did not believe what she revealed him, but after two years of careful observation, he addressed the issues to the local Archbishop, who ordered the making of medals, later spread out across Europe and around the world, being the vehicle of countless graces of God.
Pope Pius XII called Saint Catherine Laboure of the "holy silence" as she kept the secrets of the apparitions until her passing day.
* Bishop of the Personal Apostolic Administration of St. John Vianney
O Marie, conçue sans péché, prie pour nous qui recourrons a Toi, et pour tous ceux qui ne recourent pas à Toi, en particulier pour ceux qui s'opposent à l'Eglise et pour toutes les personnes que nous Te recommandons.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not have recourse to you, especially for those who are distant from the Church, and for all who have been recommended to you.
Ó Maria concebida sem pecado, rogai por nós que recorremos a Vós e por todos quantos não recorrem a Vós, especialmente pelos inimigos da Santa Igreja e por todos quantos são a vós recomendados.