This pamphlet recounts the story of Mary's appearances to St. Catherine Labouré and Mary's desire to bestow blessings on all those who ask for them. It also includes the novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, the Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, a prayer for healing, and other prayers.
The tradition of praying novenas has its roots in the earliest days of the Church. Christians have always prayed for various needs, trusting that God both hears and answers prayers. The word "novena" derives from the Latin term "novem," meaning nine. In a novena we pray a prayer for nine days. "But," we might wonder, "doesn't God know our needs before we even ask? Isn't praying once for something enough?" Although we believe in God's love for us, sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this. Although we know we are held in God's hands and that God will not let go, sometimes we need reassurance. What may appear to be mere repetition in a novena is really a continual act of faith and hope in our loving God.
Just as we pray for each other while here on earth, those who have gone before us and are united with God in heaven can pray for us and intercede for us as well. We use the term "communion of saints" to refer to this exchange of spiritual help among the members of the Church on earth, those who have died and are being purified, and the saints in heaven. Devotion to the saints can help us witness to our faith and encourage us in our commitment to lead lives of holiness and service as they did.