Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal. Part Two
See Part One for the beginning of the story on how Our Lady appeared to Alphonse in St. Andrew’s Church in Rome.
The baron, having made the funeral arrangements for his friend, went back to Alphonse who was on his knees in St. Michael’s chapel. The baron nudged Alphonse at least three times, and mysteriously there was no response. Then, Alphonse turned to the baron. Alphonse’s face was dripping with tears, and he joined his hands and whispered, "Ah, how this man has prayed for me!" Gradually, they left the church. Alphonse who has poured scorn on the Miraculous Medal was kissing the medal and now his tears covered it. Alphonse repeated: "How happy I am. How good God is! How great are the graces of happiness! How we should pity those who do not know this!" He grasped the arm of the astonished baron, and asked to see a 'confessor' so that he might take instruction on being baptized. The baron, who was mourning the death of a friend, was so bewildered and shook by Ratisbonne's words that without question, he immediately took him to a priest.
Holding his medal dear and kissing it, Alphonse, carefully recounted what happened to the priest, "I had been in that church for only a very brief time when all at once I felt myself in the grip of a disturbance impossible to describe. I raised my eyes; I could no longer see anything of the building. All the light seemed as if it were concentrated in some of the chapels, and in the midst of its shining there stood upon the altar the Virgin Mary as she is shown on the medal, beautiful, glorious, and embodying at once both majesty and kindness. A force, which I could not resist, drew me toward her. The Virgin made a sign with her hand that I should kneel and she seemed to say: "It is well." She did not actually speak to me, but I understood as if she had."
Later Alphonse said of the apparition of Our Lady, "I saw her just as I now see you! But my eyes were unable to bear the brightness of this heavenly light. Three times I tried to look at her face again; but each time I was unable to raise my eyes beyond her hands from whence there poured, just as on the medal, torrents of grace in the appearance of rays of light."On June 3, 1842 a Roman court of inquiry completed an investigation and a pontifical decree was published stating: "that it is certain, that a true and notable miracle, the work of God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, did produce the instantaneous and complete conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne."