In January 2023, the The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal was elevated by the Vatican to Minor Basilica status.
The Shrine was founded by Irish Vincentian Fathers who arrived in Philadelphia in 1915 to minister to the growing population of Catholic immigrants, many of whom were also Irish. At the time, the Catholic Church faced widespread discrimination and persecution in America, and the Irish were often viewed with suspicion and prejudice.
The Fathers began by establishing a church in Philadelphia dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, and soon after, began construction on the Shrine.
The Miraculous Medal was created by St. Catherine Labouré, a French nun who had received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1830. The Medal had become a popular symbol of devotion and protection, and the Fathers saw its potential to inspire and uplift the faithful who visited their Shrine.
Today, the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia continues to draw thousands of pilgrims from around the world each year who come to pray, reflect, and seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Irish Vincentian Fathers have continued to serve the needs of the Irish community in Philadelphia and beyond, running a variety of programs and providing services that promote the cultural, spiritual, and social well-being of Irish Americans.
One such program is the Irish Diaspora Center, which provides assistance and support to Irish immigrants in the Philadelphia area. The center offers a range of services, including legal advice, job training, and language classes, to help immigrants integrate into their new communities.
The Fathers also operate several schools in the Philadelphia area, including St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and Archbishop Ryan High School. These schools provide a quality education to students of all backgrounds, and they have a long tradition of excellence in academics, athletics, and community service.
In addition to their work in education and social services, the Fathers also maintain a strong presence in the cultural life of Philadelphia. They support a variety of Irish arts and cultural events throughout the year, including the annual Philadelphia Irish Festival.
The total contributions of the Irish Vincentian Fathers to the Irish community in Philadelphia are numerous and far-reaching. Their dedication to service, education, and cultural preservation has enriched the lives of countless individuals and families.
As we celebrate this Easter season, the IABCN recognizes and honors the ongoing work of the Irish Vincentian Fathers at the Miraculous Medal Shrine and all those who continue to promote the legacy of the Irish in America.