“Go Fish” Friday: My 4-Way and St. Michael Medals

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It seems as if everywhere I go, people always compliment me on my necklace. Some know what it is and others don’t. Its always a topic of conversation at the grocery store checkout, at a restaurant, at the hair salon, anywhere I am face to face with someone, they always notice my Medals and either say they are pretty or ask what they are. Maybe its because they’re big (I don’t do dainty! LOL!) and maybe because people are just drawn to them. I wear a 4-Way medal and then a separate Saint Michael Medal on the same chain. Saint Michael is my patron saint. I can’t tell you how long I’ve worn them, but it’s been many, many years. Anytime you see a picture of me, I have them on. I do not take them off. Do I think they are lucky charms? NO. Do I think that if I take them off something bad will happen? NO. You know me better than that by now.

The Four Way Medal is also known as a Cruciform, and also a Scapular Medal.  It takes the latter name from the medal at the top. Traditionally, the Scapular Medal features the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the other side.

A 4-Way Medal is a combination of 4 popular Catholic medals – it includes The Scared Heart medal (top), Saint Joseph medal (right), a Miraculous Medal (bottom) and a Saint Christopher medal (left). Mine also includes a dove in the middle signifying the Holy Spirit.

SACRED HEART MEDAL: Also known as “Sacred Heart of Jesus” this medal signifies one of the most popular Catholic devotions to Jesus’ physical heart. His undying love for you and for me, and the suffering heart of Christ. Many people have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. You see a lot of artwork depicting Jesus’ Sacred Heart. You can read more about it here.

Below is a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I have hanging in my home.  “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in YOU!”

SAINT JOSEPH MEDAL: Of course, everyone knows who Saint Joseph is…he was Our Lady’s husband. He was Jesus’ “foster” father or His “earthly” father. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of workers. Many in my family have been named after Saint Joseph and we have great devotion to him. My paternal Grandfather, Father and one of my brothers were all named after Saint Joseph. I have cousins named after him and also many have Joseph as their middle names in my family. My Grandmother started to paint, cast and teach ceramics after my 50 year old Grandpa died. One of my memories was always seeing a ceramic caroler figurine that she brought out at Christmas time.  She painted this figurine. In the little bitty songbook that the woman was holding, my Gram wrote “Oh Joseph Dear, Oh Joseph Mine” – at that time she was mourning her Joseph, just as Mary mourned for her Joseph way back when.  “Joseph Dear, Oh Joseph Mine” is also called “Song of the Crib” by Josef Lieber. Mannheim Steamroller has popularized this song. Saint Joseph is very special to our family.

You can read more about Saint Joseph here.

THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL: The Miraculous medal is also known as the “Medal of the Immaculate Conception.” It was designed by Our Lady herself.

TAKEN FROM: The Association of the Miraculous Medal

The Meaning of the Front Side of the Miraculous Medal:
Mary is standing upon a globe, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her foot. She stands upon the globe, as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Her feet crush the serpent to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Gn 3:15). The year of 1830 on the Miraculous Medal is the year the Blessed Mother gave the design of the Miraculous Medal to Saint Catherine Labouré. The reference to Mary conceived without sin supports the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary—not to be confused with the virgin birth of Jesus, and referring to Mary’s sinlessness, “full of grace” and “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28)—that was proclaimed 24 years later in 1854.

The Meaning of the Back Side of the Miraculous Medal
The twelve stars can refer to the Apostles, who represent the entire Church as it surrounds Mary. They also recall the vision of Saint John, writer of the Book of Revelation (12:1), in which “a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.” The cross can symbolize Christ and our redemption, with the bar under the cross a sign of the earth. The “M” stands for Mary, and the interleaving of her initial and the cross shows Mary’s close involvement with Jesus and our world. In this we see Mary’s part in our salvation and her role as mother of the Church. The two hearts represent the love of Jesus and Mary for us. (See also Lk 2:35).

SAINT CHRISTOPHER MEDAL: St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers. Not much is known about him. Christopher means “Christ-bearer” – his original name was Offero. He was martyred in c251.
More on St. Christopher can be found here.

One day he carried a small child across the stream; the child’s weight nearly crushed him. When they arrived on the other side, the child revealed himself as Christ, and he was so heavy because he bore the weight of the world on himself. He then baptized Offero with water from the stream. Christopher’s service at the stream led to his patronage of things related to travel and travelers, people who carry things, etc. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

What is on the back of the 4-Way medal?

The back top has the rest of the Sacred Heart Medal which is Our Lady of Mount Carmel – Creating the Scapular part of the medal. Our Lady of Mount Carmel also has huge significance in our family. That was our family’s parish…the parish my father and his brothers and sister were raised in. My Grandpa sang the “Ave Maria” in that church. He was buried from that church. Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Niles, Ohio is also where I was baptized. We have fond memories of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – The “festival” at that church was a weekend of rides, games, sausage and pepper sandwiches, smelts, cheese puffs and french fries with vinegar. It was something we looked forward to every summer. The feast day is the 16th of July. I have an “Infant of Prague” statue in my bedroom that my maternal Grandmother won at that festival. I took that Infant when she passed away. It is one of my most cherished possessions. Look for a blog on “The Infant of Prague” coming soon!

Also on the back of the 4-Way is the back of the Miraculous Medal which I explained above.

In the middle are the words: “I am a Catholic, in case of an accident, please call a priest.” Obviously in case of emergency or accident a Catholic would want their priest. They would administer the Sacrament of the Sick or in case of possible death, Last Rites.

Now on to Saint Michael…Saint Michael is an Archangel.  In Hebrew the name Michael means “He who is like God.” Michael is described as the prince of light, leading forces of God against the darkness of evil. He is described as the “viceroy of heaven”.

Prayer of St. Michael: St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.  My God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do Thou O Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, by the power of GOD cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  AMEN!

Until next time, as always…”Go Fish!”

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5 responses »

  1. Michelle as always I find your writings of you heart faith and beliefs so inspirational I love the fact of the dove in the middle of your 4 way and I do love the fact you point out they are not lucky charms or some type of magical power.
    They are beautiful and what they represent is beautiful thank you for sharing the meaning and significance of them.

  2. I enjoyed reading this as you’ve mixed your own experiences up with the explanation and meaning of the medal along with the links and pic’s. It was help to me as I recently bought a 4-way medal in a antique shop in the south of France while on holidays. I was actually looking for something different that would remind me of the holiday and not the usual junk you’d buy from souvenir shops. So I bought the second hand 4-way medal which has the same front as yours but different back. I’m Irish so yes I’m catholic my grand parents would of been stong believers and my parents but me not so much! But still it’s amazing how so much history and religion is in one medal. Which I’ll wear everyday.

  3. Michael does not mean “he who is like God”. Rather it is a question: Who is like God? (Qui ut Deus?). The answer is, of course, no one is. It is said that when the Archangel Michael defeated Satan during the War in Heaven he mockingly reiterated his name to Satan.

    Anyway, thanks for the info on the four-way medal. I’m looking into getting one and this was quite informative.

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