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Saint Catherine Laboure

Saint Catherine Laboure
  • Century: 19th Century
  • Patronage: Miraculous Medals
  • Feast Day: November 28th

St. Catherine was born in Burgundy, France, to a farming family, and was the ninth of eleven children. Her mother died when she was nine years old. Her father’s sister wanted to take care of the two youngest children after the passing of their mom, Catherine and Tonine. They moved to their aunt’s house at St. Remy, a village nine kilometers from their home. As a young woman she became a member of the nursing order founded by St. Vincent de Paul. She was extremely devout, and was given to visions and intuitive insights. She then chose the Daughters of Charity, after a dream about St. Vincent. Having lost her mother at an early age, she had a profound love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. At her mother’s funeral, Catherine picked up a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and having kissed it, said, “Now you will be my mother”. On the eve of the feast of St. Vincent, 1830, St. Catherine woke up after hearing the voice of a child calling her to the chapel. She heard the Virgin Mary say to her, “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world”. On November 27, 1830, Catherine reported that the Blessed Mother returned during her evening mediations. She displayed herself inside an oval frame, standing upon a globe, wearing many rings of different colors, most of which shone rays of light over the globe. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”. As Catherine watched, the frame seemed to rotate, showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the stylized “Sacred Heart of Jesus” and “Immaculate Heart of Mary” underneath. She asked why some of her rings did not shed light, and Mary replied, “Those are the graces for which people forget to ask”. Catherine then heard Mary ask her to take these images to her Father Confessor, telling him that they should be put on medallions. “All who wear them will receive great graces”. Catherine did this, and after two years worth of investigation and observation of Catherine’s normal daily behavior, the Priest took the information to his Archbishop without revealing St. Catherine’s identity. The request was approved and the design of the medallions was commissioned through the French goldsmith, Adrien Vachette. They became very popular, remembering that at this time, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had not been officially promulgated. The Miraculous Medal and it’s popularity, was influential in the approval of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Pope John Paull II used a slight variation of this image in reverse, as his coat of arms. He used a plain cross with an M in the lower right quadrant of the shield. St. Catherine foretold many great events correctly, but did fail on some. She lived her remaining years as an ordinary nursing Sister. She was pleasant and well liked by patients and her fellow Nuns. After receiving permission from the Virgin mary, Catherine told Sister Dufes, the Mother Superior of her visions. Something to consider, at the time of her death on December 31, 1876, very few people knew that St. Catherine was the one who brought the Miraculous Medal to the world. In 1895 her cause for beatification was introduced to Rome. Her body was exhumed in 1933, and was judged to be incorrupt by the Church. It now lies in a glass coffin at the side altar of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, one of the spots the Blessed Mother appeared to her. She was beatified on May 28, 1933, and canonized on July 27, 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Practical Take Away St. Catherine Laboure was a very humble, spirtitual girl. Her mother passed away at the age of nine, and she took on the Blessed Virgin Mary as her mother. She worked as a nurse in the society of St. Vincent de Paul, and then entered into the Daughters of Charity as a Nun. She spent most of her life as a nurse, but was most famous for her visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was instructed to create and produce the “Miraculous Medal” after being shown it in detail, by the Virgin Mary. She was to then distribute this throughout the world, and those that wore it would receive great graces. He body was exhumed and is incorrupt. She is in a glass coffin in the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, and can be seen today.