On November 28, the Church honors St. Catherine Laboure. She was a French nun in the nineteenth century who was blessed with visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During these visions, Our Lady gave Catherine the vision of the front and back of picture and told Catherine to have it struck as a medal. It is one of the most popular religious medals in all of Catholicism - the Miraculous Medal. But why is it called the "Miraculous Medal"? Because thousands of miracles have come from the wearing of the Miraculous Medal. My dad wore one. The Miraculous Medal, front and back, is also on the Four-way cross, which I wear.
Catherine was born run France on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth of eleven children born to her parents. She entered the Novitiate for the Daughter of Charity on April 21, 1830. She took her vows in January of 1831.
During there month of April 1830, the remains of St. /Vincent de Paul where moved to the Vincentian church in Paris. ?Among the solemnities to celebrate this was a Novena. On three separate evenings, after arriving back from the church, Catherine reported having visions of the heart of St. Vincent de Paul in the chapel of the convent above a reliquary holding the saints right arm bone. On each of the three nights, the heart appeared in a different color: red, white and black. She interpreted this to mean that the Vincentian Order would flourish and that there would be a change of government in France. The convent's chaplain advised her to forget the visions in their entirety. Of course, she did not.
On July 19, 1830 (the eve of the feast of St. /Vincent de Paul), the Blessed Virgin Mary began appearing to Catherine. She woke up hearing the message that she was wanted in the chapel because she had a mission from God. The Blessed Virgin said to Catherine, "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, Mary returned to Catherine during her evening meditations. Mary displayed herself inside of an oval frame standing atop of globe with her hands outstretched with rays of light coming from her hands towards the globe. Towards the edge of the oval appeared the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Catherine watched as the oval appeared to rotate in front of her. On the submerse of the oval, there appeared a circle of twelve (12) stars. Within the cycle of stars was a large letter M with a cross above and through the M. Below that symbol appeared images of the Immaculate Hear of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Our Lady told Catherine to take these images to her confessor with directions that these images should be struck onto medallions. Mary said that all who wear these medallions will have great graces.
After two years of investigation and observation of her life by her confessor, he took the images to the Archbishop of Paris without revealing Catherine's identity. The Archbishop approved the idea of striking medals in the prescribed images. The medallions were commissioned through F?rench goldsmith Adrien Vachette. Although Pope Pius IX had yet to declare the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary *her feast is coming up in ten days). The Immaculate Conception would e set out as a dogma on December 8, 1854 in Pope Pius IX's encyclical, Ineffabilis Deus. The medal would prove to be quite popular with the laity and remains popular even today.
After taking her vows on January 30, 1831, Catherine was sent to the Order's house in Reuilly where she worked in a hospice caring for the elderly and sickest of patients, hence her identification as Patroness of Seniors. Not only did she care for the sick and elderly, she also worked on the Order's farm in Reuilly cleaning stalls and caring for the chickens and other menial tasks. She did so with the greatest of humility.
Catherine died at the hospice on December 31, 1876. She was then 70 years old.
Her cause for canonization was opened when it was discovered that she was incorrupt (meaning that he body had not decayed like most bodies) and she had the appearance of sleeping. She was beatified on May 28, 1933 at Vatican City by Pope Pius XI. She was canonized at the Vatican by Pope Pius XII on July 27, 1947.
St. Catherine Labourė, pray for us!
Please join me at 3:30 pm Eastern to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and to learn about St. Catherine Labouré.