Lives of Saints

St Catherine Laboure (1806-1876)

Feast day: 25th November

St Catherine Laboure

I was born in1806, the ninth child of a family of eleven. My saintly mother died when I was nine years old. After the burial service, I retired to my room, stood on a chair, took our Lady's statue from the wall, kissed it, and said: "Now, dear Lady, you are to be my mother."

After living for one year in Paris with my Aunt, I came back to my father's home to supervise the household. I received my First Holy Communion in 1818. From that day on I got up every morning at 4:00 a.m., and walked several miles to church, in order to assist at Mass, and to pray.

One day I had a dream in which I saw an old priest say Mass. Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity, I realized that the priest I had seen in my dream was Saint Vincent de Paul.

In January of 1830, I became a postulant in the hospice of the Daughters of Charity. Three months later I was again in Paris, this time to enter the Seminary at the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity. Shortly after I entered the convent, I started having extraordinary visions. I beheld the heart of Saint Vincent above the reliquary in which his relics were exposed, I beheld our divine Lord in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I had a vision of the Virgin Mother.

On Saturday, November 27, 1830, at 5:30 p.m., I saw my beautiful Lady once more, standing on a large globe. This time the Virgin gave me a direct order: "Have a medal struck as I have shown you. All who wear it will receive great graces." My spiritual director helped in this, and the spread of the devotion to the medal was swift.

I spent the next forty years, caring for the aged and infirm, not revealing to those around me that I had been the recipient of our Lady's medal. In 1876, I felt a spiritual conviction that I would die before the end of the year, and since Mary Immaculate gave me leave to speak, I broke the silence of forty-six years and revealed to my Sister Superior, the fact that I was the sister to whom the Blessed Mother appeared.

I was canonized by Pope Pius XII on 27 July 1947.

“If you listen, God will also speak to you.”

St Catherine Laboure

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