The saint who touched our Blessed Mother.
St. Catherine Labouré was born on May 2, 1806, in a quaint village in Burgundy, France. She was the ninth of eleven children. At the age of nine, her mother died, and in her sorrow, St. Catherine turned to the only other mother she knew. Standing on her tiptoes to see the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her home, St. Catherine tearfully said, “Now, dear Blessed Mother, you will be my mother.”
At the age of 23, she joined the Daughters of Charity, a religious order of Sisters that St. Vincent de Paul founded. It was here that our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine in 1830 and told her to have the Miraculous Medal made. During the next 46 years, St. Catherine was aware of the countless miracles God was working through the Medal, yet she chose to remain anonymous.
After his much-publicized conversion to Catholicism—which was sparked by the Miraculous Medal—Alphonse Ratisbonne asked if he could meet the Sister who had seen our Blessed Mother. Nobody knew which sister it was. That was the way St. Catherine preferred it. She wanted nothing more than to humbly perform her daily duties and devote herself to the care of the sick and elderly (due to the great care she gave them, she is called the patroness of seniors).
Right before her death, St. Catherine told her superior that she was the Sister of the Miraculous Medal; up until that point, the only person she spoke to about the apparitions was her confessor. On December 31, 1876, St. Catherine left this earth for heaven, and after her passing, her superior broke the silence about the Sister who had seen and touched the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Her body was exhumed 57 years later. Miraculously, it was in perfect condition. Even death respected the Sister whose hands rested on the knees of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was declared a saint because of the heroic virtues she lived while doing her commonplace duties. A “Saint of Ordinary People,” St. Catherine holds the secret of sanctity for us all. St. Catherine was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.
Read more about St. Catherine, which appeared in the November 2020 edition of the Shrine’s InSpire monthly newsletter. Click here to sign up for free subscription to the newsletter.
The Prayer of St. Catherine
Whenever I go to the chapel,
I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to Him,
“Lord I am here. Tell me what You would have me to do.”
If He gives me some task, I am content and I thank Him.
If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him, since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that.
And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart.
I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen.
If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.
God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply.