St. Catherine Laboure
Zoe Laboure, born in 1806, was the daughter of a French farmer. She was the only one of her large family who did not go to school. She could not read or write. Her mother died while she was still very young. Zoe had to run the house when her older sister became a nun.
Zoe, too, would have liked to enter the convent when she was in her early teens. However, because she was needed at home, she waited until she was twenty-four. Zoe became a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. She took the name of Catherine.
Shortly after she finished her training as a postulant, Sister Catherine received a special privilege. She began to see the Blessed Mother. One night, she was awakened from sleep. A "shining child" led her to chapel. There Our Lady came to talk to her. The Blessed Mother, in another vision, showed herself standing on a globe with streams of light coming from her hands. Underneath were the words: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to thee!" Sister Catherine was told that a medal was to be made of this picture of Our Lady. She was also told that all who wore it would receive many graces from Jesus through his mother's prayers.
Sister Catherine told her confessor and he later told the bishop. So it was that the medal which we call the miraculous medal was made. Soon many, many people all over the world were wearing it. Yet no one in the convent knew that humble Sister Catherine was the one to whom Our Lady had appeared. She spent the remaining forty-five years of her life doing ordinary convent tasks. She answered the door. She looked after the hens that provided the nuns with eggs. She also took care of elderly and sick people. She was happy to keep her special privilege hidden, and was only interested in serving God as best she could. Catherine died in 1876. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1947.
In the difficult times in our lives, we can turn to the Blessed Mother for strength and guidance.