St. Catherine Laboure
Feast Day: November 28
Born: 1806 :: Died: 1876
Zoe Laboure, was born at Burgundy in France as the bells of the Angelus sounded. She was the ninth of eleven children that Peter and Louise Laboure had. Her father Peter, was a well-to-do French farmer.
When Zoe was just nine years old her mother died. Zoe was her father's favourite and he depended on her. When she was twelve, she received her First Holy Communion. From that day on she got up at 4:00 am every morning and walked many miles to church to attend Mass.
Then her older sister became a nun and Zoe had to run the house. Zoe, would have liked to enter the convent when she was in her early teens. But because she was needed at home, she waited until she was twenty-four. Zoe became a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and took the name of Catherine.
Soon after she finished her training, Sister Catherine received a special favour. She prayed to St. Vincent de Paul that she might see with her own eyes the mother of God. Catherine was sure her wish would be granted.
One night, she was awakened from sleep by a brilliant light and the voice of a child saying "Sister Laboure, come to the Chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you."
Catherine followed the little angel who touched the locked Chapel doors and they swung open. The Blessed Virgin appeared with a rustle of silk in a blaze of glory and spoke with Catherine.
Then one Advent, in another vision, the Blessed Mother 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!"
The Virgin this time gave her a direct order: "Have a medal struck as I have shown you. All who wear it will receive great graces."
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. Then before she died in 1876, Mother Mary gave her permission to reveal her secret, which she shared with her Sister Superior. After she died, many miracles were reported at her tomb.
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