The story of Saint Catherine Laboure
Saint Catherine personally worked no miracles, nor did she practice externally heroic charity like other great saints. She sprang from upper middle class parents among the meadows and vineyards of Burgundy, France. Her father was an educated man and an excellent farmer living in the village of Fain-les-Moutiers not far from DiJon. Her sanctity consists in half a century of faithful service as a simple Daughter of Charity.
Catherine was born of Peter and Louise Laboure on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth child of a family of eleven. The day after her birth she was baptized on the feast of the Finding of The True Cross. Even the feast of Catherine’s baptism was prophetic, because Catherine was to find the cross in every turn of her life, and to have deep devotion for it, and to see a mysterious vision of the cross. When Catherine was nine years old, her saintly mother died. After the burial service, little Catherine went to her 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.” On January 25, 1818, Catherine received her First Holy Communion. From that day on she arose every morning at 4:00 a.m., walked several miles to church in order to assist at Mass, and to pray.
One day she had a dream in which she saw an old priest say Mass. After Mass, the priest turned and beckoned her with his finger, but she drew backwards, keeping her eye on him.The vision moved to a sick room where she saw the same priest, who said: “My child, it is a good deed to look after the sick; you run away now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God has designs on you – do not forget it.” Later, she awoke, not knowing the significance of the dream. Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity, Catherine noticed a priest’s picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he was, and was told: “Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul.” This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream.
In January of 1830, Catherine Laboure became a postulant in the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Catillon-sur-Seine. Three months later she was again in Paris, this time to enter the Seminary at the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity. Shortly after she entered her new home, God was pleased to grant her several extraordinary visions. On thr…
…d any praise and promise so she fled from it. She wanted to be left alone to carry out her humble duties as a Daughter of Charity. For over forty years, she spent her every effort in caring for the aged and infirm, not revealing to those about her that she had been the recipient of our Lady’s medal. The Sisters with whom she lived held her in the highest esteem, and each one longed to be her companion.
In 1876, Catherine felt she would die before the end of the year. Mary Immaculate gave Catherine leave to speak and break the silence of forty-six years. Catherine revealed to her Sister Superior that she was the sister to whom the Blessed Mother appeared. On December31, 1876, Saint Catherine passed on to the hands of Mary, this time, however, in heaven. Today her beautiful remains still lie fresh and serene.
When her body was exhumed in 1933 it was found as fresh as the day it was buried. Her incorrupt body is encased in glass beneath the side altar at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, beneath one of the spots where our Lady appeared to her. In the Chapel of the Apparition you can gaze upon the face and the lips that for forty-six years kept a secret, which has since shaken the world.