Saint of the Week-Jan 4, 2012: St. Catherine Laboure

SAINT OF THE WEEK – St. Catherine Laboure (1806-1876)

St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an early age she entered the community of the Daughters of Charity, in Paris, France. Three times in 1830 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, who then was a twenty-four year old novice.  Mry showed St. Catherine the medal of the Immaculate Conception, now universally known as the “Miraculous Medal.” She commissioned St. Catherine to have one made, and to spread devotion to this medal.

The fact that Saint Catherine rested her hands on the lap of the Blessed Mother did not make her a saint. She personally worked no miracles, nor did she practice externally heroic charity like other great saints. She was not materially poor as were the children of Fatima and Saint Bernadette… 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 Djon. Her sanctity consists in half a century of faithful service as a simple Daughter of Charity.

We might expect that praise and prominence would be the lot of one so favored by heaven. But she sought none of it; rather, 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 a spiritual conviction that she would die before the end of the year. Mary Immaculate gave Catherine leave to speak, to break the silence of  forty-six years. To her Sister Superior, Catherine revealed the fact that she was the sister to whom the Blessed Mother appeared. On the last day of December 1876, Saint Catherine passed on—once again 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. Though she had lived seventy years and was in the grave for fifty-seven years, her eyes remained very blue and beautiful; and in death her arms and legs were as supple as if she were asleep. 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.

She died on December 31, 1876, and was canonized on July 27, 1947. Her feast day is November 28.

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