Catherine Labouré


Saint Pierre Laboure, former seminarist was married to Louise Magdelaine Gonterd in June 1793. They had 17 children during the twentieth seventh years of marriage.

Only eleven of those children survived.

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The life of a Mistic Saint

(1806 - 1876) In the Fain farm, located in Fains les Moutiers, France in May 2nd 1806, was born a gorgeous girl that was registered under the name of Catherine, but she was familiarly called Zoé. She had as game parterns three brothers and two sisters but as soon as Catherine reached the age she could help, she was sent to cook, sew, milk and to do all the household chores. As soon as she had nine years old, her mother. who was the pier of the family, died. Therefore, Catherine together with her sister Mary Antoniette were sent to the house of an uncle where they stood about two years abandoned to their fate.

When she returned home, she took the position of mother and in charge of her farm, she was only 11 years old by that time. She woke up at dawn and went to sleep late: apart from milking, she took in charge of the dairy, where she prepared the butter and the cheeses. She also took in charge of the henhouse, the fruit and the vegetables, the food of the animals and of the men. However, the adolescence treated ver hard young women farmers, to the boys of the stable, the servants and the the workers.

She possesed a pretty strange moral equilibrium. Often she run to the Church to kneel or lay down with humility in the cold floor of the altar, in this way she contracted arthrosis that she will have througout her life. She did not eat on Fridays and Saturdays. A nun that found in the Chapel of the Daughters of Charity help in the prayer, in the contemplation, and in her vocation. She was about sixteen and eighteen while she grew in silence.

When she was eighteen she had a premonitory dream, in which an old priest informed her that God had proyects for her life. Later she discovered that this priest was Saint Vincent of Paul. When she was nineteen years old Catherine was still illiterate and her father registered her in an institute of Chatillon, where she is obliged to take elementary courses with little girls of ten years old who judged her as stupid. She felt very unconfortable, did not understand and gave up the course.

When she came back home she started to the same life as before, but she kept in her heart the desire to become a nun. When she came of age, twenty one years old, she told her father her intention to enter to the Daugters of Charity: her father refused and sent her to Paris so that she could find amusement, then to Chatillon to make a future, but everything is useless.

When she was twenty four years old, January 22nd 1830, Catherine laboure began her apostolate during three months in the Daughters of the Charity, where she learned to read and write and to serve the poor.

In April 21st she entered in the the Mother House of Rue du Bac to dress the habit of novice, and immediately she was destined to do hard works, she woke up at four in the morning, the privations were not hard for her.
In April 25th was the day of the transfer of the relics of Saint Vincent of Paul and the coffin was exposed to be venerated by the devoted for a week. Catherine percieved the presence of the Saint and talk with him. In this ocassion, and during three consecutive weeks, the heart of Saint Vincent appeared in a small reliquary of the Chapel of the Sisters of Rue du Bac.

As the days went by, Catherine saw the Consecrated Host, that the priest had in his hand, to transform in the face of Christ, which lasted up to the end of her novice. The eucharistic miracle of June 6th 1830 revealed Christ. Catherine’s confesor still qualified of nonsense Catherine visions.

In the night of July 18th 1830, Catherine is woken up by an angel as a child dressed up in white who leaded her to the Chapel of the Mother: here appeared the Holy Virgin in a corporeal appearance, according to the mistics. The conversation lasted more than two hours. After the personal annoucements, she opened the book of the future and announced painful times for France and predicted the death of the Archbishop of Paris for the next forty years. Catherine told her confesor which she had seen but the priest Aladel did not believe this catastrophic predictions. The words of the Virgin were confirmed with the insurrection of Paris.

Four months went by and in November 27th Virgin Mary reappeared to Catherine while she was praying in the Chapel. In the meantime, an inner voice told Catherine: "Make engrave this medallion accordind to this model". Catherine told about this vision to priest Aladel who qualified Catherine as a fanatic girl.

After some days, it was December and as Catherine is praying in the Chapel as she used to. The Virgin reappeared to confirm in the mind and print in the mind of Catherine what she had seen in the previous vision: and informed Catherine that she will not appear more, but that Catherine could listen to the Virgin’s voice during the prayers.

Once Catherine finished her novice, in January 31st,1831 she left Rue du Bac and entered in the orphanage of Enghien not far from Rue du Bac, which she only left for a short time.
Durinf fall, Catherine while praying started to hear again the misterious inner voices. The Virgin insisted Catherine to talk to priest Aladel so that he engrave the medallions. It is only after the intervention of the archbishop of Paris Quelen that is granted the consentment to engrave the medallion and spread them, priest Alabel acted accordingly. The first medallions were available for early March 1832: two years had been gone in vane.
Cholera broke out in Paris and many victims died the medallion was distributed and revealed itself as a help agaisnt cholera and all physical illneses to the point to qualify it as a "Miraculous Medallion" In the next two years twenty millions of copies were delivered and success went on rising: it was a popular triumph. Catherine continued with her silent and hidden life: healed and converted the elderly.

In the Churches the statues and the representations of the apparitions of 1830 multiplied, the bishop of Paris, Quelen made to worship to the "Lady of the Miraculous Medallion" and obtained from Pope Gregorious XVI to celebrate in December 18th the celebration of the Immaculate Conception.

In June 30th 1848 Catherine had an intellectual vision over the "Cross of Victory" and the details for its practical realization. Cholera returned again to Paris, first in 1849 and later in 1850 and for Catherine Laboure the work raised more.

In 1870, Napoleon II renounced in Sedan and the Republic is proclamated. France attacked by the Prusians became a battle field: the beseted to Paris lasted for one year. The mother house became an urgent help and Catherine with a great effort, must prepare and guarantee 1200 daily menus. The civil war developed with violence. Executions carried out by the hatred to the accomodated social clases.

In April 30th the situation became unbearable and the sisters had to leave the Mother House, in spite that Catherine predicted the end of the revolt that took place in May 31st. But before the end in April 30th the archbishop of Paris, monsignor Darboy was executed by the revolutionaries as it had been predicted. There were many victims among the religious people.

In January 1874 Marie Antoniette, Catherine’s sister entered in a state of coma but Catherine woke her up the time enough to say goodbye to her relatives: an hour later death came sweetly to Marie. She obtained this extension by the Virgin Mary. In December of the same year Catherine was dismissed without reason of the House: this decision unleashed protests and rivalry among the sisters, but Catherine recomposed the harmony.

Catherine was seventy nine years old, in 1875 and the rheumatism attacks became more serious making every physical movement painful. The heart aches and the chest tonsillitis left her breathless: she also suffered from asthma.
In April 10th 1876, Catherine wrote a letter about the Virgin with the globe, and sent it to her supervisors but it was disdained. Catherine was desperated because she could not carried out the wishes of the Virgin, turned to her supervisor Sister Dufé and she un two weeks, solved a situation that had lasted 46 years. Dufé made acomplished an statue of the Virgin with the globe between her hands and offered to her son.

In September Catherine’s heart problems made worse, the crises that keep her in bed persisted, but intemately she felt that she was going to live until the end of the year. In December she dislocated a wrist and the perception of being useless demoralized her, and stole her last strengh. She must stayed in bed, but the sister that must brougth the food and the medicine, always forgot to turn on the fire: in this way she is deprived of everything, even of the necessary. She was left alone the whole day.

In December 30th Catherine asked for the extreme unction. Although everybody thought that it was too soon, she insisted. In December 31st at 6:30 Catherine was dying. The community kneeled down in the bedhead of the dying woman and to the invocations of the marvellous Medallion, Catherine abandoned herself, without suffering among the arms of the Heavanly Mother.

She was beatified by Pio XI in May 28th 1933, and canonized by Pio XII in July 27th 1947; her relics are exposed in the chapel where the apparitions took place. The liturgic celebration for the Vicencianas Families was set up in November 28th.