Paris (France) 1830
Virgin Mary appears in Paris (1830)
Feastday: November 28
Catherine Labouré is also known as: Zoe Laboure; Catherine Labore
Zoe Laboure was born at Fain-lès-Moutiers, Burgundy, France to the farmer Pierre Labouré and Louise Laboure as the ninth of eleven children on May 2, 1806. From an early age felt a call to the religious life. When Catherine was nine years old, her saintly mother died on October 9, 1815. After the burial service, little Catherine retired 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 made her First Communion. One day she had a dream in which a priest said to her: "My daughter, you may flee me now, but one day you will to come to me. Do not forget that God has plans for you." Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine, she noticed a priest's picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he might be, and was told: "Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul." This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream. Catherine knew she was in the right place.
Vincent de Paul
Later, on January 1830, Catherine began her postulancy at Chatillon. On Wednesday, April 21, 1830, Catherine Labouré entered the novitiate of the Daughters of Charity, located at their motherhouse, Rue du Bac 140, Paris. taking the name Catherine. On the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, July 19, the Sister Superior spoke to the novices about the virtues of their Holy Founder and gave each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder's surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to Saint Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God.
1st apparition of the Blessed Virgin: 19th July, 1830 Chapel Rue du Bac 140, Paris
It is 11.30 pm; Sister Catherine Laboure (24 years old) wakes up as she hears her name called three times. She opens the curtains of her cell and sees her Guardian Angel in de form of a 5 year old child. He says: "follow me to the chapel, where the Virgin Mary awaits you". Catherine Laboure hastily dresses herself and follows him to the chapel. The chapel is lit as for midnight-Mass, but she can't see the Blessed Virgin. She then kneels and prays. After half an hour her guardian angel says: "there is the Blessed Virgin Mary". Catherine Laboure hears a rustle like that of silk and to the left of St. Joseph she sees the Blessed Virgin Mary descend and sit herself on the chair of the Priest. Within a moment she is on her knees in front of the Blessed Virgin, with her hands confidently folded on Mary's knees. This is the beginning of a two hour long conversation. The Blessed Virgin Mary tells her that God will charge her with a mission. In the process she will experience many difficulties. The Blessed Virgin already speaks of bad times ahead. The whole world will be plunged into confusion through all sorts of incidents. The Cross will be treated with contempt; it will be cast to earth. The side of our Lord will be pierced again. The Blessed Virgin says this with a very sorrowful look on her face. Encouragingly though, she adds:
"but come to the foot of this altar and here graces will be bestowed upon all,
who ask with confidence and fervour. they will be given to the rich and to the poor"
2nd apparition of the Blessed Virgin: 27th November, 1830 Chapel Rue du Bac 140, Paris
It is 5.30pm, and the Sisters are in the chapel for the hour of Meditation. Suddenly Catherine Laboure hears, to her right, the same rustle as before; it is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She stops to the left near the painting of St. Joseph. This whole apparition is conducted in scenes and sign-language. The Blessed Virgin "standing in space". She was dressed in white, standing on a globe and holding a golden ball, with rings on her fingers flashing with light. An inner voice told her that the ball represented the whole world and that the rays coming from Mary's fingers represented graces for individuals. Then, a second phase: The golden ball then vanished as this apparition changed to represent Mary with her arms outstretched, inside an oval frame with golden lettering:
O Mary conceived without Sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee
Mary gave her this instruction: "have a medal struck on this model. All those who carry this will receive Grace in abundance, especially if they wear the medal around their neck and say this prayer confidently, they will receive special protection from the Mother of God and abundant graces". Then it is although the whole scene turns around and Catherine Laboure can see the back of the medal: in the centre is the letter M, from where a Cross ascends with at its base a cross-beam which passes through the letter M and below this the two hearts of Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns the other pierced by the sword of sorrow. The whole is surrounded with a crown of 12 stars recalling the vision of St. John in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse or Book of Revelation. Catherine Laboure hears: "the M with the Cross and the two hearts say enough".
During the next year this apparition occurred five times and each time with the same instructions: "have a medal struck on this model, and all those who wear it will receive great graces, especially when worn around the neck". Sister Catherine endured many humiliations, but she persevered. It took two years before her confessor, Father Aladel, a Vicentian priest, had the medal struck. The original name of the medal is that of holy Mary’s Immaculate Conception; only after 7 years was the name changed to the “Miraculous Medal”. Because of the many answered prayers, the conversions and the cures, some 10 million medals were sold during the first 5 years. The short prayer: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee", has since been prayed innumerable times by believers, so that the entire Christianity became familiar with Mary's "Immaculate Conception". It was Pope Pius IX who made it a rule of faith. This was received with great joy by the entire Church. Four years later, Mary came as though to confirm this, when She said to Bernadette at Lourdes:
I am the Immaculate Conception
Catherine Laboure died on 31st December 1876. When her body was exhumed, after fifty-seven years of burial, it was found to be completely incorrupt and supple. Her eyes were as blue as the day she died. On 28th May, 1933 she was beatified by Pope Pius XI. This occasion was witnessed by 50,000 people, of which there were 8,000 children of Mary, veiled in white, all wearing the Miraculous Medal. On 27th July, 1947 Catherine Laboure was canonized by Pope Pius XII. Here again many believers were present, including more than 10,000 children of Mary, veiled in white.
Body Catherine Laboure
Many healings, including those of people for whom there was totally no hope, were attributed to the "Miraculous Medal". Just in the American city of Philadelphia alone, between 1930 and 1950, more than 750.000 favours were granted and registered. Catherine Laboure is still lying in state at the right of the altar in the chapel Rue du Bac 140, in Paris and she still looks as though she only died yesterday!
Patroness of architects, miners, and prisoners.
"These apparitions of Mary and the Miraculous Medal by Catherine Laboure are fully approved by the Holy See: 1836"
Prayer of Saint Catherine Laboure
I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him "Lord, I am here.
Tell me what You would have me do."
I am content and I thank Him.
since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that.
I tell Him about my pains and my joys,
and then I listen.
for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.
Miraculous Medal Prayer
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, and for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to thee.
Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created; and You shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, You instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit.
Grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolation, through Jesus Christ out Lord. Amen.
Queen of Angels and of Men. Amen.
pray for us who have recourse to thee.