St. Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure is famous for spreading devotion to Jesus and Mary--especially through their sacred hearts--by a medal that was revealed to her in a vision.
Zoe Laboure was born in 1806 to a farm family in Burgundy, France. She was ninth of eleven children and at the age of nine, her mother died and she and a younger sister were sent to live with an aunt. Later, when other siblings left the household (some for religious life) she was forced to return to care for the household.
She never learned to read or write, and later worked as a waitress in her uncle’s café in Paris. She visited a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity, and felt a tangible call to work with the sick. She eventually joined the order, taking the name Catherine.
When she was a novice in the community, Mary appeared to Catherine three times. In one of her visions, Mary showed Catherine a medal to be worn around the neck. The medal depicts Mary as the Immaculate Conception, and has become known as the “Miraculous Medal.” On one side is an image of Mary with the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” On the other side is a depiction of the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary. She told Catherine to have medals made as a source of prayer and grace. Devotion to the Miraculous Medal has since spread worldwide.
Catherine died after many long years as a nun, working in kitchens and gardens and taking care of elderly people in a nursing home. Her relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica and her image is used here with permission from Catholic.org.
St. Catherine Laboure, who was visited by visions of Jesus and Mary and spread devotion to them through the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!