St Catherine Labouré was born in 1806 on a farm in Burgundy, France, the ninth of 11 children. She did not go to school but learnt later to read and write. She was very devout and wanted to become a nun. She prayed to know God’s will as to what convent to enter.
Upon a visit to a hospital which was run by the Sisters of Charity, she saw a picture of St Vincent de Paul in the parlour and she said she heard the words, “My child it is a very beautiful thing to take care of the sick. God is asking something from you.”
Her widowed father opposed the idea of her joining the convent and sent her to work as a waitress in his brother’s restaurant in Paris. She ran away and joined the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul at Chatillonsur-Seine. After her postulancy she was received as Sister Catherine.
Soon after, the Virgin Mary began the famous apparitions to her on 8 July, 1830.
In Catherine’s own words, Our Lady said “Behold the symbol of the graces I shower upon those who ask for them! Then an oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin and I read the letters of gold: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
On the other side were the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Lady said, “Have a medal struck according to this model. All who wear it will receive great graces.”
Catherine died in 1876 and was canonized by Pope Pius XII on 27 July 1947.
The Feast of The Miraculous Medal is 27 November and the Feast of St Catherine Labouré is 28 November.