Confidant of Our Lady – Today’s SaintNovember 28, 2011 No Comments
November 28, 2011 | CatholicDaily.net
(Society of Saints) – Today, 28 Nov 2011, in some parts of the world the feast day of St Catherine Laboure is celebrated. In other places it is celebrated on 31 Dec. It was through St Catherine Laboure that the gift of the Miraculous Medal was given to the world. As wonderful as this truly is, even more wonderful is the life of humble holiness that St Catherine lived for 46 years after the great apparitions of Our Lady ceased.
Since she is another of my name sakes, St Catherine has a very special place in my heart. That place was greatly expanded after reading ‘The Life of Catherine Laboure’ by Rene Laurentin, 1983 English translation. All of the events in her life that I will mention here are recorded in that wonderful book.
On the 18th July 1830 was St Catherine’s first apparition of Our Lady. It happened in the chapel at Rue du Bac in Paris from around midnight till 2am. Here is part of the story in her own words of what happened that night.
“Then, looking at the Blessed Virgin, I was at her side in a single bound, on my knees on the altar steps, with my hands resting on the Blessed Virgin’s knees. There, a period of time passes, the sweetest of my life..,She told me how I sghould behave toward my spiritual director, and also several other things that I must not mention; the way in which to comport myself when suffering….She said, ‘My child, the Good Lord wants to entrust you with a mission…There will be bad times to come…But come to the foot of this altar. There, graces will be poured iut on all those, small, or great, who ask for them with confidence and fervour. graces will be poured out especially on those who ask for Him for them.’
St Catherine kept all this, and a lot more, in her heart until she made two attempts to record them 46 years later only a few weeks before her death. She was obedient to all of Our Lady’s requests and kept her advice and confidences faithfully all of those long years.
The Miraculous Medal apparitions occurred on 27 November 1830. It wasn’t until 1832, after much patient waiting and prayer, that the first Medals were minted. Such amazing graces accompanied this simple Medal that there were over 500,000 in existence before the end of 1834 and well over 1 billion by 1876, and only God knows how many today. Through all this St Catherine’s identity was kept secret.
St Catherine came from good peasant stock and wherever she was sent in her religious life she looked after the convent livestock, be it cows, chickens, pigeons or pigs and kept meticulous accounts. Good management of the livestock meant that the poor, sick and elderly that they served would have the nourishment of milk and eggs.
Looking after the needs of the old folk at the hospice the Sisters of Charity ran was something that St Catherine was particularly gifted for. The most difficult old ones found a loving and understanding heart in St Catherine. In 1860 the Lord sent St Catherine a new superior who had an iron will, and who just by being insensitive tested St Catherine’s obedience, patience and dedication to the Rule in a multiplicity of ways. Newcomers to the convent found in St Catherine a ready welcome and plenty of help adjusting to religious life and the regular chores that went with it.
This next passage from the book would have to be my all time favourite about St Catherine:
Page 145 ‘Catherine also acquired a discreet but solid reputation as someone to keep watch with the dying. She did without sleep whenever the frequent death-throes of the old folk required it. Three or four died each year among the men alone. Catherine skillfully combined physical care and prayer. All those with whom ske kept watch found peace. Unbelievers, they were reconciled and sometimes ‘died holy deaths’, or so those in the house would say. At the end of her life, Sr Dufes could say that there was not a single one who was not reconciled to God.’
There is so much more to say about this humble and holy woman to whom Our Lady gave such great confidences, but this will have to do for now. St Catherine Laboure’s incorrupt body resides in the chapel at Rue du Bac, a testament to her enormous love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Should you ever get to Paris, don’t leave until you have visted this holy chapel.
St Catherine Laboure, pray for us
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