Oil Dedicated to St Catherine Laboure
The St Catherine Laboure is dedicated to the 19th century French saint. She was a member of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Also, she is a Marian visionary. Catherine relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the famous Miraculous Medal. of Our Lady of Graces. In addition, it is worn by millions of people around the world.
Labouré was born on May 2, 1806, in the Burgundy region of France. Her parents were Pierre Labouré, a farmer, and Madeleine Louise Gontar. She was the 9th of 11 living children. Her baptismal name was Zoe, after Saint Zoe, whose feast day falls on her birthday. However, her family rarely used that. Labouré’s mother died on October 9, 1815, when Labouré was nine years old. Consequently, after her mother’s funeral, Labouré picked up a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and kissed it saying, “Now you will be my mother.” Her father’s sister offered to care for her and her sister Marie Antoinette. After he agreed, the sisters moved to their aunt’s house at Saint-Rémy.
The Daughters of Charity
Labouré was observed to be extremely devout, of a somewhat romantic nature. Also, she was given to visions and intuitive insights. As a young woman, she became a member of the nursing order founded by Saint Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity. In addition, she chose this order after a dream about him.
In April 1830, the remains of St. Vincent de Paul were translated to the Vincentian church in Paris. The solemnities included a novena. On three successive evenings Catherine reportedly experienced a vision. It was of the heart of St. Vincent above a shrine containing a relic of bone from his right arm. Also, each time the heart appeared a different color: white, red, and crimson. She interpreted this to mean that the Vincentian communities would prosper. Also, that there would be a change of government. The convent chaplain advised her to forget the matter.
The Virgin Mary
Labouré stated that on July 19, 1830, the eve of the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, she woke up after hearing the voice of a child calling her to the chapel. There she heard the Virgin Mary say to her, “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world.” Labouré keep walking thinking about what she just heard.
On November 27, 1830, Labouré reported that the Blessed Mother returned to her during evening meditations. She displayed herself inside an oval frame, standing upon a globe. Also, rays of light came out of her hands in the direction of the globe. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” As Labouré watched, the frame seemed to rotate. It now showed a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the stylized Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary underneath.
Catherine asked why some of the rays of light did not reach the Earth, Mary reportedly replied “Those are the graces for which people forget to ask.” Labouré then heard Mary ask her to take these images to her father confessor. She was to tell him that they should be put on medallions. “All who wear them will receive great graces.”
The Miraculous Medal
Labouré did so, and after two years of investigation and observation of her normal daily behaviour, the priest took the information to his archbishop without revealing her identity. Subsequently, the request was approved and the design of the medallions was commissioned. They proved to be exceedingly popular. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had not yet been officially promulgated. Also, the medal with its “conceived without sin” slogan was influential in popular approval of the idea.
Labouré spent the next forty years caring for the aged and infirm. For this, she is called the patroness of seniors. She died on December 31, 1876, at the age of seventy. Her body is encased in glass beneath the side altar in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris.
Her cause for sainthood was declared upon discovering her body was incorrupt. Subsequently, she was beatified on May 28, 1933 by Pope Pius XI and canonized on July 27, 1947 by Pope Pius XII.