St Catherine Labouré is famous worldwide for being the one who designed and created the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. She lived in France during the 19th century but her canonization took place only after the Second World War, in 1947.
Discover now origins and meaning of the world-famous Miraculous Medal.
St Catherine Labouré
Born in Fains-les-Moutiers (France) on 2 May 1806, since she was just a little girl she took care of her family, due to the early death of her mother and to the fact that her older sister decided to enter the convent. Despite her father’s different opinion, since she was very young she refused many marriage proposals, as she intended to totally embrace a religious kind of life.
Once she moved to Paris, as her father wanted, she settled in a hospice which was run by the Daughters of Charity. After that, her goal was to enter the seminary of Rue du Bac. During her novitiate, she had frequent apparitions of the Lord and the Holy Virgin: one of the most famous ones happened right here when, after waking up from her sleep, she went to the chapel of the seminary and attended an apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary, who heralded a mission for her.
On 27 November 1830, the Virgin appeared again to Catherine, showing her the design of a medal and asking her to promote its diffusion among the faithful: whoever had worn it, would have received great graces. On the medal it was supposed to be written:
«O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee»
In a first moment, she was not believed and many people thought she was crazy but later, in 1832, at the behest of the Archbishop she obtained the minting of 1500 samples of the medal that, since then, was named “miraculous”, due to the prodigies and miracles it provoked.
Three years later, in 1835, Catherine was sent to the hospice of Enghien, where for 46 years took care of elder poor people, without saying anything about the apparitions she had during her life.
Only during her last months of life, at the behest of the Virgin, she revealed the Mother Superior, Sister Dufès, that she was the visionary of the medal.
Story of the Miraculous Medal
In the night between 18 and 19 July 1830, St Catherine attended a two-hours apparition of the Holy Virgin, who announced her many other apparitions coming throughout the same year. The drawing of the Miraculous Medal came to light during the apparition that St Catherine Labouré attended in the night of 27 November 1830. The apparition which took place this time can be divided into two phases.
In the first phase, the Virgin appears to St Catherine standing upon a globe surrounded by the coils of a snake, while offering to God a small golden globe, symbol of the world and the souls. During this apparition, the Virgin Mary emanates two beams of light.
In the second phase, the small golden globe disappears and the shining hands of the Virgin lower, creating a halo around her head, forming the sentence “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee”. At this point, the image of the Virgin disappears, leaving space to a very bright M, with a cross on top and the Holy Hears of Jesus and Mary on the bottom, while twelve shining stars form together the crown of the Holy Virgin.
The term “miraculous” is due to the miracles that the medal produced, such as the conversion to Christianity of the jewish Alphonse Marie Ratisbonne, in 1842.
The Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, according to the Holy Virgin, would have brought great graces to whom would have worn it.
For all her life, St Catherine lived in absolute silence and humility, assisting the poors of the hospice in Paris. When her corpse was exhumed, her hands and eyes were found completely uncorrupted. For this reason, Pope Pius XI decided to beatify her in 1933 and she was later canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.
Get your Miraculous Medal
The faithful who want to wear the Miraculous Medal can do it now, by buying our religious articles dedicated to this very important and historical holy object, such as the Miraculous Medal necklaces, rings, earrings or bracelets.