Saint Catherine Labouré
Saint Catherine Labouré (born Zoe Labouré) was a sister of the Daughters of Charity and a Marian visionary who relayed the request from the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal.
Catherine was the ninth of 11 children. She was 9 year old when her mother died on October 9, 1815. After her mother's funeral, Catherine picked up a statue of Virgin Mary and kissed it, saying "Now, dear Blessed Mother, you will be my Mother!"
July 18, 1830, the eve of the feast of St. Vincent de Paul
At night on July 18, 1830, the eve of the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady appeared to Catherine. Catherine threw herself at Our Lady's knee and rested her hands in Our Lady's lap. They spoke and Our Lady told her:
Saturday, November 27, 1830
It was November 27, 1830 in a convent on the Rue du Bac in the city of Paris. All the Sisters were gathered in the chapel for their evening meditation, including a young novice, Sr. Catherine Labouré. Suddenly, seen only by Sister Labouré, the Virgin Mary appeared in the sanctuary standing on a globe:
The Virgin held in her hands a golden ball which she seemed to offer to God, for her eyes were raised heavenward. Suddenly, her hands were resplendent with rings set with precious stones that glittered and flashed in a brilliant cascade of light. So bright was the flood of glory cast upon the globe below that Catherine could no longer see Our Lady's feet.
Mary lowered her eyes and looked full at Sister Labouré. Her lips did not move, but Catherine heard a voice.
The ball which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular.’
These words stirred the heart of the Sister with fresh transports of joy, and the dazzling rays seemed to her to increase to blinding brilliance.
’These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask.’
At this moment Catherine was so lost in delight that she scarcely knew where she was, whether she lived or died. The golden ball vanished from Mary's hands; her arms swept wide in a gesture of motherly compassion, while from her jeweled fingers the rays of light streamed upon the white globe at her feet. An oval frame formed around the Blessed Virgin, and written within it in letters of gold Catherine read the words:
‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.’
The voice spoke again:
The tableau revolved, and Catherine beheld the reverse of the Medal she was to have made. It contained a large M surmounted by a bar and a cross. Beneath the M were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword. Twelve stars encircled the whole.
And then the vision was gone.”
Dirvin, Joseph I., M.C., St. Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal, Tan Books, Rockford, IL, 1984