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Events for Tuesday 28th November 2023

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St Catherine Labouré

Starts 10:00 Ends 19:00


As the evening Angelus sounded on May 2nd, 1806, Catherine Labouré was born, the ninth child of a family of eleven. 'Our Lady's bell' seemed to herald that a saint, who was to be greatly favoured by her, had been sent by God to the world . . .

Trials of youth
When Catherine was nine years old, her mother died. When she returned home after the burial, the child took our Lady's statue from the wall, kissed it, and said: "Now, dear Lady, you are to be my mother."

On January 25, 1818, Catherine received her First Holy Communion. From that day on she arose every morning at 4.00 a.m., and walked several miles to church to attend Mass, and to pray.

One night she had a dream in which she saw an old priest say Mass. After Mass, the priest turned and beckoned her with his finger. The vision moved to a sick room where she saw the same priest, who said: "My child, it is a good deed to look after the sick; you run away now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God has designs on you - do not forget it." Later, she awoke, not knowing the significance of the dream.

Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity, she noticed a priest's picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he might be, and was told: "Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul." This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream.

Rue du Bac, July 1830

In January of 1830, Catherine Labouré became a postulant in the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Catillon-sur-Seine. Three months later she entered the Seminary at the Mother House, Rue du Bac, Paris.

On the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, July 19, the Sister Superior spoke to the novices about the virtues of their Holy Founder and gave each of them a piece of cloth from his surplice. Catherine earnestly prayed to Saint Vincent that she might with her own eyes see the mother of God. Catherine fell asleep. Before long, she was awakened by a brilliant light and the voice of a child. "Sister Labouré, come to the Chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you." Catherine replied anxiously: "We shall be discovered."

The little child, radiant with light, smiled, "Do not be uneasy; it is half past eleven, everyone is sleeping... come, I am waiting for you." She rose quickly and dressed. The hall lights were burning. The locked chapel door swung open at the angel's touch. Amazed, Catherine found the Chapel ablaze with lights as if prepared for midnight Mass. Quickly she knelt at the communion rail, and suddenly, she heard the rustle of a silk dress. The Blessed Virgin, in a blaze of glory, entered and sat in the director's chair. The angel whispered: "The Blessed Mother wishes to speak with you."

Catherine rose, knelt beside the Blessed Mother and rested her hands in the Virgin's lap. Mary said:

"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."

A pain crossed the Virgin's face. "Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek for them. You will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent. I always will have my eyes upon you. There will be much persecution. The cross will be treated with contempt. It will be hurled to the ground and blood will flow." Then, after speaking for some time, the Lady was gone.

Led by the child, Catherine left the Chapel, marched up the corridor, and returned to her place in the dormitory. The angel disappeared and as Catherine went to bed she heard the clock strike two.

Thus ended the first of the great apparitions of Our Lady at the Rue du Bac, Paris, France in July 1830.


Second Appearance
Church of Miraculous Medal



Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Starts 12:00 Ends 21:00


Rue du Bac, Paris, November 1830

On Saturday, November 27th, 1830, the vigil of the First Sunday of Advent, at 5.30 pm, Sr. Catherine Labouré with the other sisters retired to the Chapel of the Convent of the Rue du Bac, Paris, for evening meditation. She heard the faint rustle of a silk dress. Catherine did not have to move. Raising her eyes to the right of the main altar, she saw a beautiful Lady, surrounded by light, standing on a half globe of the world. Her feet were crushing a serpent, and rays of light were streaming from her fingers - all in an oval frame inscribed with the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee".

The whole vision "turned" showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter "M" entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame.

The Virgin spoke, this time giving a direct order: "Have a medal struck as I have shown you. All who wear it will receive great graces." In short, those who wear the medal, properly blessed, and repeat the prayer,
'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee ', will be greatly blessed.

Catherine asked how she was to have the medal struck. Our Lady replied that she was to go to her confessor, Father Jean Marie Aladel. "He is my servant." Father Aladel at first did not believe Catherine. However, after two years, he finally went to the archbishop of Paris, who ordered two thousand medals to be struck on June 20th, 1832. A terrible epidemic of cholera had broken out in Paris, claiming many lives. Medals were distributed to the sick in hospitals and they recovered. "This medal is miraculous" the people exclaimed. It was God, of course. Originally it was known as the medal of the Immaculate Conception, but so many cures and miracles were attributed to it that it soon became known as the Miraculous Medal.


Saint Catherine Labouré,
you were the chosen confidant of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
She revealed to you her desire that her children wear the Miraculous Medal
as a mark of their love for her
and in honour of her Immaculate Conception.

Intercede for us,
that we may follow our heavenly mother's desires.
Ask that we may receive those special graces
which flow from her motherly hands like rays of light.

The story of Catherine Labouré

Blessing and Investiture