The story of Saint Catherine Laboure
Saint Catherine personally worked no miracles, nor did she practice externally heroic charity like other great saints. She sprang from upper middle class parents among the meadows and vineyards of Burgundy, France. Her father was an educated man and an excellent farmer living in the village of Fain-les-Moutiers not far from DiJon. Her sanctity consists in half a century of faithful service as a simple Daughter of Charity.
Catherine was born of Peter and Louise Laboure on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth child of a family of eleven. The day after her birth she was baptized on the feast of the Finding of The True Cross. Even the feast of Catherine's baptism was prophetic, because Catherine was to find the cross in every turn of her life, and to have deep devotion for it, and to see a mysterious vision of the cross. When Catherine was nine years old, her saintly mother died. After the burial service, little Catherine went to her room, stood on a chair, 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., walked several miles to church in order to assist at Mass, and to pray.
One day she had a dream in which she saw an old priest say Mass. After Mass, the priest turned and beckoned her with his finger, but she drew backwards, keeping her eye on him.
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, Catherine noticed a priest's picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he was, and was told: "Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul." This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream.
In January of 1830, Catherine Laboure became a postulant in the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Catillon-sur-Seine. Three months later she was again in Paris, this time to enter the Seminary at the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity. Shortly after she entered her new home, God was pleased to grant her several extraordinary visions. On three consecutive days she saw the heart of Saint Vincent above the reliquary in which his relics were exposed, each time under a different aspect. At other times she beheld our divine Lord in front of the Blessed Sacrament; this would occur especially during Mass when he would appear as he was described in the liturgy of the day.
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...