MARY APPEARS TO SAINT CATHERINE LABOURÉ
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 see the mother of God with her own eyes.
She was convinced that she would see the Blessed Virgin Mary that very night. In her conviction, Catherine fell asleep. Before long, a brilliant light and the voice of a child awakened her. "Sister Labouré, come to the Chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you."
Catherine replied: "We shall be discovered."
The little child 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, 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 ask 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 like a fading shadow 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 in the morning.
Catherine lived the normal life of a novice of the Daughters of Charity until Advent. On Saturday, November 27, 1830, at 5:30 p.m., she retired to the Chapel with the other Sisters for evening meditation. Catherine heard the faint swish of silk... she recognized our Lady's signal. Raising her eyes to the main altar, she saw her beautiful Lady standing on a large globe.
The Virgin Spoke, this time giving a direct order: "Have a Medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; they should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence."
Catherine asked how she was to have the medal struck. Mary replied that she was to go to her confessor, a Father Jean Marie Aladel saying of this saintly priest: "He is my servant." Father Aladel at first did not believe Catherine; however, after two years, he finally went to the archbishop who ordered two thousand medals struck on June 20, 1832. When Catherine received her share of these first medals from the hands of the priest she said: "Now it must be propagated."
The spread of a devotion to the medal urged by Saint Catherine was carried out so swiftly that it was miraculous itself.
~from the Association of the Miraculous Medal