St. Catherine Laboure
Feast Day – November 25
Originator of the Miraculous Medal
At the age of 24, St. Catherine Laboure became a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. One night, when Catherine was still a novice, the Blessed Mother appeared to her in the convent chapel. The blessed Mother showed herself standing on a globe with streams of light coming from her hands. Under the globe were the words, “Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you!”
Sister Catherine was told that a medal was to be made of this picture of our Lady and that people who wore the medal would receive many graces from Jesus through His Mother’s prayers. Soon, because of all the wonderful graces obtained by those who wore the medal, it was called “Miraculous.”
Sacramentals: Another Means of Grace. The Catholic Church teaches that only God can perform a true miracle. But we also know that God can act either directly or through secondary agents, like people. God sometimes even performs miracles through inanimate objects in order to show the intercessory power of a particular saint. A man came back to life when he contacted the bones of the holy prophet Elisha (2 Kings 13:20-21). God performed miraculous cures through Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16) and through handkerchiefs that had touched St. Paul (Acts 19:11-12), showing the great intercessory power of St. Peter and St. Paul. Medals of our Lady and relics of saints have no power to cause miracles in themselves. Rather, God performs miracles through these medals and relics to show the great intercessory power of Mary and the saints.
Sacramentals must be treated with respect. For example, the Miraculous Medal should be worn with devotion. We are not obliged to use sacramentals and they are not necessary for salvation but the prayers, pious objects and sacred signs of the Church are aids to salvation. We should appreciate this extra help and use them with faith and not as objects of superstition. We must remember that they are useless of themselves. It is God who gives them their power.
WHERE TO LEARN MORE:
There are many books and videos available on the saints. Also, there is a lot of information on the Internet, try http://www.marys-touch.com/Saints/medal/medal/htm for a very good story about St. Catherine and the Miraculous Medal.
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