The recipient of the revelation of the miraculous medal, Zoé Labouré was born on May 2, 1806, in Fain-les-Moutiers, France. She joined the Sisters of Charity in 1830 and took the name Catherine. Although she died at seventy, on December 31, 1876, she never learned to read or write. A few days after her arrival at the convent on the Rue du Bac in Paris, where she was sent after her postulancy, St. Catherine had the first of her visions.
During the night of July 18, 1830, she was awakened and led to the chapel, where Our Lady appeared to her and spoke to her for more than two hours. On November 27 of that same year, Our Lady appeared in the form of a picture which portrayed her standing on a globe, with rays of light coming from her hands, the whole surrounded by the words, O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. The picture then turned around, revealing an M surmounted by two intertwined hearts and a cross. St. Catherine seemed to hear a voice telling her to have a medal struck in this design and that all who wore it would have the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Visions continued to appear on several occasions until September, 1831.
St. Catherine related all the details to her confessor, Father Aladel. After careful investigation, he asked Archbishop de Quelen of Paris for permission to have the medal struck. This is now the well-known miraculous medal. The word miraculous does not refer to the effects of its use, but to the manner of its revelation.
St. Catherine continued to live her humble life, performing her duties as portress in the convent of Enghien-Reuilly, her secret unknown to her fellow religious. Eight months before her death, she related some of her experiences to her superior. Sister Dufès. St. Catherine”s feast day is November 28.
(From Butler”s Lives of the Saints)