Saint Catherine Labouré was born in France on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth of 11 children. Upon her mother’s death, when Catherine was eight years old, the young girl assumed the responsibilities of the household. It was said of her that she was a very quiet and practical child.
Eventually she became a Daughter of Charity, and when she was still a novice at the age of 24, the Virgin Mary appeared to her for the first time. Later, Mary appeared once again and requested that Catherine have a medal made portraying Mary just as she appeared.
It took two years before Catherine was able to convince her spiritual director to have the medal created, but eventually, he listened to her and 2,000 medals were made. Their dispersal was so rapid and effective that it was said to be miraculous itself.
After the visions ceased, St. Catherine Labouré spent the rest of her life in humble and obedient service as the portress, and worked with the sick in a convent outside of Paris. She spent that time in silence, not telling her superior that she was the one to whom Mary appeared and gave the medal until 45 years after.
She died in Paris on December 31, 1876 and was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Her incorrupt body lies in the crypt of the convent.