Monday, November 01, 2010


Meekness is the virtue that enables one to overcome the tendencies of anger, revenge, hatred, and enmity. …meekness presupposes the virtue of charity or love of neighbor, which provides the motives and the means of overlooking insult, injustice, and injury, real or imaginary, from others. (1)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth,” announced our Lord in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:5)

“The meek are not those who are never at all angry, for such are insensible; but those who, feeling anger, control it, and are angry only when they ought to be. Meekness excludes revenge, irritability, morbid sensitiveness, and but not self-defence, or a quiet, and steady maintenance of right.” Theophylact, Archbishop of Acris in early 5th Century. (2)

“Meekness is love at school, at the school of Christ. It is the disciple learning to know, and fear, and distrust himself, and learning of him who is meek and lowly in heart, and so finding rest to his soul.” Reverend James Hamilton, British clergyman in 19th century. (3)


Feast Day: November 25
Patron of the Miraculous Medal

St. Catherine Laboure epitomizes the virtue of meekness.  She is known as the "Silent Saint." 
For over forty years, she lived a very quiet life in the convent, unknown as the one who promoted the Miraculous Medal.

She was born as Zoe Laboure May 2,1806 in Yonne, France to a middle class farming family.  When her mother died she was 9 years old.  She told Our Lady that she, Mary, was now her Mother.  She did not attend school, as she stayed to run the household for her father, as her older sister had entered the convent.  She could neither read or write, but she desired to also enter the convent.  Eventually she was able to do so at age 24 when she joined the Daughters of Charity in Paris.

Zoe had had a dream about a priest telling her that she would be tending the sick and elderly.  Was she surprised when she visited the convent of the Daughters of Charity and saw a portrait of this very same priest: St. Vincent de Paul.

She joined the Daughters of Charity and took the name Catherine.    Some have called her a visionary, as she did have visions of Our Lord, St. Vincent de Paul, and our Lady. 

"Shortly after she entered her new home, God was pleased to grant her several extraordinary visions. On three consecutive days she beheld 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." (4) 

"Shortly after she finished her training as a postulant, Sister Catherine received a special privilege. She began to see the Blessed Mother. One night, she was awakened from sleep. A 'shining child' led her to chapel. There Our Lady came to talk to her. The Blessed Mother, in another vision, showed herself standing on a globe with streams of light coming from her hands. Underneath were the words: 'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to thee!'  Sister Catherine was told that a medal was to be made of this picture of Our Lady. She was also told that all who wore it would receive many graces from Jesus through his mother's prayers. "  (5)

Catherine asked her confessor, Fr. Jean Marie Aladel, to assist her in making this wish of Our Lady happen.  Two years later, her confessor approached the Archbishop of Paris who had 2000 medals made and presented many to Catherine.  Then Catherine commented that the medal should be made known to the faithful and she distributed many.   Yet she kept all of these happenings in her heart and only revealed them to her confessor as requested by Our Lady.

She lived quietly with the other sisters taking a most unassuming place among them and caring for the aged and the infirm in a hospice as St. Vincent de Paul had predicted.  At the very end of her life, she did tell her Mother Superior  that she had been blessed by Our Lady to promulgate her wishes and create the Miraculous Medal which Our Lady had said would grant great graces to all who wore it. 

St. Catherine Laboure died on December 31, 1876.  Visitors to the chapel may still view her as her body had been exhumed in 1933 and her body was as if she had just died.

"Though she had lived seventy years and was in the grave for fifty-seven years, her eyes remained very blue and beautiful; and in death her arms and legs were as supple as if she were asleep. Her incorrupt body is encased in glass beneath the side altar at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, beneath one of the spots where our Lady appeared to her.

"In the Chapel of the Apparition you can gaze upon the face and the lips that for forty-six years kept a secret which has since shaken the world."  (6) 


O, Lord Jesus Christ, Who for the accomplishment of Thy greatest works hast chosen the weak things of the world, that no flesh may glory in Thy sight, and Who for a better and more widely diffused belief in the Immaculate Conception of Thy Mother, hast wished that the Miraculous Medal be manifested to Saint Catherine Laboure; grant, we beseech Thee, that filled with like humility, we may glorify this mystery by word and work.  Amen

(Miraculous Medal prayer) (7)


1. Catholic Treasures, pg.342.
2. The New Dictionary of Thoughts, Standard Book Co., 1960
3. op cit.
7. Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives  - Healing and Helping 4-58