St Catherine Labouré (1806-1876)

Feast Day: 28th November

Patron Saint of the Elderly

Saint Catherine Labouré was born in France in 1806 and belonged to the Daughters of Charity, an active order dedicated to caring for the sick and vulnerable. She is most famous for being favoured with the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin through which the gift of the Miraculous medal was given to the world. However, she is a wonderful example to us as healthcare professionals, not so much because of the apparitions but because she spent the next 40 years of her life, until her death, nursing in an elderly care home. The fact that she was the Sister of the apparitions remained a secret known only to her confessor and thus she was able to stay out of the public eye and to continue with her vocation of nursing the sick and vulnerable.

It was a pious practice of the Daughters of Charity to take Christ’s hidden life in Nazareth as a model for their own because in the carpenter’s son: Jesus, they could find the strength to continue with their often humble duties. May the example of St Catherine Labouré, help us to persevere with those aspects of our vocations that may seem mundane and can sometimes become monotonous, so that each day we may carry them out with renewed strength and willingness. Whether it be gently helping a patient to wash, comforting a distressed relative, or diligently doing your drug round; try to remember that in faithfully carrying out these simple, humble, everyday tasks we too are fulfilling the divine plan.

St Catherine Labouré, pray for us!

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you!

– written by a young nurse practicing in the UK