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A Pennsylvania Charitable Trust
The Early Years of Saint Catherine Labouré
Based on the book "A Light Shining on the Earth" for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Catherine Labouré - 1947-1997
Born on May 2,
1806, in the town of Fain-les-Moutiers, Burgundy, France, Catherine was
the eight child of her family. Her mother worn out by seventeen pregnancies
(with ten surviving children), and the rigors of farm life, died prematurely
on October 9, 1815. Catherine grew up in a family in which prayer was
a part of daily life.
|After his wife's burial, Pierre Labouré agreed to his sister's suggestion that she care for his two youngest children Catherine (age 9) and Tonine (age 7). The two girls went to live with their cousins at Saint Rémy, a village which was 9 kilometers from their home. Marie-Louise, the eldest daughter, took over her mother's place in running the family and the farm.|
|After two years, Mr. Labouré, who missed his two daughters, arranged for their return. The children were thrilled to be home. Catherine in particular was overjoyed to be reunited with her father. She also developed a close bond with her little brother Auguste, (age 9) who has been disabled in a carriage accident. Her chores included taking care of the farm's 600 doves.|
|Marie-Louise taught her younger sister to work in the stable, the garden, how to clean the house, and how to cook. Catherine learned diligently all these tasks. When Marie-Louise announced that she was going to fulfill her dream of entering the Order of the Daughter of Charity, it is said that Catherine told Tonine: "The two of us will run the house."|
into the new family responsibilities. The first to rise, she carefully
attended to all her shores. She cooked, took care of the cows, collected
eggs, made bread, took care of the doves, and did the wash.
night, Catherine had a dream. In her church's village an elderly priest
was saying mass. The priest gazed at Catherine and said to her:
"My daughter, you may flee me now, but one day you will to come to me. Do not forget that God has plans for you."
Several years later when Catherine visited the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine, she noticed a painting on the parlor wall. She was choked to recognize the priest in the painting as the priest her dream. She asked, "Who is this priest?" A sister told her that it was Saint Vincent de Paul.
When she was eighteen,
Catherine finally received her father permission to go to Chatillon to
live with a cousin who ran a little school. She wanted to learn how to
read and to write. These were the prerequisites for Daughters of Charity.
The other young women looked down on Catherine because of her country
ways. She lost her confidence and returned to the family farm. She had
only learned to read and write a few words.
Labouré knew that since his daughter had his temperament, it would
be difficult to change her mind. He therefore tried another approach.
Catherine was sent to Paris to help her brother Charles run his small
restaurant. Charles's wife had died, and he was in need of assistance.
Catherine, who was always uncomfortable around the city girls, spent more and more time with the local Daughters of Charity. Hubert spoke to his father on his sister's behalf Pierre Labouré finally gave in before the un-mistaken signs that this daughter had a vocation. On January 1830, Catherine began her postulancy at Chatillon.