An Open Letter to St. Catherine Laboure

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Sister Laboure,
I'm pretty sure you know who I am. Did St. Vincent, that same old man that appeared in your dreams so long ago, tell you? I'm sure he did (or the He with a capital "H" did), but in case you don't know, I'm a prepostulant with your own community, the one you loved, the Daughters of Charity. Things have changed a bit here but not as much as you might think for 135 years after your death. We don't wear the cornette anymore but we remain 110% dedicated to the mission of serving Christ in the poor and to a life of prayer and service.

How blessed the Daughters of Charity are as a community to count you among their ranks. How great is it to be part of a community that so easily combines the audacious (like Bl Rosalie Rendu) with the quiet (like you) and has saints to prove it! You were blessed enough to even hear the Virgin Mary say that she loved our community!

Your dear Miraculous Medal has reached all around the world. I'm sorry you couldn't keep your identity hidden like you wanted. Someone blabbed (as we humans tend to do) I don't know how you feel about it now, but I think that's truly for the better. How then would we know that the Blessed Mother appeared to a simple Sister, who had done nothing extraordinary in this world? How then would we know who to pray for help in creating a deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother?

On that same line, I'm sorry too that the work you did to serve the poor is rarely recognized. You were an example of the balance of prayer and contemplation with simple apostolic work - exactly what a Daughter of Charity should be. After all, you were only a novice when you had the visions - not even close to taking your vows! You dedicated the rest of the life to spread the Miraculous Medal around the world. But sadly, your work with the poor becomes forgotten in the grandeur that is your visions of the Blessed Mother. In that, I ask your help. Pray for me that I may create a balance between prayer and work, that I may never forget one in lieu of the other. Was this hard for you to do or is it just me?

What advice would you have to give for someone just entering the community? I know I asked St Vincent the same thing but we should all ask for help sometimes, right? What's the it all about balance? joy? hope? devotion? Or am I right in thinking that it's all of those things combined, along with the realization that it's not actually a recipe for perfection but to be a good Daughter of Charity? (Now there's something I really need to work on.)

Please pray for me (most especially tomorrow, though) that I may learn to become the best Daughter of Charity I could possibly be. I'm not you...and I mean that in the best possible are amazing but please pray for me that I may realize that I just need to be who I am and reach for sanctity that way, just as you did. Be there with me and guide me if you can as I discover who I am.

In love of the Blessed Virgin,

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