For Today and TomorrowJamie Trueblood
Bert Ronan has never been to The Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia. After all, he lives 500 miles away in Ontario, Canada, where he attends St. James Church in Colgan. He learned about the Shrine and its overseeing body, The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal (CAMM), through a mailing and was moved with how we share the graces of the Miraculous Medal with the world.
Ronan knew then that he wanted to do something big, so he donated 7,000 copies of the book, The Story of St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal: A Message for Today and Tomorrow, to CAMM. When asked why he donated the books to an organization so far from his home, he says, “We distribute the books here where I live, but the Miraculous Medal is a devotion that should be spread as far as possible, especially to younger people.”
Ronan wanted the books to be distributed free of charge and promised that when those initial 7,000 copies were dispersed, he’d send more. True to his word, Ronan sent additional copies after the initial stockpile was empty. To date, CAMM is on its second batch of donated books, and has estimated to have given out approximately 10,000 copies.
“I knew if I just contacted the right people, they’d get the word out about the Miraculous Medal,” Ronan says.
CAMM gives copies to adults and students who visit the Shrine (both individuals and groups), and the books are often mailed around the country to donors who want to become more familiar with the Miraculous Medal story. CAMM also sends them to schools that request information on the Miraculous Medal.
For example, on October 4, approximately 1,000 students at Our Lady of Calvary Catholic grade school in Philadelphia received a large Miraculous Medal on a keychain ring, which was affixed to the zipper of their book bags. While all students carry book bags, these students are now carrying the blessings of Our Lady and her Miraculous Medal, as well.
But before placing the Miraculous Medals on their bags, the second- through eighth- grade students brought them to Mass, where after a homily about St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal, they prayed a consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and had them blessed. One of the parish priests visited the students in kindergarten and first grade, where he led them in prayer and blessed their medals.
What’s more, thanks to the generosity of Ronan, CAMM gave each student one of the Miraculous Medal books he donated.
In Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Fred Quattrone teaches religious education (PREP) at his parish. When he teaches students preparing for confirmation about St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal, he gives them copies of the books Ronan donated to CAMM.
From Ontario, to Philadelphia, to Cherry Hill, and all around the nation, Ronan’s generosity helps perpetuate devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and the great graces bestowed on all who seek her intercession.