The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal

More than one hundred years ago, the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal’s (CAMM) Founder Fr. Joseph Skelly, CM, declared, “[CAMM] came into being, we believe, through Mary’s inspiration. We feel certain that throughout every day of its existence thus far Mary’s guidance has led it, Mary’s protection has sheltered it, and Mary’s prayers have granted it growth and stability.”

These words still resonate today through the halls of CAMM. And throughout the building, located across the street from The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, there are images of Mary everywhere. Since its establishment on Thursday, March 25, 1915 (the Annunciation of the Blessed Mother), CAMM has faithfully upheld its primary mission to usher the faithful to “come to the foot of the altar” for Mary’s graces. And even though times, technology, and people have changed throughout the decades, CAMM’s mission is still as relevant today as it was nearly 110 years ago.


It all began with a young Vincentian priest, who was called to do the herculean task of fundraising for a new seminary to be built in Princeton, New Jersey. Even by today’s standards, this was an audacious undertaking. Devoted to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Fr. Skelly called on her assistance, and her response was overwhelming (read “Divine Composition”).

As a show of gratitude to Our Lady, Fr. Skelly, with the blessing of the Vincentian Priests and Brothers, established “an organization devoted to the spread and increase of devotion to Mary Immaculate by means of her Medal.” Christened the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal or CAMM, this organization was among Fr. Skelly’s crowning achievements: the first Marian organization in the United States dedicated to spreading devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

Fr. Skelly witnessed CAMM’s tremendous growth during his 48 years as CAMM spiritual director. Millions of people responded to his direct mail solicitations. By 1950, CAMM claimed the second largest mail volume in Philadelphia only to be surpassed by Sears, Roebuck and Co. The faithful’s devotion to Mary mixed with Fr. Skelly’s marketing savvy and engaging support created an extraordinary Marian legacy that remains relevant today.



In spreading devotion to the Blessed Mother, none of Fr. Skelly’s works outshone his building The Miraculous Medal Shrine in 1927, as the “Heart of the Central Association, as well as the heart of their love for the Miraculous Medal.” This Shrine is now called the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal since receiving minor basilica status in 2023.

But that was just the beginning.

The second mission Fr. Skelly ascribed to CAMM at its inception was to financially support the formation of young men for the Vincentian priesthood. In fulfilling this mission, Fr. Skelly proved himself equally adept.

In funding the education and formation of Vincentian seminarians of the Eastern Province, he helped oversee the construction of four seminaries: St. Joseph’s College, Princeton, New Jersey (1914); Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pennsylvania (1937); St. Vincent de Paul Novitiate, Ridgefield, Connecticut (1954); and St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida (1963).

Spreading Devotion to Mary and financially helping to support the formation of seminarians remain one of the cornerstones of CAMM.

CAMM’s current CEO, Mary Jo Timlin-Hoag, recalls her years as a graduate student when one of her professors noted that “… a company’s mission statement is its public-facing language, which tells the world who you are and what you stand for.”

Fr. Michael Carroll, CM, once summed up “what CAMM is” as “promoting the revelations presented to us by Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and St. Catherine Labouré.” He added, “CAMM also assists the Vincentian community in telling the Province’s story of who the Vincentians are, what their mission is in the Church, and where and who they serve.”

Additionally, CAMM helps support finances for the apostolic works of the Eastern Province in their charity and service for the poor and marginalized in myriad communities, including Panama.


As a man of vision, strategy, and modern-day entrepreneurship, Fr. Skelly created and established numerous vehicles for CAMM to promulgate devotion to Mary. In May 1928, he published the first issue of the Miraculous Medal Magazine, introducing it as “the Organ of the Association, in order to bind by closer ties all workers for the cause of Mary Immaculate.”

Years later came the establishment of the Miraculous Medal Art Museum. It started as a natural outpouring of love for Mary. Mary’s devotees gave Fr. Skelly and the Vincentians their Marian artwork as donations, and soon Fr. Skelly had amassed a large collection of original and rare pieces. As a result, he formed an art advisory commission, whose sole purpose was to guide and direct the housing and funding of the collection. Today, the museum contains hundreds of Marian paintings and sculptures from different times—all of which pay homage to Our Lady. As Skelly stated, “The Miraculous Medal Art Museum has been opened by the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal with one object: to make Our Lady better known and loved.”

Historically, CAMM has been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Basilica Shrine, preserving it as a monument of beauty to Mary and an architectural masterpiece. As a historical building, this requires constant and costly repairs and renovations: restoring interior and exterior artwork and murals; providing air conditioning; updating technology for our livestreams (our Monday Perpetual Novena and Mass, as well as special feast days); repairing elevators; revitalizing and refitting the organ and carillon bells; making roof improvements and repairs; and expanding cultural Marian shrines.


To sustain CAMM and its mission to support the Shrine and the Vincentians, Fr. Skelly instituted a fee-based membership program.

This program remains a significant part of CAMM’s financial resources, which relies on the enrollment of living or deceased members. In Fr. Skelly’s time, this was done by “promoters,” who paid an annual fee of 25 cents for each person they enrolled. Today, we no longer have “promoters,” but we still rely on the generosity of people who enroll themselves, as well as friends and family members, to Mary’s Miraculous Medal Family. Each person enrolled shares in Masses offered by the Vincentians during the year. Members also receive a Miraculous Medal, a magazine subscription, a membership card, and a membership booklet.

Timlin-Hoag acknowledges that supporting the spiritual mission of CAMM through solid business practices will ensure CAMM’s success for another 110 years. “The Vincentians do a brilliant job supporting the spiritual side,” explains Timlin-Hoag, “but we constantly address, ‘How can CAMM move the mission forward?’ We are always asking, ‘How can we ensure the message of Mary and the Miraculous Medal is spread far and wide? How do we engage youth and young adults in this message?’”

The answer is simple: deliver solid messaging through aligned initiatives, events, and programs. To help engage new and future communities of Catholics in learning about Mary and her Miraculous Medal, we’ve established our Beyond Sunday® program; organized events for community engagement; collaborated with cultural faith communities to build “mini” shrines; and expanded our communications strategies.



Fr. Skelly acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the CAMM staff at his Golden Jubilee as a Vincentian Priest in 1965. “No recital of the Association would be complete without … those loyal employees who have tirelessly aided me in looking after the tremendous amount of clerical detail…” Timlin-Hoag echoes these sentiments. “Our mission is only as good as how well our CAMM family brings it to life.”

Over the past hundred years, staff members have come and gone, processes have changed, and technology has advanced. The overall operational structure has changed, as well.

“CAMM’s reorganization was driven by the diminishing number of vocations, as well as the many changes that technology had introduced to communications and business practices,” explained Fr. Carroll. The result was the creation of two jobs from one: the Executive Director of CAMM, who became the CEO of CAMM, and the establishment of a spiritual director of CAMM, who provides guidance to employees in their faith journey.

Timlin-Hoag is the first female to hold the Executive Director and CEO titles at CAMM; she has also reorganized the operational structure to one of department teams. In today’s economy, CAMM leadership knew this transformational shift needed to occur.

Today, CAMM consists of several departments: operations of requests and orders; institutional advancement; marketing and communications; the Gift ShopBeyond Sunday; and finance.


While the structural organization and outreach to current and future faithful have changed, Timlin-Hoag acknowledges how CAMM’s standards and ethical values remain true to Fr. Skelly’s mission. Indeed, CAMM’s progress isn’t possible without that.

Fr. Carroll believes CAMM will always be faithful to Fr. Skelly’s vision. “Fr. Skelly gave his life to tell others about Mary’s great gift in the Miraculous Medal,” he says. “He is smiling as that mission is continuing.”