Washington archdiocese nominates its first saint, a charity founder

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2003

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) Mary Virginia Merrick, who founded the Bethesda-based Christ Child Society to help needy and emotionally disturbed children, is the first person nominated for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Merrick, who died in 1955 at the age of 89, founded the society in 1887 and in 1913 added a pioneering outreach to black children.

She suffered most of her life from a painful spinal disease that left her unable to walk or hold up her head.

The society, now with 7,000 volunteers in 35 chapters, runs summer camps and helps children with health care, housing and clothing.

The Vatican approved a request from Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to open an investigation into the case for Merrick's canonization. Merrick is one of 37 people with connections to the United States under consideration for sainthood.


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