Mary Virginia Merrick is a native of Washington, DC, founder of the National Christ Child Society and a candidate for canonization in the Catholic Church. Despite becoming paralyzed following a fall while a teenager, she transformed and inspired thousands of people through her deep love for the Christ Child and her Catholic faith. Learn more ...
Hundreds of Christ Child Society volunteers across the United States are participating in “Layettes of Love” on Oct. 22, in celebration of the 150th birthday of their founder, Servant of God Mary Virginia Merrick. Layettes of Love is part of Make a Difference Day (#MDDAY), the nation’s single largest day of community service.
Despite paralysis following a fall as a teenager, Mary Virginia Merrick dedicated her life to helping low-income children and made her first layette in 1884. That led to the launch of the National Christ Child Society in 1887, many programs for children nationwide and the opening of her cause for canonization. Carrying on her legacy, Christ Child volunteers assemble over 22,000 annually in addition to other projects designed to meet the needs of their local communities.
Every layette, or baby “welcome” kit, includes items such as blankets, clothing (often homemade), diapers, toiletries and baby books. Layettes are distributed within a chapter’s local community.
The Christ Child chapters are being creative in this volunteer challenge: assembling layettes, knitting and sewing baby clothes. and holding a craft fair to raise money for layettes.
Three chapters in the Diocese of Cleveland are collecting items for layettes and assembling them. In Albany, NY, the Christ Child volunteers are partnering with Brownie and Daisy troops to make layettes, and in Pasadena, CA, members and other volunteers will sew, knit and crochet baby items and assemble layettes. (A full list follows)
“Each layette not only provides a new mom and baby with beautiful things they need, but also lets them know that they are loved and supported,” said Carol Pickle, national event coordinator.
“We are excited about this initiative,” she said, “The Christ Child Society traces its roots to 1884 when our founder, Mary Virginia Merrick, made the first layette for a needy infant in Washington, DC. This simple act of charity has remained the inspiration for our 44 chapters across the United States. As we celebrate ‘Miss Mary’s’ 150th birthday this fall, Make a Difference Day seemed a perfect opportunity to honor her legacy by working together nationally to make a difference locally.”
In addition to the layette program, Christ Child volunteers provide programs based on local need such as reading enrichment, tutoring, counseling in Catholic schools, clothing distribution, summer camps and more.
About the National Christ Child Society - nationalchristchildsociety.org and @nationalchristchildsociety (Facebook)
The National Christ Child Society was founded by Mary Virginia Merrick in Washington, DC, in 1887, to serve children in need. Today, 6,000 volunteers in 44 chapters across the United States continue her legacy of service to children in need. Merrick is a “Servant of God” in the Catholic Church, in recognition of a life of faith and charity inspired by her love for the Christ Child. Her 150th birthday is Nov. 2, 2016. Learn more: www.maryvirginiamerrick.org and @maryvirginiamerrick (Facebook).
About Make a Difference Day - www.makeadifferenceday.com
Make a Difference Day is the largest single-day of volunteering in the country. Held annually for 25 years, it was started by the Points of Light Foundation and currently is sponsored by TEGNA.
LAYETTES OF LOVE – LOCAL EVENTS
|Phoenix||AZ||Layette workshop||Oct. 22||9 a.m.-12 noon||Mt. Claret Retreat Center, 4633 N. 54th St., Phoenix, AZ 85018|
|Tucson||AZ||Collecting layette items and donations||Oct. 22||2 p.m.-5:30 p.m.||Our Lady of the Desert Church, 7101 W. Picture Rocks Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743|
|Pasadena||CA||Knitting, crocheting, looming, sewing; layette assembly; book donations||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-4 p.m.||Mayfield Senior School, 500 Bellefontaine St., Pasadena, CA 91105|
|Denver||CO||Layette handmade workshop||Oct. 22||1 p.m.-4 p.m.||private home|
|Washington||DC||Diaper drive (children making posters)||Oct. 22||at Masses||multiple parish locations|
|Boca Raton||FL||Assemble layettes and take donations||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-2 p.m.||St. Jude Church, 21689 Toledo Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33433|
|Stuart||FL||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-12 noon||St. Christopher Church, 12001 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL 33455|
|Quad Cities||IL||sewing and crafts||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-3 p.m.||2600 31st Ave., Rock Island, IL 61201|
|Baltimore||MD||Community Giving Day with Charlesbrooke community (items collected Oct. 10)||Oct. 22||pending||pending|
|Northern Michigan||MI||Layette assembly||Oct. 22||9 a.m.-2 p.m.||Birchwood Farms, 600 Birchwood Dr., Harbor Springs, MI 49740|
|Summit||NJ||Assemble and make hats||Oct. 22||8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.||St. Teresa, 396 Morris Ave., Summit, NJ 07901|
|Albany||NY||Assemble layettes and accept donations with the Hillside Daisy and Brownie troops||Oct. 22||1 p.m.-3 p.m.||St. Madeleine Sophie Parish Hall, 3500 Carmen Rd., Schenectady, NY 12303|
|Akron||OH||Trunk or Treat - layette donations||Oct. 22||1 p.m.-3 p.m.||First United Methodist (parking lot), 263 E. Mill St., Akron, OH 44308|
|Cleveland||OH||Layette donations and assembly||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.||Parmdale, Cottage 14, 6753 State Rd., Parma, OH 44134|
|Columbus||OH||Knitting/crocheting tutorial and blanket sewing||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-12 noon||St. Timothy, rectory (lower level), 1088 Thomas Lane, Columbus, OH 43220|
|Western Reserve||OH||Collecting layette items and donations||Oct. 22||9 a.m.-3 p.m.||St. John Vianney Church, Philomena Room, 7575 Bellflower Rd., Mentor, OH 44060|
|Pittsburgh||PA||Coat distribution from the Angel's Closet||Oct. 22||pending||pending|
|El Paso||TX||Deliver layettes||Oct. 22||pending||William Beaumont Army Hospital|
|Texas Capital||TX||Information, learning centers and brunch||Oct. 22||10 a.m.-12 noon||Lake Aire Center Community Rooms
2425 Williams Drive #101, Georgetown, TX
|Fon du Lac||WI||Craft fair||Oct. 22||12 noon-3 p.m.||Woodlands Senior Park, 87 Wisconsin-American Dr., Fond du Lac, WI 54937|
|Milwaukee||WI||Style show from resale shop & will present layettes to foster parents||Oct. 22||10:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m.||Wisconsin Club, 6200 West Good Hope Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53223|
|Oshkosh||WI||Layette handmade workshop||Oct. 22||9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.||St. Raphael Church, 830 S. Westhaven Dr., Oshkosh, WI 54904|
|Alternate date activities|
|Atlanta||GA||Assemble layettes||Oct. 25||pending|
|Boston||MA||Assemble layettes||Oct. 23||6 p.m.-8 p.m.||Sacred Heart Parish, 1321 Centre St., Newton, MA 02459|
|Cape May||NJ||Annual baby shower||Mid-Oct|
|Door County||WI||Make burp cloths for layettes||Oct. 31||St. Peter & Paul School, 4767 Dunn Rd., Strugeon Bay, WI 54235|
|Omaha||NE||Layette assembly with local high school||Mid-Oct||completed|
|South Bend||IN||Layette assembly||Mid-Oct||completed|
You can help Mary Virginia Merrick become a saint by praying for her intercession. Two miracles must be attributed to a person's intercession, one for beatification and one for canonization. Learn about the intercessory prayer guidelines and download a prayer card. These are in addition to a full investigation into how the person lived a "heroic, virtuous life."