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The National Christ Child Society is a charitable federation of 40 chapters in 17 states whose 7,000 members nationwide are dedicated to serving at-risk children regardless of race or creed. The first chapter was founded by Mary Virginia Merrick in 1887 in Washington, D.C., and today the local chapters keep her vision alive by donating their time, talents, and resources to the needy children in their own community. The Christ Child Society’s signature program is baby layettes. These donations of newborn clothing and supplies are assembled and distributed to needy mothers in the communities of every chapter of the Christ Child Society.

Mary Virginia Merrick, founder of the National Christ Child Society, was declared a Servant of God in 2003, 137 years after her birth in Washington, DC and 48 years after her death.

Over 125 years ago, a young woman's act of love for an unborn child started what has grown to a national organization dedicated to serving children in need: the Christ Child Society.

Born on November 2, 1866, the second of eight children of Richard and Nannie Merrick, Mary Virginia Merrick could have been expected to follow the usual path of a female child of a well-to-do Washington family. Mary's father was a prominent attorney who was descended from the Calverts of Maryland and other prominent Maryland families and the family lived comfortably at a home in Washington, DC.

Life for this child of privilege changed forever when she was a young teenager. A fall led to lifelong paralysis. Unable to sit without support, Mary spent the rest of her life in a reclining position or in a wheel chair.

Despite her constant pain, and the loss of her parents at age 17, she dedicated her life to service for others. Mary's sincere and simple love of God inspired her to answer the desperate social needs she recognized in Washington.

Visit the website for more information on the Cause for Cannonization





“Remember in this sacrifice of

Your own and only Child 

all children everywhere throughout the world 

and grant that like Your Son,

as they increase in years, 

they may grow in grace and wisdom before You,

 and in the sight of men,

for the improvement and saving the world. 

O Jesus, the friend of little children,

bless the little children of the whole world.” 



Mary Virginia Merrick, 

Founder, National Christ Child Society 

Beatified in 2011

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