Don Fulford Looks Back on 10 Years at the Association of the Miraculous Medal
If you have traveled south from St. Louis on Interstate 55, you have seen the billboard for the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. If you have been to the Shrine and grounds in Perryville, MO, you have seen the beautiful church, the grotto, and the Rosary Walk.
You have likely not seen the inside of the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM) offices in Perryville, where a staff of dedicated individuals offers kindness, encouragement, prayers, and more for hundreds of thousands of AMM members around the world: writing letters and emails, taking phone calls, offering an ear to those who are in pain, praying with them, sending out millions of Miraculous Medals, and much more.
AMM, an apostolate of the Congregation of the Mission Western Province, was founded 105 years ago this May by the Vincentians at St. Mary’s of the Barrens. Its mission is to “promote devotion to the Miraculous Medal and to support the Vincentians and their work and mission.” The medal itself dates back to when the Blessed Mother visited St. Catherine Laboure, a Daughter of Charity in 19th century France, and directed her to create and distribute the medals as a sign of hope, a light in hard times.
Don Fulford, President and CEO of AMM, has been in his role for 10 years, before which he led Feeding America. He said with his career of working for organizations that serve the poor, the job was a natural fit for him. He admits that when he arrived AMM was in need of reorganization.
“I noticed that the relationship with the Vincentian priests and brothers needed to be strengthened,” he said, “and I saw as an organization, we were struggling with who we were.”
At that time, AMM had 42 employees, and today, that number is more than 70 and AMM stands as one of the largest religious organizations in the country and is serving more people than ever before. The phone team takes more than 50,000 calls a year, an equal number visit the grounds, and AMM distributes more than 3 million medals annually, along with cards, rosaries, and other religious items, an amazing amount considering the small number that St. Catherine started with.
“The power of what Mary did with St. Catherine Laboure as part of the Vincentian charism was to provide this reminder of people’s faith even in the darkest of times,” Don said. “To be a small part of that legacy inspires everybody in this office.”
For more information about AMM, visit www.AMM.org.