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1909 Society Information


   "...my most beloved Mother, who protected me from my mother's womb, and to whom I owe the greatest graces I have received, especially the grace of my vocation."

Rev. Jean Joseph Marie Aboulin,
Founding Donor - Giving thanks for the graces of his life.

   The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is an inspiring monument to the faith and devotion of Catholics everywhere. Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, it occupies a special place in the hearts of all who have made pilgrimages here, all who have made contributions, and all who have faithfully sent us their fervent prayers and special intentions. But Mary’s Shrine also stands as a testament to the lasting vision and remarkable generosity of one man and what he did for the National Shrine 100 years ago.

   We would like to introduce you to Abbé Aboulin — and invite you to join the honor society that commemorates the 100th anniversary of his founding gift. 

   He was born Jean Joseph Marie Aboulin, in St. Alban-en-Montagne, France. Ordained at age 27, he shortly thereafter moved to America. Although small of stature, to the poor parishioners he cared for devotedly he was a giant of a man, a man in whom God’s great love shone constantly.

   Today we remember this gentle soul for many reasons. He occupies a very special place in the history of the National Shrine. In 1909 he made a personal gift of $1,000 toward its construction — the first practical step toward fulfilling this glorious dream of a National Shrine.

Jean Joseph Marie Aboulin

   In honor of Abbé Aboulin and his generous founding gift, we have recently instituted the 1909 Society: an extraordinary circle of our most dedicated benefactors … friends whose dedication to this National Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a reflection of Abbé Aboulin’s vision, love and commitment.

   The 1909 Society provides deserved recognition to those dedicated friends in whom the founding spirit of Abbé Aboulin still shines. And it honors those, like you, who understand that — while to the solace-seeking pilgrims who visit the Shrine each day to pray their quiet devotions to our Blessed Mother, the Shrine may seem “complete” — in reality our work here will never be done. 

   In the time since Abbé Aboulin’s first gift, tens of thousands of Catholics, from seniors to schoolchildren, and from every state of the union, have followed his example by sending what they could. That is because, from Abbé Aboulin’s time to the present, friends like you have reached out to ensure that the National Shrine is, and will continue to be, here to serve those who need it.  With your decision to join the 1909 Society, you help to provide the resources needed to maintain the Shrine throughout the year, and in perpetuity, in loving and everlasting tribute to Mary Immaculate.

   The reason for your gift, ultimately, is not found in any words we can write. Instead, it is found in the experience of the pilgrims who come here, sometimes from thousands of miles, to pray.

   They come, often with heavy hearts and spirits, seeking comfort and intercession.  They pray quietly, sometimes for hours.  They experience the Masses, confessions and Rosary recitations that are celebrated here every day of the year.  And they leave with their spirits lifted, to share their grace and spread God’s word everywhere they go.

   We believe that this is the experience Abbé Aboulin sought for all Catholics when he made his inaugural gift 100 years ago. Abbé Aboulin believed deeply in the promise of America, and in the future of the National Shrine.  Today, please help us keep his vision alive by accepting our invitation to join the 1909 Society with a gift of $1,000 or more.

   May the Lord be with you, and may the love and care of Mary Immaculate fill your spirit with hope and your heart with happiness for all your days.  Thank you and God bless you for all your past support, and thank you for making a gift to the National Shrine today.

   To become a new member of the 1909 Society,
please CLICK HERE.

To renew your membership, please CLICK HERE

   For more information regarding the 1909 Society please contact Mr. Lindy Bowman, Director of Development, at 202-281-0617 or email us at webdevelopment@bnsic.org.  Thank you.


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