An incredible test of faith paid off for one Maryland woman who decided to trust her life's savings to the Virgin Mary. When the woman was unexpectedly called out of town recently, she did not want to leave her rare coin collection in her house.
The unnamed woman made the unusual decision to hide her prized coin collection at the grotto on the campus of Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md., under fallen leaves near the statue of the Virgin Mary. She decided that the virgin Mary offered better security than a Wiser deadbolt.
A Mount Saint Mary's University press release quotes shrine director Bill Tronolone, “The owner just wanted to a safe place to keep her life savings while she left town and in her thinking, what better place than the Grotto, right next to the statue of Mary."
NBC Washington reports, "The woman later told church official that she didn't know where to leave the coins other than in Mary's care."
The grotto may be protected from thievery and malfeasance but the unnamed woman did not account for the diligence of a groundskeeper.
Shrine director Bill Tronolone told News4 what happened: "He was cleaning this area out and he took his rake to rake down some of the leaves and the bags fell, boom right to him.... He says Bill, I found two bags of coin and I look at them and they're all gold and silver." The Catholic Review reports that the Frederick County Sheriff's Department was informed of the find.
On November 16 the woman returned from her trip only to discover that the bags of coins were missing. She approached Tronolone and he was able to return the stash, valued at $40,000 U.S., to its rightful owner.
Mount St. Mary's University
The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary's University in in Emmitsburg, Md. is the oldest known replica of the revered French shrine, dating to about 1875 (the original Lourdes apparitions were in 1858). The Grotto has been in use since 1805 when Fr. John Dubois founded it as a place of prayer and devotion. It was here that a groundskeeper found two bags of rare gold and silver coins valued at $40,000 U.S.