About Saint Catherines Metalworks
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is Van Peplin, and I make each Miraculous Medal from Saint
Catherines Metalworks by hand. I purchase the metal, place it in a
die, and coin it with my own hands. Then I trim, drill, and polish
each one so that no two are exactly alike. After I finish each
medal, I touch each one to first class relics of St. Catherine
Laboure, St. John Neumann, St. Maximilian Kolbe and bless them with
Holy Water from Fatima and Lourdes.
I have only one request for those who own these medals: Obey Mary's
own words and wear this medal with confidence, or give it to a loved
one or friend who needs the grace of God—a Miracle—in their lives.
But this is only part of the story of how these hand-made medals
came to exist.
You see, only a few years ago I had no devotion to Mary. In fact, I
stopped going to mass before I was a teenager. In 1990, when I was
thirty years old, a close friend gave me a rosary that was
reportedly blessed by the Virgin Mary herself. Spurred on by a deep
unhappiness, I began saying the rosary. I barely knew the words.
Soon after, my life began to change—some would say in miraculous
ways. Then I met a friend who gave me an audio tape called "Marian
Apparitions Explained" and a little booklet about Mary's visit to a
beautiful young nun named Catherine in 1830. My heart began to burn
with a desire to make Miraculous Medals.
Working with metal has been in my family for generations. My
grandfather began a company for stamping large metal parts for
industry in 1946. My father and brothers are all in the metal
stamping business. We didn't make small "coined" items—not by a
long shot. Our parts were custom made for engines, tanks, and
When I announced to the guys in the shop that I was going to make a
Miraculous Medal, they laughed at me. "Only the Italians can make
that kind of stuff, and they aren't going to tell you their
secrets!" Have you ever wondered why all the religious medals you
buy have Italy or Hong Kong stamped on the back?
Thus began a long and frustrating lesson in humility. It took me
months to get even the simplest steps accomplished. When a door
closed in Ohio, another one would open—miraculously—in California.
After one year and thousands of dollars of investment, I finally
found myself standing in front of a 200 ton press, waiting to pull
out my first 24K gold medal. On the third medal, the die broke. I
was too excited to care, and made plans to produce another costly
Now it will be my honor and pleasure to make a Miraculous Medal just
Here are the unique traits of each miraculous medal that I produce.
Each one is coined by hand in a high tonnage press using our
custom made steel die.
After coining, I trim, drill, deburr, and polish them to a
lustrous shine, and then touch them to first class relics of
St. Catherine Laboure, St. John Neumann, and St. Maximilian
Because each medal is made here, "U.S.A." is raised
underneath the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Mary,
symbolizing America's consecration to the Blessed Virgin by
our bishops in the 19th Century.
No photograph can convey the weight and feel of this medal,
which is 2 or 3 times the thickness —
even in silver or gold
— of typical "production line" medals.
The photograph below shows the fine detail of the carefully
sculpted image of Our Lady—her fingers, her windblown
garment, and even the features of Mary's face!