National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, Maryland, Združene države Amerike

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Basilica of the National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Completed in 1965, the Basilica was designed as the chapel for the Daughters of Charity in conjunction with the construction of the new Saint Joseph’s Provincial House.

After Mother Seton’s beatification, plans were altered for the chapel to serve as the National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s in 1809.

Today, the Basilica is a testament to the spiritual heritage of St Elizabeth Ann Seton, reminding us of her faithful adherence to God’s will, deep prayer life, devotion to the Eucharist, and love of the Church.

In reflection of these aspects of Mother Seton’s spirituality, the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is a place of worship, pilgrimage, evangelization and reconciliation.

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Visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Open 365 days a year, the Basilica hosts thousands annually, attracting pilgrims and tourists from across the country and around the world.

Biography of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

“Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.” –Pope Paul VI

Two hundred years ago, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, the first new community for religious women to be established in the United States. She also began St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School, the first free Catholic School for girls staffed by Sisters in the United States.

Her enduring legacy now includes six religious communities with more than 5,000 members, hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout America and around the world. She was canonized on Sunday, September 14, 1975 in St. Peter’s Square by Pope Paul VI. The first citizen born in the United States to be raised to the altars, her remains are entombed here in the Basilica that bears her name.

The remarkable life of Elizabeth Ann Seton spans the full spectrum of human experience. She was a New York socialite, a devoted wife, a dedicated volunteer in charitable organizations, the mother of five children, a convert to Roman Catholicism, an educator, friend of the poor, catechist—a tireless servant of God. Her story is instrumental to understanding her ongoing legacy and enhancing your pilgrimage to the Shrine.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Biography of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

“Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage.” –Pope Paul VI

Two hundred years ago, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, the first new community for religious women to be established in the United States. She also began St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School, the first free Catholic School for girls staffed by Sisters in the United States. Her enduring legacy now includes six religious communities with more than 5,000 members, hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout America and around the world. She was canonized on Sunday, September 14, 1975 in St. Peter’s Square by Pope Paul VI. The first citizen born in the United States to be raised to the altars, her remains are entombed here in the Basilica that bears her name.

The remarkable life of Elizabeth Ann Seton spans the full spectrum of human experience. She was a New York socialite, a devoted wife, a dedicated volunteer in charitable organizations, the mother of five children, a convert to Roman Catholicism, an educator, friend of the poor, catechist—a tireless servant of God. Her story is instrumental to understanding her ongoing legacy and enhancing your pilgrimage to the Shrine.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Altar of Relics

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s relics are entombed in the Altar of Relics at the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. In every Eucharistic liturgy, the intentions of those devoted to St. Elizabeth Ann are remembered. See “Prayer Requests” and “Prayer Sharing.”

Beneath the altar and enclosed in marble, St. Elizabeth Ann’s remains rest in a small copper casket. Her remains were transferred here under the altar in 1968. Sculpted in Italy, the white marble statue of St. Elizabeth Ann depicts her dressed in the habit that she and her Sisters of Charity wore in 1809. The statue portrays her role as educator and religious Foundress.

Places Where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Has Been Buried

St. Elizabeth Ann was not always buried in the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Before beatification, the remains of Elizabeth Ann Seton were exhumed on October 26, 1962, from St. Joseph’s Cemetery (a cemetery still on the grounds of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton today), in the presence of a small group of persons closely associated with her cause. This ecclesiastical procedure involved the identification of her remains in conjunction with her cause for canonization. After her beatification by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1962, the Seton relics were placed in a copper casket and placed above the main altar at Joseph College Chapel, located at St. Joseph’s Central House, on April 18, 1963 (now located on the grounds of FEMA, neighbors of the Shrine).
The small copper casket containing the remains of Elizabeth Ann Seton was transferred to beneath the altar of the Blessed Elizabeth Ann Seton in the Daughters of Charity chapel of the new St. Joseph’s Provincial House on January 4, 1968 (now known as the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton). A marble facade was installed at the base of the altar of relics of Elizabeth Ann Seton on August 1, 1975. See “St. Joseph’s Cemetery.”

White House

The house which is known today as the White House was the original “St. Joseph’s House” of the community and served as the first motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity. During your tour, you can easily imagine the phenomenal growth of the household in the first years, when Postulants came from all over.

“I am a name to keep up regularity and to say there is a head to the house. The chief work I do is to walk about with my knitting in my hand. I give my opinion, see that everyone is in their place, write letters, read, and give good advice.”–Elizabeth Seton’s letter to her dearest friend, Julia Scott, September 20, 1809

Stone House

Step back into the 19th century while you tour the Stone House in St. Joseph’s Valley, where the Sisters of Charity were founded on July 31, 1809. The house was far from offering all the comforts Elizabeth Ann had so optimistically described in a letter to her dearest friend, Julia Scott. Sixteen people occupied four rooms, two upstairs and two down, with one of the smaller lower rooms used as a temporary chapel.

“You will hear a thousand reports of nonsense about our community, which I beg you not to mind. The truth is we have the best ingredients of happiness – order, peace, and solitude.”–Elizabeth Ann Seton’s letter to Julia Scott, September 20, 1809

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Directions to Emmitsburg

From Washington, D.C. take I-270 north to US 15 towards Gettysburg. Emmitsburg is the last town prior to crossing the Pennsylvania border.

From Baltimore, take I-695 exit 20 to I-795 to MD 140. Follow MD 140 towards Emmitsburg.

From Harrisburg, go south on US 15. Emmitsburg is the first town after crossing into Maryland.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

The Seton Legacy

Reverend Simon Gabriel Bruté, S.S. (1779-1839) of Mount St. Mary’s, served as the chaplain to the Sisters of Charity and Elizabeth’s spiritual director until her death. He was her principal guide along the path to sanctity. He, along with DuBois, actively instilled the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac among the Sisters of Charity. Bruté advised Elizabeth to read and translate the lives of Louise and Vincent and some of their spiritual writings.

Today, the work of education and charity lives on in Elizabeth’s spiritual daughters around the world http://sisters-of-charity-federation.org. James Gibbons (1834-1921, later cardinal), archbishop of Baltimore, initiated her cause for canonization in 1882. Officially introduced at the Vatican in 1940, it made steady progress. Blessed John XXIII declared Elizabeth venerable December 18, 1959, beatifying her on March 17, 1963.

Pope Paul VI canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton on September 14 during the Holy Year of 1975. The Holy See accepted three miracles through her intercession. These included the cures of Sister Gertrude Korzendorfer, D.C. (1872-1942) of St. Louis of cancer; a young child, Ann Theresa O’Neill (b.1948) of Baltimore from acute lymphatic leukemia; and Carl Kalin (1902-1976) of New York from a rare form of encephalitis.

The extraordinary manner in which Elizabeth lived an ordinary life flowed from the centrality of the Word of God and the Eucharist in her life. These strengthened her, enabling her to love God, her family, and her neighbor. In the depth of her charity she undertook heroic works of mercy. Not only did she and her Sisters of Charity care for orphans, widows, and poor families, but they also addressed unmet needs of the poor. Elizabeth had a special concern for children who lacked educational opportunities, especially religious instruction in the faith.

Her lifelong devotion to the will of God led her to sanctity. Her longing for Eternity began at a young age with her early religious formation as an Episcopalian. Throughout her earthly journey of forty-six years, Elizabeth viewed herself as a pilgrim on the road of life. She faced each day with eyes of faith, looking forward to heaven.

Dominant themes in her life and writings include her pursuit of the Divine Will, nourishment from the Eucharist and Holy Scripture, confidence in Divine Providence, and charitable service to Jesus Christ in the poor. From her deathbed in Emmitsburg, she expressed her wish that those gathered about her “Be children of the Church, be children of the Church.”

She prayed her way through life’s joys and struggles using Sacred Scripture. This enabled her to live serenely. Psalm 23, which she learned as a child, remained her favorite treasury of consolation throughout her life of suffering and loss. Elizabeth’s pathway to inner peace and sanctity flowed from her way of living the Paschal Mystery in her own life. She moved from devotional reception of Holy Communion as an Episcopalian to awe as a Roman Catholic and often ecstatic adoration of the Real Presence. Her Eucharistic devotion and faith in God’s abiding presence nourished her imitation of Jesus Christ, the source and model of all charity.

As she established the Sisters of Charity in their mission of charity and education, she adopted The Regulations for the Sisters of Charity in the United States (1812). The choice of the Vincentian rule reflects how Elizabeth understood her mission as one of apostolic service honoring Jesus Christ through service to the poor. Elizabeth’s spiritual pathway involved other people–her advisors, friends, collaborators, and those she served.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Civil War History at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

The Daughters and Sisters of Charity played a prominent role during the Civil War as nurses and aid workers, providing compassion in an otherwise violent and painful epoch. Some worked in the cities where they were missioned, while others traveled from battlefield to battlefield, North and South. They continued Mother Seton’s ministry of charity, bringing solace and healing to the wounded of both armies, sometimes at their own peril.

The war came to Emmitsburg in late June 1863, with the armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia succeeding each other at St. Joseph’s. Like St. Elizabeth Ann, the Sisters during this battle sought out and served those in need. Approximately forty years after Mother Seton’s death (1821), her home was the site of the Union encampment in 1863.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

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