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Emmitsburg, Maryland: National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton


About Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton:

She is the first native-born saint in the U.S. and is honored in a special way at this shrine. Born in 1774 to a prominent New York family, Elizabeth Ann Seton went through several trying periods after her father died and re-married, until she herself married, had children, was widowed, converted to Catholicism and eventually founded the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph and established the first Catholic school in the U.S.  We celebrate her feast day on January 4.

About the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg:

Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland
Photo credit Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

This religious and historic site is where Elizabeth Ann Seton lived from 1809 until her death in 1821. Her remains are entombed in the Basilica and the grounds feature two historic homes where she lived and worked: the Stone House built in 1750 and the White House built in 1810.

The museum consists of three galleries containing holy artifacts, dramatized videos, and interactive displays.

The first gallery, “Seeker,” focuses on St. Elizabeth’s difficult early years, her idyllic marriage to William Magee Seton at age 19, her sudden widowhood while the young couple was in Italy, and her conversion to the Catholic faith.  Among the treasures in this section are miniature life portraits of Elizabeth and William, along with her wedding portrait, her wedding ring, the brooch she wore on her wedding day and a christening dress she made for her daughter Catherine , all of which are second-class relics.

The second Gallery, “Servant,” is dedicated to the foundation of the Sisters of Charity, St. Elizabeth’s maturing spirituality, and her many years devoted to the spiritual, intellectual, and material welfare of others.

The final gallery, “Saint,” displays the banner that was on display in St. Peter’s Square during St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s canonization. The gallery also tells the stories of those whose lives were touched by Mother Seton.

There are also an impressive number of original books and manuscripts on display, some in Elizabeth Seton’s own hand – including one of her commonplace books, where the young Elizabeth would write down parts of stories, poems, and other writings that interested her.

Relics  here at the shrine include St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s iconic bonnet, rosary and crucifix, desk, and the brooch she wore on her wedding day, all of which are second-class relics. As mentioned, she had previously been widowed, and her wedding portrait is among the items on display here at the shrine. Also included are items from her family, like her father’s tea chest and her daughter’s christening gown.  These relics were donated by the Sisters of Charity, the order that she founded.

Tours of the Shrine, including the historic homes and Basilica, are available Monday through Sunday.

Mass is available Sunday through Friday at 1:30pm, with Confession and Adoration available before Mass, from 12:15-1:15pm.

The Shrine welcomes groups to have their retreats at the Shrine, and also hosts Lenten and other retreats throughout the year.


Traveling to the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg:

Emmitsburg is home to both the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Lourdes Grotto, so it is easy to combine the two.

Address: 339 South Seton Avenue Emmitsburg, MD 21727

GPS coordinates: 39° 41′ 57.9408” N, 77° 19′ 31.2456” W

Tel: +1 (301) 447-6606 Fax: +1 (301) 447-6061

e-mail: office@setonshrine.org

Click here for the official website of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg. Lots of great information, not only about her life story, but the shrine as well.

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