National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
|National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton|
The shrine and basilica
|Location||333 South Seton Av
Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States
|District||Archdiocese of Baltimore|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Minor Basilica|
The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, is a U.S. religious site and educational center that pays tribute to the life and mission of Elizabeth Ann Seton (August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821), the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. It is both a Minor Basilica and a National Shrine.
Mother Seton first came to Maryland in 1808 and opened a school next to the chapel of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. A local seminarian offered her $10,000 to begin a new school to teach poor children. A farm was purchased outside of Emmitsburg, and in June 1809 Mother Seton established the Sisters of Charity community.
A local structure informally known as the Stone House, built in 1750, served as the first headquarters for the community. In 1810, she established the first free U.S. Roman Catholic school for girls. The school initially met in the one-room building called the White House, which was built in 1810. After her death, Mother Seton was buried at a cemetery in Emmitsburg that she once dubbed "God's Little Acre."
The shrine complex
The Stone House, the White House and the cemetery have been incorporated into the grounds of the shrine, which also includes a basilica, a museum, the Mortuary Chapel where Mother Seton prayed, and a visitors center. The shrine is part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and is a destination for many Roman Catholics on a religious pilgrimage.
The shrine’s basilica was dedicated in 1965. Mother Seton was canonized in 1975, and her remains were moved from the "God’s Little Acre" cemetery to the basilica. In 1991, the shrine’s chapel was designated as a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II. The formal designatation ceremony took place on August 4, 1991, under the guidance of Archbishop Agostino Cacciavilan, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States.
The shrine hosts an annual event in celebration of Mother Seton by honoring all girls and women named "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth Ann." Those bearing that name take part in a special procession during mass where they enter the basilica together carrying a banner, and two women in the procession are chosen to venerate Mother Seton by carrying flower vases to the saint's tomb.
- “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,” New Advent/Catholic Encyclopedia
- “Exploring the Small Towns of Virginia & Maryland,” Rediscovering America, January 1, 2003 (library card access required)
- “Time Travel,” Washington Post, August 23, 2002
- “Other Churches in the Archdiocese.” Archdiocese of Baltimore
- “Our Parishes: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,” Long Island Catholic, May 28, 2008
- “In Washington, Maryland, Pilgrims Visit Historic Shrines,” Georgia Bulletin January 23, 2003
- “National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton Becomes a Baslicia," Vincentian Family News, July 31, 2004
- “Shrine Celebrates Saint’s Birthday,” Gazette.net/Post-Newsweek Media, August 23, 2007