Sunday, July 24, 2011

Emmitsburg-- Home of Mother Seton

One of our final stops was in Emmitsburg, MD only about 15 minutes away from Gettysburg, PA: home to America's first native-born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, head of the first Daughters of Charity community in America and mother of the Catholic school system in America.

As we got there late in the day, we weren't able to see the relics and artifacts in the museum.

But we were able to see a few of the buildings on the property:

The first building the Sisters lived in, which really was just a stone house when they were there.

The second, bigger building they moved into, where Mother Seton heard Mass! She was able to have some input in designing the altar and proposed that it look like a cradle. This way the Sisters would feel as though they were kneeling before Our Lord in the crib at Mass.


The infirmary. Mother Seton died in this bed. She had it moved to this wall to be closer to the chapel in the next room
Mother Seton's original resting place. Our guide told us that a large oak tree next to her grave fell over recently, and fell perfectly along an empty row between the graves in the cemetery!




A very friendly cemetery bunny
More graves of the Sisters










We also learned that although Mother Seton died before the Civil War reached Maryland, her Sisters felt its effects. One day in 1862, the Union army showed up on their property 80,000 men strong. Here they camped out and were fed by the Sisters. One evening, the kitchen Sister told the Mother Superior that they had just eaten their last food for the year that night for dinner. When she returned to the food cellar, she miraculously discovered it restocked! God certainly takes care of his brides. The Union commander took up a command post in their building, and the Sisters were worried that fighting might reach their doorstep. In true nun-fashion, they stormed Heaven promising Our Lady to erect a statue of her if she would protect their community. Sure enough, the bloody Battle of Gettysburg waged 12 miles away, but never touched the Sisters.

Inside the Shrine, we were able to see where Mother Seton's body is encased inside a side altar.

Coincidentally, we also discovered that our tour guide's daughter was a Dominican sister who was part of the order of nuns who have been on Oprah recently (see previous post, Sponsa Christi) and had actually been the one to make the rosary given to Oprah!

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