Historic Church Tour #5

May 1 - 2, 2007

Emmitsburg, MD


The first stop on our 5th 'Trail of the Saints' bus trip is the Carriage House in Historic Emmitsburg, Maryland.  The building, dating from 1857, was the Zimmerman and Maxwell Warehouse in 1877, a broom factory in the early 1900's, later a bus depot and first becoming a restaurant in 1943, named the White House.  In December, 1986, the Carriage House Inn was opened.


The Pangborn Memorial Campanile, erected in 1964, stands at the entrance to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes, and marks the site of 'the Old Church on the Hill', built in 1805 by Father John DuBois, founder of Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary.  Tradition has it that when Fr. DuBois built the parish church on this lofty spot it was in order that the people in the valley could look up from their daily tasks and see the cross on the church.  That continues today with a 25-foot gold-leafed bronze figure of the Blessed Mother crowning a 95-foot tower made of rough-hewn variegated stone from the quarry on the college property.

Fr. DuBois found on the mountain, a natural amphitheater where a stream divided and flowed around a great oak, and a recessed grotto had formed under the trunk.  He erected a crude cross, a symbol of the holy work he was undertaking.  This marked the original grotto.


One of the stone-encased copper Stations of the Cross which were installed in 1958.  They mark the placement of Fr. Simon Brute's rough wooden crosses more than a century earlier. 

Sitting before the Grotto saying the Rosary.


The present Grotto of Lourdes

In 1861, Fr. Leonard Obermeyer, aided by seminarians James Dunn and Martin Fallon, constructed the stone dam above the present Lourdes shrine.

On January 18, 1862, the ecclesiastical authorities published the decree passing judgment on the apparitions that took place at the grotto at Lourdes, it read: "...We judge that Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, did really appear to Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858 and on certain subsequent days -- to the number of 18 times in all -- in the grotto of Massabielle, near the town of Lourdes; that this apparition bears every mark of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing it as certain..."


Corpus Christi Chapel, built in 1906, replaces the Old Grotto which stood from 1808 to 1906.

Interior of Corpus Christi Chapel


Praying for intentions in the chapel at the Grotto Shrine.

Here on Sunday afternoons, Mother Seton, 'seated on a rock known as hers', taught Christian doctrine to the children of the mountain parish.


Statue of St. Eliazabeth Ann Seton on the rear of the chapel, overlooking the 'rock known as hers' where Mother Seton taught catechism.

This Calvary group replaces the ''old wooden cross'' erected by Fr. DuBois which Mother Seton mentions in her journal in 1815 -- 'quiet dinner at the Grotto before the old cross, yet standing after winter storms'.

Some of the group returning after visiting the Calvary group.


Even the trees seem to recognize this as a spiritual place, reaching toward heaven and God.

The source of this Grotto water is a mountain spring.  If a priest blesses it, it is then considered 'holy water'. 

Pilgrims may refresh themselves by drinking it or sprinkling it upon themselves and within their homes.  Though there are no documented miracles, many people have reported special favors and graces while using the water in faith.

Relaxing around the Grotto reservoir with the Corpus Christi Chapel in the background.


Glorious Mystery The Descent of the Holy Spirit, one of 15 imported from Italy in 1966.

The five Luminous Mysteries, introduced in 2002 by Pope John Paul II.


Cornerstone of the 'old church on the hill' laid by Fr. DuBois in 1807.

Seton family members buried in the old mountain cemetery.


Tombstones in the old mountain cemetery.

Small chapel surrounded by tombstones in mountain cemetery.

Chapel of Saint Mary on the Hill, also known as the 'Glass Chapel', was built in 1975.


Statue to Our Lady of Medjugorje.

Celtic Cross marking the site of Fr. DuBois house which was Mother Seton's first lodging from June 21 to July 31, 1809.


Mount St. Mary's University, founded by Fr. DuBois in 1805.

Immaculate Conception Chapel on the campus of Mount St. Mary's University.


The Immaculate Conception Chapel is the primary worship space for the university.

The chapel was dedicated in 1910 and was constructed in the Cluniac Romanesque style.



Seton Retreat Center and the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Main entrance to Seton Retreat Center


Seton Retreat Center A wing

Retreatants entrance


Welcome sign for the 'Trail of the Saints' bus tour.

Single retreat room...


...with all the comforts of home.

Social gathering room


Gathering in Ozanam meeting room for our welcome to the retreat center.

Dinner in the retreat dining hall


Pennsylvania Memorial in the Gettysburg National Military Park dedicated in 1910.

Looking down from the balcony at the top of the Pennsylvania Memorial


Looking across the Gettysburg National Military Park

Little Round Top, Devil's Den and Big Round Top as seen from the top of the Pennsylvania Memorial.


Fr. Daly and Ginny Romero chatting with Abe Lincoln and a new friend.  (I think they were trying to find an ice cream parlor still open.)

Reading room...


...in the library at the Seton Retreat Center.

Getting ready for Mass...


...in the Mary Chapel.

Nick Graziano shares the First Reading.


We listen as Fr. Daly reads the gospel.

Fr. Daly comments on being on one of our 'Trail of the Saints' tours and visiting the place where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton lived, taught and died.

“By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”


“Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body which will be given up for you.”

“Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever. AMEN.''

"The Body of Christ."


Nick Graziano plays some mediation music.

Day 2 of our 5th bus trip


National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland

The first statue of Mother Seton erected in the United States, blessed on September 27, 1950 by Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C., John M. McNamara, was unveiled by Francesca Senese-Santoponte of Leghorn, Italy, great-great-granddaughter of Antonio Filicchi, friend and business associate of William Seton, husband of Elizabeth.


The Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was built by the Emmitsburg Province of the Daughters of Charity in anticipation of the canonization of their American foundress, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton.

Completed in 1965, dedicated as the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Chapel in 1976 by Archbishop of Baltimore William D. Borders, and designated a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1991, the simple main altar is surrounded by an arch of intricate, colorful mosaics.


The Altar of the Relics of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton contains the remains of America's first native-born saint.  The statue, sculptured in Italy, portrays her role as educator and religious foundress. 

Intentions of visitors to the Seton Shrine are remembered in every Eucharistic Liturgy at the Basilica.


A simple reliquary is within reach for anyone who wishes to ask the intercession of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

A small relic of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton


Crystal boat to the side of the Relic Altar, given to the Basilica by descents of Antonio and Filippo Filicchi, who were instrumental in the conversion of Elizabeth to Catholicism.

Altar of St. Louise de Marillac, who with St. Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity.  It was on this community that Mother Seton modeled her Sisters of Charity in 1809.


In the vestibule of the Basilica is the Garden of the Holy Agony with marble statues of Christ praying that His cup be taken away.  The background mosaic is of the hill country of Jerusalem and the sleeping Apostles.

Garden in the center area of the retreat center


On the way to the Seton Shrine buildings

The Stone House, built about 1750 of native stone, was the first permanent home of Mother Seton, where she founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph on July 31, 1809.


At night this room was used for sleeping by Mother Seton and her daughters.  During the day their mattresses were stored in a cupboard under the stairs and the room was used for other purposes as needed.

The small room next to where Mother Seton slept was used as a chapel.


The exposed brick under the wood flooring was discovered in 1979 when the house was moved to its present location, and is part of the original flooring.

The large kitchen, with period furnishings, was added about 1834.


Marker in memory of Rev. Samuel Sutherland Cooper, a wealthy seminarian at the time at St. Mary's in Baltimore, who purchased the property from Robert Flemming and then gave it to Mother Seton on March 14, 1809 for the first home of her Sisters of Charity.

In June, 1863, about 90,000 Union troops were camped on and around this land, some officers even in Mother Seton's White House.  Prayers were said that a battle would not be fought here; a promise made to erect a statue of Notre Dame des Victoires if the danger were averted.  The Union Army received orders to move North to Gettysburg.  The promise was fulfilled immediately after the Civil War with the placement of this symbol of their Protectress and her Divine Son.


Mother Seton and the Sisters moved into the White House on February 20, 1810.  Two days later the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph admitted the first day pupils to their school, thus beginning the Catholic school system in the United States.

 The schoolroom is a replica of what a classroom may have looked like in Mother Seton's time.


The piano belonged to Mother Seton, given to her by Dr. Richard Wells.

The first Mass was celebrated in the White House on March 19, 1810, the Feast of St. Joseph.  The altar, altar rail, and folding doors date from Mother Seton's time.  The two framed pictures flanking the sanctuary belonged to Mother Seton.


The Stations of the Cross in the chapel, made from Meerschaum, meaning sea foam in German, which is light enough to float on water, may be the original ones requested by Mother Seton from George Weiss, a friend in Baltimore.

Mother Seton died in this room on January 4, 1821.  The third time she was elected mother (1819) she protested that it was the election of the dead, but she lived for two more years, succumbing finally to tuberculosis at the age of 46.  The bed is a replica.


The Calvary wood carving, hanging above the mantle, was given to Mother Seton by the Filicchi family of Livorno, Italy,

The last will and testament of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton.


The drop-leaf table against the wall belonged to Mother Seton.  The 'Baltimore' chairs are authentic and were used in Emmitsburg, dating from about 1820.  The dining room was originally located beneath the first floor.  This room was probably used for teaching.

Desiring that his mother's remains be fittingly honored, William Seton gave a substantial donation for the building of this Mortuary Chapel.  After completion in 1846, Mother Seton's remains were transferred here.


Interior of the Mortuary Chapel

Vault in the floor of the Mortuary Chapel containing the remains of Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley, nephew of Mother Seton, and Bishop John McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C., an ardent promoter of the Cause of Mother Seton for Canonization.


Marker indicating the original grave site of Mother Seton just yards to the right of the Mortuary Chapel.

Final resting places of Rebecca Seton and Sr. Annina Seton, daughters of Mother Seton in the Old Cemetery next to Mother Seton's original grave.


Final resting places of Sr. Cecilia Seton and Harriet Seton, sisters-in-law of Mother Seton near her original grave in the Old Cemetery.

Calvary group at the rear of the Old Cemetery.


Looking up at Christ on the cross, as His Mother would have seen Him.

Making a family connection


Looking from the Old Cemetery to the new area.

Beauty in simplicity


Memorial crosses of deceased Sisters of Charity leading to bridge and sign explaining Our Lady of the Fields statue, seen among the trees in the upper right.

Fr. Daly reads the legend of Our Lady of the Fields which tells the story of Ottawanta, Piscataway chief, and his family, who had been baptized by Fr. Andrew White, S.J., in 1642 in Southern Maryland.  Ottawanta moved his family to the Emmitsburg area in the pursuit of peace and to avoid persecution by the Indians who remained pagans.  One after the other, God called Chief Ottawanta's family home to Him, and in his loneliness, the chief would come to the oak grove where his loved ones were buried and pray the rosary.  One year on the first of May, while he was deep in prayer, Ottawanta had a vision of the Queen of Heaven with the Divine Child in her arms who told him the forests would be cleared and fields planted by the white man.  Our Lady also said that a temple to her name would crown the mountain, a holy Sisterhood would arise, and that the first blossoms of Spring would encircle her head.


Heading home after an informative two days.

When did you say the next trip is??

  Photography and Captions by Sharon Seckens

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