NOTE: The Shrine is closed to visitors currently, but it is worth the consideration once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.
May is the Month for Mothers. May 4-8 is also Teacher Appreciation Week this year, and for some, teachers are seen as second moms. This month, the spotlight is on a shrine dedicated to an American saint who is both mother and teacher.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was a widow and mother to five children. She did not let this hinder her from doing what she thought was her calling. She arrived in Baltimore and taught the poor and needy. Then together with her band of ladies, they moved to Emmitsburg, founded a religious order, and also provided education through the St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School.
What’s so Special About the Shrine?
Houses the remains of the first American to become a saint
Veneration of a saint’s relics has always been a Catholic tradition. It brings a sense of closeness to a holy person when Catholics touch or kneel to pray by the encasement of the relics in the same manner when we would kiss the picture of a deceased loved one or run our fingers over their possessions in loving memory. Since this is the actual physical remains of a saint, it is considered a first-class relic and is a major pilgrimage site for many Catholics.
So Much to See and Do
Aside from the Basilica, you may also join the 45-60-minute Historic Homes Tour for under $10/person which includes visits to two of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s homes, the gardens, and the cemetery.
HOT TIP: If you plan early enough, the second Saturdays of the month and certain feast days are FREE admission days. Check their website for specific dates.
Though you can easily spend a leisurely day exploring the Shrine, you may also decide to go to the nearby National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Another option is to take a short 20-minute drive to the Gettysburg National Military Park or head south to historic downtown Frederick.
Lots of FREE stuff
The Shrine visit is FREE, the museum is FREE, parking is FREE, the 12-minute film at the Visitor Center is FREE; and once they start receiving visitors again, children 6 and under are FREE to tour the Historic Homes.
As the Shrine is still closed right now, you may take a virtual tour of the Shrine here. And if you are so inclined, please take a moment to make a monetary donation as many places of worship have been financially affected by the shutdowns.