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oCTobER 2015 | Vol. 20 | Issue 10 | Mail Run: 8,423 | Total Print Run: 12,500

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SECTION Your Good News Community Newspaper Serving Northern Frederick County, MD Since 1995

40 Years a Saint: Elizabeth Ann Seton’s “Valley of Blessings”

Celebrates the Anniversary of Her Sainthood

Nicholas DiGregory

On March 2, 1809, Elizabeth Ann Photo Courtesy of Nicholas DiGregory exhibition that displays memorabilia
Seton penned a letter to her life-long previously unavailable for public
and possibly dearest friend, Julia admiration. This exhibit, which has
Sitgreaves Scott. The letter described become the centerpiece of the shrine’s
Seton’s intention to move from museum, is composed of treasured
Baltimore to the Catoctin Valley, objects, letters, documents, and
where she would start a school on pictures that were significant during
lands provided by a generous Mount Seton’s canonization process.
St. Mary’s seminarian. Among the most treasured of these
“He is about purchasing a place pieces on display at the National
at Emmitsburg, and has offered me Shrine is Seton’s canonization banner.
the department of taking care of the When a saint is proclaimed by the
children who may be presented or Roman Catholic Church, a large
rather of being the mother of the image of the person is often painted
family,” Seton wrote in the letter. and displayed prominently in Saint
“This pleases me for many reasons— Peter’s Square in Rome. Seton’s
in the first place I shall live in the canonization banner, which depicts
mountains, in the next I shall see no her bathed in heavenly light and
more of the world than if I was out standing in the clouds above the
of it and have every object centered earth, has not been seen by the public
in my own family.” since the canonization celebration
The Catoctin Mountains and 40 years ago. It was removed from
Valley always held a special place archival storage in Emmitsburg and
in Seton’s heart. Throughout her The teachers and students of Emmitsburg’s Mother Seton School gather for a picture after restored specifically for the new
life, she referred to the area as the Bishop Gainer’s anniversary Mass. The school traces its history all the way back to Elizabeth exhibit at the shrine.
“Valley of Blessings.” The town Ann Seton’s original school in Emmitsburg. “That canvas was painted
of Emmitsburg, nestled quietly specifically for her canonization
in the Catoctin Valley, provided celebration in Rome, and it hung in
Seton with the perfect place to of other communities across North bestowed upon Elizabeth Ann Seton Saint Peter’s Square, right above the
begin the Sisters of Charity of Saint America. The religious sisters of on September 14, 1975, making her entire celebration,” said Rob Judge,
Joseph. Emmitsburg’s reasonable these communities have served and the first American-born individual to the executive director of the National
distance from major cities and quiet educated the poor, just as Mother be graced with the title. Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
country lifestyle allowed Seton and Seton did, in hundreds of countries Now, for the fortieth anniversary “It was the centerpiece during the
her religious sisters to be free of throughout the world. of Seton’s canonization, the town of canonization, and it is now the
distractions, which in turn enabled Mother Seton’s humble mission Emmitsburg is once again celebrating centerpiece in our museum.”
them to focus all of their time on the of love and service to the poor, a their very own saint. Besides the banner, many
care and education of the poor. mission that found its realization The National Shrine of Saint noteworthy artifacts of Seton’s
It was in quiet Emmitsburg, in largely in Emmitsburg, sowed the Elizabeth Ann Seton is hosting a year- canonization are on display at the
the heart of the Catoctin Valley, seeds for her canonization. The long celebration commemorating the “40 Years a Saint” exhibit. Among
that Seton’s religious community title of saint, which in the Roman fortieth year of Seton’s sainthood. these items are letters validating
flourished. The Sisters of Charity of Catholic Church signifies a person Entitled “40 Years a Saint,” this miraculous healings for those who
Saint Joseph inspired the formation of utmost virtue and spirituality, was celebration is embodied in a premier — Continued on page 22 —

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