Discover the story of an extraordinary woman. Elizabeth Ann Seton knew first-hand what a difference a year or two can make. She went from being a loving wife and mother of a financially-comfortable family, to a destitute widow and single mother of five children in just two years. Despite these challenges, she thrived, and went on to become America’s first native-born saint. Among her accomplishments are beginning the first free Catholic school for girls in the U.S. and founding the first new order of Sisters in the U.S. This order now includes thousands of Sisters and collaborators who serve the poor and marginalized throughout the world.
Plan a visit to the Shrine in Emmitsburg and begin at our Visitor Center. There’s no admission fee and parking is free. In our Visitor Center, you can see a free 15-minute film, which provides useful background on Elizabeth Ann Seton’s inspirational story. You can also pick up a Map & Guide to self-guide our site, or you can take a guided tour or visit our living history program every Friday and Saturday. Be sure to see the highlights listed below:
- The awe-inspiring Basilica with stained glass windows, mosaics and marble, which serves as the final resting place of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
- Two historic homes – a 1750s farmhouse called the Stone House, and the colonial-style White House built in 1810.
- The Civil War Sisters Exhibit and the Shrine’s own Civil War Tour. The Shrine’s grounds are rich with Civil War history. Tour the grounds and learn how the war that divided our nation came to Emmitsburg in late June 1863. The Daughters and Sisters of Charity played a prominent role during the Civil War, caring for soldiers on both sides. Visit the historic White House, which was the site of a Union encampment in 1863. During the encampment, Union officers conducted a war council to prepare for the Battle of Gettysburg. Read personal accounts of the Sisters, see artillery and bullet fragments, and view large panorama images and photos in the Civil War Sisters exhibit.
- Free museum featuring exhibits and artifacts from Elizabeth Ann Seton’s life.
- The Seton Legacy Garden with inspirational markers and a beautiful fountain.
- The Seton Shrine Shop, which features the Seton Legacy Collection, a line of products inspired by artwork owned by Mother Seton.