Basilica Architectural Features
These splendid features should not be overlooked when visiting the Basilica.
- Italian and German artisans incorporated mosaics, rich marble and bronze, and designed the multiple stained glass windows. These designs for the windows and mosaics illustrate themes such as the life of Mary, many Saints, depictions of the Daughters of Charity performing the seven corporal works of mercy, the Evangelists, and an Arc of Angels.
- The Main Altar, adorned with a bronze canopy and carved image of Christ, is a striking contrast to the colorful mosaics, which depict the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Saint Catherine Labouré, a Daughter of Charity. The Miraculous Medal is symbolized in the bronze gates to the altar.
- The classic marble statue of Our Lady dominates the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament.
- The Altar of St. Joseph, whose name and protection have been linked with the valley in Emmitsburg ("St. Joseph's Valley") since Mother Seton's time, is to the right of the main altar.
- A statue of St. Vincent de Paul, who with St. Louise de Marillac, founded the Daughters of Charity. It was the rule of St. Vincent that Mother Seton adopted when establishing her community in Emmitsburg.
- The Altar of St. Louise de Marillac, Daughter of Charity and patroness of Christian Social Workers, occupies the southern bay area in the nave.
- In the northern bay area of the nave is the Altar of the Relics of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Sculpted in Italy, the statue of St. Elizabeth Ann portrays her role as educator and religious foundress. Beneath the altar rest the treasured relics of the Saint. In every Mass the intentions of pilgrims to the Basilica are remembered.
- The Garden of the Holy Agony, with marble statues of our Agonizing Savior and His consoling angel, is also located in the northern bay area of the vestibule. In exquisite mosaic is the hill country of Jerusalem and the sleeping Apostles.
- Upward to the top of the dome is an oil painting of The Holy Family that is the only oil painting in the Basilica.
- Above the exit doorway is The Coat of Arms of His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, who proclaimed on September 14, 1975: "Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. She is the first daughter of the United States of America to be glorified with this incomparable attribute."
- Just outside the Gathering Room and near the interior Basilica doors are two reproductions painted by Pietro Gagliardi in 1841—one of Raphael's famous Sistine Madonna and the other a portrayal of St. Vincent de Paul entrusting foundlings to a Daughter of Charity.
Visitor Center & Basilica Hours
10:00 am - 4:30 pm every day
Historic Houses & Grounds: Tuesday - Sunday on the hour, 10 am to 3pm
Civil War: Fridays and Saturdays at 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm
Mass & Confessions
1:30 Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Confessions heard before each Mass from 12:15 to 1:15 pm.