Elizabeth Seton’s Love for Our Blessed Mother and the Miraculous Medal
“The other day … a little prayer book was on the table and I opened it to a little prayer (the Memorare) of St. Bernard to the Blessed Virgin, begging her to be our Mother. I said it to her with such a certainty … I felt I really had a Mother which you know my foolish heart so often lamented to have lost in my early days.” --Elizabeth Ann Seton’s letter to her friend, Rebecca, 10th of February 1804.
As Elizabeth searched to know God’s will throughout her many life experiences, the Blessed Virgin Mary became her prism of faith. Struggling with doubts and fears, Elizabeth chose to live her vocation fully with the help of Mary’s intercessions.
Elizabeth adapted the seventeenth-century French Common Rules of the Daughters of Charity (1672) for the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's in accord with the needs of the Catholic Church in America in 1813.
On November 27, 1830, nine years after Elizabeth’s death, Our Blessed Virgin Mary manifested the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known as the Miraculous Medal, to Daughter of Charity St. Catherine Labouré in the Paris motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.
Catherine saw Our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Then Mary spoke to Catherine: "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck."
Today, in the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Miraculous Medal is symbolized in the bronze communion gates to the main altar. Pilgrims of all denominations come from all over the world to walk along the Seton Way where they learn about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Mother was integral to St. Elizabeth Ann’s faith and today is integral to the identity of her shrine in Emmitsburg.
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.