Mother Seton’s Guadalupe Painting

This is the final part of a yearlong series about the early days of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the community.  In 1850, the Emmitsburg-based Sisters united with the international community of the French Daughters of Charity.

A treasure of the archives is a piece owned by Mother Seton that can seem out of place for her time period in the Northeast United States – an oil painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Purchased by Matthias O’Conway – father of Sister Cecilia O’Conway, the first sister to join Mother Seton’s community in 1808 – from Emmitsburg native James Hughes, the image hung over the altar in the historic St. Joseph’s House (also called the Emmitsburg White House).  O’Conway had likely become familiar with the image and the devotion it inspired through his travels around the world, including time in Spanish New Orleans and Cuba.  The icon’s cost of $200 in 1811 evidently gave Mother Seton pause in accepting it, writing to Matthias, “I must go back a long way to tell you the mingled feelings of love and sorrow with which I received the dear picture which Mr. Heughs [sic] says he saw you pay down two hundred Dollars for – but it was to our Adored and that is enough for You.”

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to Matthias O’Conway, June 5, 1811; Courtesy Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center

Indeed, as a Catholic and early supporter of Mother Seton’s community, while this was not the first painting that Matthias donated, he was known to experience money problems when he was not working as a translator and publisher.  However, the place of prominence that this painting received, which “[made] our humble chapel look really like a chapel,” points to the place that this work held in the hearts of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is December 12.

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Frederick County Historic Sites Consortium’s Annual “Museums by Candlelight” Hybrid/Virtual in 2021

Although there is some more opening up this year compared to last year, many sites are once again conducting virtual programming for this year’s “Museums by Candlelight.” we are happy to announce our inclusion in the virtual program this year with our new holiday presentation “Christmas in Emmitsburg, 1827”!

Check out this link to view all of our colleagues’ virtual work: https://www.visitfrederick.org/events/annual-events/museums-by-candlelight/

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Saints, Blesseds, and Founders in Emmitsburg

This is part of a yearlong series about the early days of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the community.  In 1850, the Emmitsburg-based Sisters united with the international community of the French Daughters of Charity.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first North American-born saint recognized by the global Catholic church.  The Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives in Emmitsburg is the largest holder of writings and artifacts of Mother Seton in the world.

Brick and wrapper from Seton home on State Street, New York City

However, Mother Seton is not the only one represented in the collection recognized as a holy person by Rome, nor is she the only foundress of a community in the collections.  We can provide resources and information about a number of other individuals of this caliber!

Father Simon Bruté was Mother Seton’s spiritual director, a Sulpician priest who later became the first Bishop of Vincennes (now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis).  His cause for canonization was opened in 2005, and he was accepted as a Servant of God.  Materials of his in the archives include correspondence with Mother Seton and her family, spiritual writings, the bands he wore for his consecration as a Bishop, and his many drawings and sketches.

“Eternity, Jesus,” Father Simon Bruté, January 11, 1821

Saint Father John Neumann, CSsR,was Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1852 until his death in 1860.  He was canonized in 1977 and was instrumental in bringing the Daughters of Charity to St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum.

Father John Neumann to Rev. Mariano Maller, C.M., Provincial Director, July 29, 1852

Canonized Popes Many Daughters have been lucky enough to meet the Successors to St. Peter, sometimes as part of a crowd, and sometimes in more serious business.  The most notable occasion relating to the community’s history was Saint Pope Paul VI, who canonized Mother Seton in 1975, thus making Mother Seton’s canonization bull itself a relic of a saint.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta – often still known as Mother Teresa – made a three-day tour of the United States in 1975.  During her visit, she visited the Shrine of the just recently canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton alongside her more formal trips to the United Nations and Washington, D.C.  The archives contains photos of her visit.

Almeide Maxis Duchemin – later known as Mother Theresa Duchemin – was a student of St. Joseph’s Academy from 1819-1823 from around ages 9-13.  She became a founding member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore and became the first African American Superior General of a white religious majority community when she co-founded the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The archives contains records of her schooling at the Academy.

Mothers Elizabeth Boyle and Margaret George were companions of Mother Seton and members of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s who founded their own communities; the Sisters of Charity of New York in 1846 and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1852, respectively. 

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Filed under Canonization, Emmitsburg, Mother Theresa Duchemin, Paul VI, Simon Brute, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of Charity of New York, Teresa of Calcutta