This is part one of a four-part series on the history of the four primary campuses in the Province, which correspond to the locations where the four provinces that formed the Province of St. Louise had their provincial houses: Emmitsburg, MD; Albany, NY; Evansville, IN; and St. Louis, MO.
The foundation of the Emmitsburg campus, the oldest of the four campuses in the current Province of St. Louise, came from Mother Seton herself when she founded St. Joseph’s Free School. Although this is applying the term anachronistically, the “campus” at the time would have consisted of the Stone House, where the Sisters lived when they first arrived, and the historic St. Joseph’s House, also called the White House.
As St. Joseph’s Free School developed into St. Joseph’s Academy, more buildings were added to the campus. By 1902, when the Academy was re-incorporated as St. Joseph College, the campus featured classroom space, student dorm rooms, a library, art studios, living quarters and chapel for the Daughters, and an area for the Provincial Council, as well as a Seminary for the formation of the Sisters.
Between 1964 and 1965, the current St. Joseph’s House was built, allowing the Sisters, Seminary, and Council to move away from the College. The move took place on September 12, 1964, with employees on hand to assist the Sisters in the move.
The building’s original layout featured a central courtyard with four spokes: “A Wing” was Seminary, “C Wing” the postulatum, “E Wing” the Council offices and Administration, and “K Wing” the Chapel and Shrine of the recently beatified Mother Seton.
In 1972, the Villa St. Michael, the Sisters retirement facility in Baltimore, permanently moved to the Provincial House in Emmitsburg, filling the top floors of rooms. In 1975, with the canonization of Mother Seton, the process began to convert the Daughters’ chapel into a place of public veneration at the tomb of the Saint. In 1979, the Seton Shrine Museum opened in its current location beneath the Basilica.
The large amount of downsizing that the Province and the campus had experienced after the 1960s allowed for the Daughters to begin to partner with good works in the area. From 1992 to 1994, construction for St. Catherine’s Nursing Home took place, offering a home and care for the elderly that continues to this day.
In 2008, the Marian Center closed. Having been created in 1953 to spread devotion to Mary, this ministry created Miraculous Medals and red and green Scapulars, along with the distribution of educational materials.
In 1998, the Seminary, now Interprovincial and covering all provinces of the United States, moved to Los Altos California (it has since moved to St. Louis).
In 2011, the four provinces merged, and the modern iteration of the Provincial Archives was created. Moving from their spot at the end of E-wing, the new repository made it one of the largest archives for a community of women religious in the country. It opened to researchers in 2013
In 2013, the Daughters sold A-Wing of the campus to Homes for America to create Seton Village, a series of low-income apartments for senior citizens, fulfilling a valuable need in Northern and Western Maryland. With E-wing now empty, in the early 2020s, the Daughters began talks to partner with Mount St. Mary’s University for a new home for their Physician’s Assistant program. Sister Teresa George, the current Provincial Treasurer, discusses the collaboration on the Live Significantly podcast in the episode “Sister Teresa George: Synergy.”
Other changes are coming to the Seton Shrine, as they expand their space on the campus to present high-quality historical and spiritual exhibitions on the life of the community’s American Foundress and the Sisters of Charity Federation communities.