VI. Bringing Faith and History to Life - Seton Shrine
Seton Shrine Catherine Comes Home

VI. Bringing Faith and History to Life

Ongoing support of our new Living History program, and our Faith Dramas, will enable the Seton Shrine to offer these performances more frequently and to develop new productions on thought-provoking subjects, bringing faith and history to life for our visitors.

At the Seton Shrine, we share St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s passion for passing on her faith to the next generation. For the past decade we have worked with youth ministers and volunteers to find innovative ways to engage young people on important questions of faith and life. Our most successful endeavors in this area have been Back from the Dead and Door to Bethlehem, two 60-minute interactive faith dramas that take place seasonally at the Seton Shrine.

Offered for three weekends every fall, Back From the Dead brings visitors of all ages, but especially the youth from across the region to the Shrine for a walk through our historic cemetery. Along the walk, they meet a cast of saints and sinners, who reflect upon the four “last things”: death, judgment, heaven and hell. Featuring actors and actresses portraying the North American Martyrs, Catherine of Siena, Edith Stein, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and other beloved saints, Back From the Dead explores challenges we all face as we strive to follow Christ.

Door to Bethlehem offers teens and families a similar opportunity for reflection upon what it means to welcome Christ. Presented during the season of Advent, Door to Bethlehem takes visitors on a walk with the Holy Family to the various historic houses on the property, where different innkeepers refuse to welcome them. Along the way, participants explore the various reasons why we refuse to let Christ into our hearts and lives. The evening ends in the Basilica, where the Blessed Sacrament waits on the altar for the pilgrims.

At the Seton Shrine, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton remains a living presence. In the homes where she lived, the gardens where she walked, and especially in the Sisters who continue her work, visitors discover a real woman, who loved, struggled, and faithfully followed God’s will, regardless of the cost. Nowhere, however, does that discovery happen more powerfully than in our new living history tour, Catherine Comes Home.

This guided tour takes visitors back in time to 1842, when Mother Seton’s only surviving daughter, Catherine, returned to Emmitsburg to visit her childhood home. During her visit, Catherine meets other Sisters who worked closely with her mother. Together, these historic figures walk the grounds with the visitors and explore the buildings from Mother Seton’s time. Along the way, visitors learn more about the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the obstacles she and her fledgling congregation faced, and how their faith helped them overcome those obstacles. They also learn how Mother Seton’s witness inspired Catherine’s decision to become the first American Sister of Mercy.

Based on an actual event in the life of Catherine Seton, much of the dialogue in Catherine Comes Home is taken directly from Catherine and Mother Seton’s letters. Professional writers and actors have collaborated with the Seton Shrine to ensure the tour’s fidelity to history and its vivid portrayal of life with Mother Seton. Designed to engage visitors of all ages and faith backgrounds, this new living history tour is an important part of our work to help a new generation find a friend in Mother Seton and be inspired to take the next step in their own faith journey.

“What can shut us out from the love of Him who will even dwell with us through love?”
Mother Seton

Sponsor the Catherine Comes Home Tour

Sponsor the Back from the Dead Experience

Sponsor the Door to Bethlehem Experience

Sponsor the Passion Play Experience


For more information about sponsorships, please contact Maida Connor, Director of Donor Relations, at 301-447-6049 or by email at


The 7 Core Ministries of the Seton Shrine

Fostering Worship and Devotion
Making A Joyful Noise Unto the Lord
Renewing the Spirit of God’s People
Educating and Inspiring Future Generations
Discovering and Experiencing Our Historic Site
Bringing Faith and History to Life
Communicating Mother Seton’s Legacy to the World