Press Release: The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to Hold Popular Living History Event Targeting School Age Groups

For two weekends in May, visitors to the Shrine can jump back in time to explore 19th century life as it was on the grounds of Mother Seton’s  St. Joseph’s Academy


EMMITSBURG, MD (March 1, 2023) – The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is bringing history to life this spring with Academy Alive, a it’s a large-scale living history experience specifically created for schools, other large groups and families.

Using Junior History interpreters, the program provides a real-life example of what it was like for students at St. Joseph’s Academy, the Catholic boarding school that Mother Seton began in the early 19th century.

Academy Alive will be held on Thursday, May 4 thru Saturday, May 6, and Thursday May 11 thru Friday May 12.

The Academy Alive program comes months before the Shrine is schedule to open a new museum dedicated to telling the life story of America’s first native-born saint. The museum will feature state-of-the-art galleries and new exhibits with iconic artifacts that will showcase the Mother Seton’s story for anew generation of visitors.

“Mother Seton is a monumental figure in American Catholic history, in part, because she saw the need to catechize the youth of her day, providing them spiritual nourishment and inspiration, along with their studies,” said Rob Judge, executive director of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. “At the Shrine, we use our Junior History Interpreters to show what it was like here during Mother Seton’s lifetime in the very same valley that she called home.”

In 2022, hundreds of students flooded the Seton Shrine grounds, and to accommodate the demand, two additional dates were added this year.

Over the course of the weekend, visitors will have opportunities to tour the historic buildings at the Shrine and  interact with more than 20 interpreters portraying real people from Mother Seton’s world, including her students.

In addition, there are unique indoor activities for visitors to participate in, including journal making, writing with nib pen and ink, taking wool into thread, and more. Visitors are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds.

“Underlying all that we do at the shrine is the strong belief that Mother Seton does not belong to the past. She belongs to all of us today and all those in the future who seek greater meaning in their lives and a friend in heaven,” said Rob Judge.

Tickets are now available at

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton 

Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first native-born U.S. saint. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton promotes her life and legacy to inspire everyone. More than 200 years ago, she came to Emmitsburg as a bankrupt widow with five children, and went on to found the first free Catholic school for girls staffed by sisters in the U.S., and the first community of religious women established in the U.S. Today, her legacy includes several religious communities with thousands of sisters, who serve others through schools, social service centers and hospitals throughout the world. Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized in 1975. Her remains are entombed at the National Shrine that bears her name. For more information, please visit

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