Press Release: Seton Shrine Breaks Ground on $4 Million Museum Renovation and Visitor Center

The National Leadership Council, headed by Luci Baines Johnson, assisted with the momentous occasion.

First renovations in 40 years to heavily visited Shrine will use innovative and interactive techniques to advance the story of the first native-born American saint.

WHAT: Thanks to the generosity of its donors, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton broke ground on a $4 million renovation of its museum and visitors center on Friday, June 24th. The new museum will include state-of-the-art galleries, featuring interactive exhibits telling the story of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton from childhood to sainthood. Mother Seton established the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, in Emmitsburg in 1809, and she continues to inspire people today.

A modern museum with engaging storytelling techniques will bring new vibrancy to Mother Seton’s message of faith and hope for a new generation of pilgrims. This will be the first significant renovation of the museum in 40 years.

The plans also call for a reconfiguration of the original provincial entrance into a new visitor center for the 60,000 people who come to the Shrine each year. The Shrine’s unique campus allows visitors to worship in the Basilica, while also touring the grounds and buildings where Mother Seton and her congregation lived. This allows visitors to literally walk in the footsteps of this important saint.

Funding for the renovations is coming from the successful “New Century of Charity” capital campaign that was launched last September as part of a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mother Seton’s passing into heaven. Under the direction of the Shrine’s National Leaders Council, the first-ever capital campaign has a goal of raising $10 million. The new museum is scheduled to open in 2023.

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Md., is a place of God and of history, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of a saint. The Shrine offers pilgrims prayerful comfort from Mother Seton’s story and her intercessions as a friend in heaven. It is an active Basilica and has a wide range of historical buildings and programs that show what life was like when Mother Seton lived here more than 200 years ago. It was here that she founded the first community of religious women established in the U.S., created the first free Catholic school for girls staffed by sisters in the U.S. and fulfilled her mission of serving those in need. Today, her legacy includes several religious communities with thousands of sisters, who serve others through schools, social service centers and hospitals throughout the world. She was canonized in 1975. Her remains are entombed at the National Shrine that bears her name. For more information, please visit https://setonshrine.org/.

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