CHI Dedicates Tree in Honor of Cincinnati and Nazareth SCs
By S. Barbara Hagedorn
CHI Board of Stewardship Trustees, representatives from the congregations who are part of CHI, and staff gathered in Baltimore, Maryland, for a pilgrimage to reflect on the charisms of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and Nazareth. Beginning with a tour at Paca Street, the group visited the lower chapel where Mother Seton made her vows and the house where she lived when she came to Baltimore. After dinner, the pilgrims filled the little chapel for a prayer which recalled the beginnings of both congregations. Elizabeth Seton and Catherine Spaulding were with us in spirit as we prayed: “Loving God, be with us as we enter into this time of pilgrimage. Open our minds and hearts to receive new insights directing us in ways to respond to our calling. Continue to inspire us to ‘fidelity to the Gospel urging us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we create healthier communities’” (from CHI’s Mission Statement).
The next morning the group traveled to the National Shrine of Elizabeth Seton. We viewed the movie portraying Elizabeth Seton’s life and then heard from two historians who were essential to understanding how the congregations began and how they live out their charisms in today’s world. S. Judith Metz told the story of the SCs and S. Frances Krumpelman, SCN, shared the journey of Catherine Spaulding in beginning her community.
In the afternoon the group toured the garden, the Stone House and the White House, and had an opportunity to visit the cemetery where Mother Seton was originally buried. People also visited the Shrine and the museum where they were especially taken with the stories of both communities serving as Civil War nurses.
To end the day, the group gathered at the entrance to the garden for a prayer service and tree planting. The tree represents the two communities who were founded on American soil and whose roots continue to grow and spread from the original foundations. Each participant took a cup of water and poured it on the tree while offering a silent prayer. The plaque placed by the tree reads: “For the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and Nazareth for their service to the Church and the world.”
We returned to Baltimore to end our days together with a lovely dinner cruise. The spectacular weather and the spirit and friendship we shared made for a perfect ending of the pilgrimage.