"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac


On Sacred Ground

By Associate S. Karen Elliott, C.PP.S.

(Front row, from left) Dr. Mike Sontag, Michelle Arnold, S. Peggy Rein, (back row, from left) Janet Cox, Judith Briggs (25-year employee of the Sisters of Charity), Dr. Andy Buechel-Rieger, Mark McCafferty; Dr. S. Karen Elliott, C.PP.S., and S. Barbara Davis. Not pictured S. Judith Metz.

A small group of Sisters of Charity, an SC employee as well as Mount St. Joseph University faculty and staff members traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland, June 3-7, for a pilgrimage retreat. The pilgrimage was planned through MSJU’s Center for Mission and Belonging. Read S. Karen Elliott’s reflection below.

Our mornings of reflection, led by S. Judith Metz, focused on the virtues of humility, simplicity, and charity. These virtues, foundational in the lives of both St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, remain an integral part of the spirituality of the Sisters of Charity today and, by extension, have been essential in the lives of those who have ministered and continue to minister in partnership with the Sisters. After S. Judy’s presentations, we had time for personal reflection followed by a time of group sharing. Being on the grounds where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton founded the Sisters of Charity made this experience even more meaningful.

Our afternoons and evenings were spent exploring areas in Emmitsburg and Frederick, Maryland, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the early Sisters of Charity provided schooling and nursing care. Of particular note is the tremendous courage the Sisters demonstrated as they cared for wounded and dying soldiers on the battlefields in Gettysburg during that Civil War battle in which more than 12,000 casualties occurred.

On Thursday morning, June 6, we joined in the Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore at the National Shrine, a stop along the St. Elizabeth Seton Route for the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. It was awe-inspiring to join in prayer with more than 800 persons, united in belief of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist! The responses to the prayers and the singing were especially meaningful as people’s voices filled the Basilica with resounding praise.

We were grateful to have had both S. Judy and one of the historians on the staff of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton be with us to share amazing stories of the heritage and legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Indeed, we were profoundly aware that we were walking on “sacred ground” throughout the entirety of the pilgrimage.

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