We give thanks to God today for the blessing of opening a new foundation close to Emmitsburg, MD, the heart and bedrock of Catholicism in the United States. Our new mission lies at the foot of what is affectionately called “Mary’s Mountain”, home to a 200-year old University and Seminary (the 2nd oldest in the USA) under the Blessed Mother’s patronage and to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. These hallowed grounds were the safe-haven of immigrant Catholics fleeing the Colonial persecution of the late 17th Century and eventually became home to the first native-born American saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and her new foundation of the Daughters of Charity. Throughout the centuries, Mount St. Mary’s became known as “the cradle of bishops”, being mother to 52 bishops, and thousands of priests and missionaries, including the newly beatified martyr, Stanley Rother, and Servant of God Simon Brute.
In the fall of 2017, the IVE Fathers arrived to Mary’s Mountain to attend to the spiritual needs of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, thus founding an IVE Monastery in the USA. Just over a year later, our sisters were able to accept the invitation to assist in this great apostolate at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. This first-known replica of the appearance of our Blessed Mother in Lourdes is a pilgrimage destination to over 400,000 pilgrims annually and our sisters will assist in receiving these visitors as they seek the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.
Additionally, the new community—fittingly under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes—will collaborate with the Father Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project, which seeks to translate and publish the works of the Stigmatine Philosopher in English. This intellectual apostolate is aptly placed at the foot of Mary’s Mountain, safely tucked under her protective mantle, right at the heart of Catholic intellectual and priestly formation today.
As we begin this new apostolic work, we entrust ourselves and all of the souls we will encounter in this missionary work into the hands of our Blessed Mother, trusting that “after Jesus Christ, no one does so much for the evangelization of the culture as our Mother in heaven” (D.E., 308). We recommend ourselves to your prayers; be assured of our continuous prayers for all of the missions and members of our Religious Family! Viva la misión!