St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore

St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore St. Mary's Historic Site on Paca St. is the location of the first seminary in America, founded in 1791 by Bishop John Carroll and the Sulpician Fathers.
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The site now includes the 1808 Seminary Chapel and the 1808 Mother Seton House, both open for tours.

Operating as usual

Good Morning Friends of Saint Mary's Paca Street: Today we celebrate the arrival of Stephen Badin to our historic site. ...
03/29/2021

Good Morning Friends of Saint Mary's Paca Street: Today we celebrate the arrival of Stephen Badin to our historic site. In 1792, St. Mary’s received a new student in the person of Stephen Badin who, a year after his arrival to Baltimore, was to have the distinction of being the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States. In 1795 Fr. Badin went to Kentucky and except for a visit to France for the years 1820-1828, he remained in the West during the remainder of his life.

Dear friends and benefactors: Today at our historic site we celebrate two momentous occasions in the life of Saint Eliza...
03/25/2021

Dear friends and benefactors: Today at our historic site we celebrate two momentous occasions in the life of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
The first occurred on this day March 25th 1805 at Saint Peters Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan. After her conversion from the Episcopal faith Elizabeth would receive Holy Eucharist for the first time in the Roman Catholic faith. The second event occurred here at our historic site four years later on March 25th 1809. Elizabeth would pronounce her first vows of chastity and obedience in our Lower Chapel. Bishop John Carroll would receive her vows and pronounce to her that "she would be the mother of many daughters" alluding to the foundation of her community.

Good Morning Friends and Benefactors. Today is a very special day for us here at Saint Mary's for it was on this day 58 ...
03/17/2021

Good Morning Friends and Benefactors. Today is a very special day for us here at Saint Mary's for it was on this day 58 years ago (1963) that Saint John XXIII Beatified Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Seton was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963.
The pope said on the occasion, "In a house that was very small, but with ample space for charity, she sowed a seed in America which by Divine Grace grew into a large tree."

Pope Paul VI canonized Seton on September 14, 1975, in a ceremony in St. Peter's Square. In his words, saying these words: "Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage."

Dear Friends we are open!! Please come and visit the home in which she lived and walk in the footsteps of our first born native saint from our United States. For more information consult our website www.stmaryspacast.org

Seton's feast day is January 4, the eleventh day of Christmastide and the anniversary of her death.

Seton is the patron saint of seafarers and widows.

Good Morning friends and benefactors. Today we celebrate the life of Archbishop Ambrose Marechal a priest of St. Sulpice...
01/29/2021

Good Morning friends and benefactors. Today we celebrate the life of Archbishop Ambrose Marechal a priest of St. Sulpice, who died on January 29 1828 in Baltimore after ten years as bishop of that See. He had been a teacher at St. Mary’s Seminary and his wish was that his heart should remain in the Chapel of the seminary, where it is preserved to this day.

Dear Friends and benefactors please take a moment to read this tribute to our friend Sister Reginald. She was instrument...
01/07/2021
A final requiem for an extraordinary nun and champion of Black Catholic history - Catholic Review

Dear Friends and benefactors please take a moment to read this tribute to our friend Sister Reginald. She was instrumental in the building of our visitors center and the promotion of our Lower Chapel.

In a racially and economically tumultuous year that saw a significant rise in calls for the church to acknowledge and make reparations for its largely unreconciled practices of slavery and segregation, the loss of Sister Reginald, and her expertise in African American Catholic history, was especiall...

12/10/2020
12/10/2020
12/10/2020
Dear Friends and Benefactors of Saint Mary's Paca Street we wanted to let you know that we are observing all CDC and Cit...
12/10/2020

Dear Friends and Benefactors of Saint Mary's Paca Street we wanted to let you know that we are observing all CDC and City of Baltimore health requirements. Please be advised that you can still visit with precautions individually or in groups of ten or less.
We are open through the Christmas season 12-3:30 M-F 1-3 Sat & Sun with the exceptions of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years day.
Our sincerest Blessings to all of you this Christmas and our thanks for your continued support.

12/04/2020

🎄**Holiday Closing**🎄
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The Staff of St. Mary’s on Paca Street wishes all our visitors, guests, and supporters a healthy and happy 2020 holiday season!
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For the Site will be closed on the following days during the 2020 Season:
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• Thursday, December 24th
• Friday, December 25th
• Thursday, December 31st
• Friday, January 1st

Good Morning Friends and Benefactors.She (EAS) continues to speak to us through the years:"Cheerfulness prepares a glori...
10/13/2020

Good Morning Friends and Benefactors.
She (EAS) continues to speak to us through the years:

"Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Good afternoon friends and benefactors. We have resumed our regular hours and are covid clean compliant. Come visit we a...
10/06/2020

Good afternoon friends and benefactors. We have resumed our regular hours and are covid clean compliant. Come visit we are still blooming.

Good Morning friends of Saint Mary's. Today we share with you the sad news that our beloved Board of Trustee's member Si...
09/12/2020

Good Morning friends of Saint Mary's. Today we share with you the sad news that our beloved Board of Trustee's member Sister Mary Reginald Gerdes OSP has gone to God after over 60 years of faithful service to our church. We ask that you pray for the repose of her soul as we are. May she rest in peace. She is truly the fourth Holy Women of Paca Street and she will remain always in our hearts.

Good Morning friends and benefactors of Saint Mary's Paca street. Today we commemorate a very special day. On August 28t...
08/28/2020

Good Morning friends and benefactors of Saint Mary's Paca street. Today we commemorate a very special day. On August 28th 1774 246 years ago Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York.

Elizabeth Bayley was the daughter of a distinguished physician. She devoted a good deal of time to working among the poor, and in 1797 she joined Isabella M. Graham and others in founding the first charitable institution in New York City, the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, serving as the organization’s treasurer for seven years. She had married William M. Seton in 1794, and in 1803 they and the eldest of their five children traveled to Italy for his health. Nevertheless, in part perhaps as an aftereffect of his bankruptcy three years earlier, he died there of tuberculosis in December.

As a result of her experiences and acquaintances in Italy, Seton joined the Roman Catholic Church in New York City in 1805. Herself now a widow with small children, she found it difficult to earn a living, and many friends and relatives shunned her after her conversion (the various anti-Catholic laws of the colonial era had only recently been lifted). For a time she operated a small school for boys. In 1808 Seton accepted an invitation from the priest (later bishop) Louis William Dubourg, PSS president of St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, Maryland, to open a school for Catholic girls in that city. Several young women joined in her work, and in 1809 her long-held hope to found a religious community was realized when she and her companions took vows before Archbishop John Carroll and became the Sisters of St. Joseph, the first American-based Catholic sisterhood. Pictured her house at our site on Paca street in Baltimore

"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in whic...
07/27/2020

"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Today Marks the 229th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated on this site. For it was that on this day in 1791 that Fa...
07/22/2020

Today Marks the 229th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated on this site. For it was that on this day in 1791 that Father Francois Nagot the first rector of Saint Mary's Seminary would consecrate the Eucharist in the hastily prepared chapel; in the newly acquired "One Mile Tavern" which would serve as the Seminary's first building. Most probably In attendance were the three young Sulpicians who had accompanied him from France; Antoine Garnier, Jean Tessier, Michel Levadoux, as well as the five seminarians Francis Tulloch, John Floyd, Pierre Perrineau, John Caldwell, Jean de Mondesir. No mistake that the "Little Chapel" in the newly converted tavern was blessed and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our current Chapel circa 1808 is also consecrated to the Blessed Virgin and is named, "The Chapel of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple."

Dear Friends of Saint Mary's just a reminder We are open for tours, retreats, and days of reflection.  Our gardens are i...
07/14/2020

Dear Friends of Saint Mary's just a reminder We are open for tours, retreats, and days of reflection. Our gardens are in full bloom. Please visit.

Good Afternoon Friends and Benefactors.Today we celebrate a very special day here at our Historic Site. It was on this d...
07/02/2020

Good Afternoon Friends and Benefactors.
Today we celebrate a very special day here at our Historic Site. It was on this date July 2nd 1829 that our Beloved Oblate Sisters of Providence were Co- founded by our own Sulpician Father James Hector Nicholas Joubert, P.S.S. and Elizabeth Lange .

The Oblate Sisters of Providence is the first successful Roman Catholic sisterhood in the world established by women of African descent. It was the work of a French-born Sulpician priest and four women, who were part of the Caribbean refugee colony which began arriving in Baltimore, Maryland in the late eighteenth century. Father James Hector Nicholas Joubert, SS, a Sulpician priest discovered it was difficult for the Haitian refugee children to master their religious studies because they were unable to read. He heard of two devout religious Caribbean women who were already conducting a school for black children in their home in Baltimore. In 1828 those two women, Elizabeth Lange (later Mother Mary Lange ) and Maria Balas accepted his proposal to start a sisterhood with the primary mission of teaching and caring for African American children. After adding two more women, Rosine Boegue and American-born Theresa Duchemin, they began studying to become sisters and opened a Catholic school for girls in their convent at 5 St. Mary's Ct. in Baltimore. Thus began St. Frances Academy. It is the oldest continuously operating school for black Catholic children in the United States and is still educating children in Baltimore.​​

The four novices in this pioneer society were forced to vacate their first house and moved to a rented house at 610 George St. in the city. Here in their chapel the four women took their vows and the first women religious order of women of African descent was officially founded on July 2, 1829. In December of that year the four sisters and the school moved to a rowhouse at 48 Richmond Street. This location would be the motherhouse for the order for the next thirty one years. In the next few years the order and school quickly outgrew the rowhouse and purchased some adjoining properties. A bigger school and new chapel were built in 1836. The new chapel is especially significant because it was not only for the use of the convent of the Oblate Sisters of Providence but was also used by Baltimore's black Catholics. This would be the first time American black Catholics had their own separate chapel for worship, baptisms, marriages, confirmations and funerals.

Good Morning Benefactors & Friends of Saint Mary's. Today we commemorate one of our distinguished Alumni Father Thomas P...
06/29/2020

Good Morning Benefactors & Friends of Saint Mary's. Today we commemorate one of our distinguished Alumni Father Thomas Price founder of the Maryknolls.
On June 29,1911, Frs. Thomas F. Price and James A. Walsh, with the approval of the American hierarchy, received the final approval from Pope Pius X for the founding of a seminary for the training of young American men for foreign missions.

DEAR FRIENDS OF SAINT MARY'S PACA STREET. WE ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE WE ARE OPEN FOR TOURS, GROUPS & RETREATS. THANKS BE T...
06/22/2020

DEAR FRIENDS OF SAINT MARY'S PACA STREET. WE ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE WE ARE OPEN FOR TOURS, GROUPS & RETREATS. THANKS BE TO GOD!

Second: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton would arrive on the same Day and she writes that as her carriage approached she could ...
06/16/2020

Second: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton would arrive on the same Day and she writes that as her carriage approached she could here the bells ringing. Mother Seton would begin the Catholic parochial school system here in her second floor classroom and go on to take her first vows in the presence of Bishop Carroll in our Lower Chapel.

Although we remain closed due to the pandemic restrictions we still celebrate two momentous occasions here at Paca Stree...
06/16/2020

Although we remain closed due to the pandemic restrictions we still celebrate two momentous occasions here at Paca Street.
FIRST: On this date in 1808 on the Feast of Corpus Christi Bishop John Carroll would consecrate our chapel.
This chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (The Chapel of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple) See more on this Historic edifice on our website: www.stmaryspacast.org

Good Morning friends and benefactors of Saint Mary'sToday we remember another of our historic persons.On June 5, 1819, F...
06/05/2020

Good Morning friends and benefactors of Saint Mary's
Today we remember another of our historic persons.

On June 5, 1819, Fr. John Mary Joseph Chanche, PSS was ordained a priest as a member of the Society of St.Sulpice.

John Mary Joseph Chanche was the fourth child of Catherine Provost and John Chanche. He was born on Barre Street in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 4, 1795, and baptized on August 13, 1796, at St. Peter Church. His parents fled Santo Domingo during the slave riots between 1792 and 1793. The John Chanche family possibly originated in Orthez, France at the base of the Pyrenees, not far from Lourdes.

In 1806, at the age of eleven, John entered St. Mary's College in Baltimore. The College on Paca and St. Mary streets was within walking distance of his home. In his early years he witnessed two significant events—the construction of America's first neo-Gothic church at St. Mary's College from 1806 — 1808 and the construction of America's first cathedral by Archbishop John Carroll in Baltimore from 1806–1821.

In September 1814 he began his theological studies at St. Mary's seminary in Baltimore. In 1819 John Chanche was ordained a priest in the Society of St. Sulpice. (The Sulpician order had the primary responsibility for training priests.)

John J. Chanche, S.S. rose in the academic ranks of the seminary. From a professor he was promoted to vice-president and then to president of St. Mary's College in 1834. He was then called to the Cathedral See of Natchez by Pope Gregory XVI in 1840. By special permission he remained a member of the Sulpician order.

Possibly influenced by the construction of the two churches in Baltimore, he envisioned an impressive Gothic cathedral for his diocese. From 1842 – 1843 he worked on his cathedral in Natchez. In 1846 he built his residence adjoining the cathedral.

Bishop Chanche played major roles in the church in the United States. While attending the Provincial Council in Baltimore in 1846, he signed the document decreeing the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin the patroness of the United States. On a mission to Europe in 1848, to seek financial help for his church, he delivered the document for the unification of the Sisters of Charity in America with the Sisters of Charity in France. Upon his return to Baltimore for the Provincial Council of 1849, he brought news of the 1830 apparitions of Our Lady to Sister Catherine Laboure. In 1835 Bishop Chanche brought the first medals of the Immaculate Conception (already know as "miraculous medal" in France) to St. Joseph's Valley (near Emmitsburg, Maryland).

Bishop Chanche died in 1852 in Frederick, Maryland, after attending the First Plenary Council in Baltimore. He was buried in the Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore in 1852 and removed to the new Baltimore Cathedral Cemetery in 1878. His remains were exhumed on August 8, 2007, and arrived in Natchez on August 17, 2007, for re-interment.

Father John Kemper, restorer of historic St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel, dies at 62 | Archdiocese of Baltimore
05/29/2020
Father John Kemper, restorer of historic St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel, dies at 62 | Archdiocese of Baltimore

Father John Kemper, restorer of historic St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel, dies at 62 | Archdiocese of Baltimore

Sulpician Father John Kemper, the driving force behind the restoration of the historic St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel on Paca Street in Baltimore and a former superior for his religious society’s Province of the United States, died May 21 after an 18-month battle with esophageal cancer.

Although you can't be with us to see the beauty of our site personally, God's magnificent palette still is abundant here...
05/27/2020

Although you can't be with us to see the beauty of our site personally, God's magnificent palette still is abundant here at Historic Saint Mary's

From our Chapel door
05/27/2020

From our Chapel door

After an admirable battle with Stage 4 esophageal cancer, Father John C. Kemper, P.S.S., passed away peacefully on Thurs...
05/26/2020

After an admirable battle with Stage 4 esophageal cancer, Father John C. Kemper, P.S.S., passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 21st, after his Sulpician confreres sung the Salve Regina to him around his bed at Villa Olier. Back in 2007, Father Kemper was tasked with transforming St. Mary’s on Paca Street from a collection of buildings remaining from St. Mary’s Seminary, which closed its Paca Street location in 1969 and gifted the city the surrounding property to create St. Mary’s Park in 1977, into a pilgrimage destination and a cohesive center to celebrate the Sulpicians’ arrival to the U.S. in 1791. Please read his full obituary to better understand this incredible administrator.

Address

600 N Paca St
Baltimore, MD
21201

Opening Hours

Monday 12:00 - 15:30
Tuesday 12:00 - 15:30
Wednesday 12:00 - 15:30
Thursday 12:00 - 15:30
Friday 12:00 - 15:30
Saturday 13:00 - 15:00
Sunday 13:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(410) 728-6464

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Comments

Thank you for the informative tour for all of us at Sts Philip Neri and St Clement. WE brought the confirmation candidates as part of a retreat. I think they learned what a crypt was!!!
You folks gave my son Sean and me a great tour last October! We really appreciate it! We'll be back soon:) Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Thank you Mother Seton for many intersessions to Christ. xoxoxo
16 docents from the Baltimore Basilica visited St. Mary's yesterday. Thanks for a great talk and tour.