Welcome to St. Mary’s Historic Site on Paca Street!

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Covid Restrictions Lifted

Dear friends, benefactors, and visitors: Please be aware that all of the Covid restrictions have been lifted in Baltimore city for group gatherings. As such, we are fully open and happy to welcome all groups for tours, days of reflection, retreats, staff meetings, faculty meetings, and other events with full service hospitality.

Please call (+1) 410-728-6464 or email us at info@stmaryspacast.org to reserve space. Come for a day of peace and tranquility.

St. Mary’s Historic Site is a unique place, both in its history of the Catholic Church in the United States and in its contemporary spiritual ministry. Located at 600 North Paca Street, St. Mary’s Historic Site is home to two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: the Mother Seton House and the Historic Seminary Chapel. The site is also home to St. Mary’s Spiritual Center.

Historic Site

Mother Seton House • Historic Seminary Chapel • Visitor Center

Mother Seton House

In 1791, at the invitation of Bishop John Carroll, the Sulpician Fathers arrived in the City of Baltimore and settled on this very site to begin the first Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States. Bishop Carroll knew of the Sulpician Fathers’ unique ministry of priestly formation from their ministry in France, and thus he invited them to come to his young diocese in the United States to do their ministry of priestly formation in this new land. The seminary, founded in 1791, was initially located in a building on the southeast corner of the property known as the One Mile Tavern. With the help of Bishop John Carroll and others, the Sulpicians were able to purchase additional property adjoining the One Mile Tavern and build St. Mary’s College and Seminary.

The only remaining structure of the seminary is the Historic Chapel. The building of the chapel began in 1806 and was completed and dedicated in 1808. The chapel was designed by the renowned French architect Maximilian Godefroy, who himself was a friend of Benjamin Latrobe, often referred to as the Father of American Architecture. The chapel attracts architectural students as well as pilgrims to the site.

The other historic building located on the site is the of home of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton. In 1975, Mother Seton, as she is commonly known, became the first U.S.-born canonized saint within the Catholic Church. Mother Seton, a wife, mother, widow, convert, educator, and finally saint, offers a wonderful example of all that we can be with the grace of God. Mother Seton arrived at the Paca Street home the day of the dedication of the Seminary Chapel in 1808. She came to Baltimore at the invitation of Sulpician Father Louis W. DuBourg, who was then president of St. Mary’s College & Seminary. She, her three daughters, and several other girls called the Paca Street house their home for only one year, 1808 to 1809. During that year, she befriended a student at St. Mary’s named Samuel Cooper. Mr. Cooper, a man of resources, gave Elizabeth Bayley Seton eight thousand dollars with which she purchased St. Joseph’s Valley in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

In 1809 she left her humble roots on Paca Street and began her 3-day journey to Emmitsburg. While in Emmitsburg, once again under the tutelage of the Sulpician Fathers, Mother Seton began her new ministry of Catholic education. It was Sulpician Father Dubois who welcomed her to Emmitsburg and helped her become established in her new home. Her relocation to Emmitsburg was eased by the fact that the Sulpician Fathers were present as neighbors to her at Mount St. Mary’s College and Seminary, founded by the Sulpician Fathers in 1808. This institution and the presence of the Sulpician Fathers, gave great support and solace to the young widow and her dreams of founding a religious congregation and establishing a school for girls in Emmitsburg.

Clergy and Religious Please Note:

Letters of Suitability

In light of the provisions of canon 903 CIC and canon 703 §1 CCEO, and the USCCB Dallas Charter (2002), Letters of Suitability are required in advance by all clergy, deacons, and religious when performing ministerial duties at St. Mary’s Spiritual Center & Historic Site, Inc., 600 N. Paca Street, Baltimore, MD  21201.

Please direct all letters to:

Deacon Vito S. Piazza, Sr., Director
St. Mary’s Spiritual Center & Historic Site, Inc.
600 N. Paca Street
Baltimore, MD  21201

Tour Hours

The site has reopened for guests during regular hours.

Please note that visitors will be required to wear a mask while on the premises and practice social distancing.

Monday: Noon – 3:30 pm
Tuesday: Noon – 3:30 pm
Wednesday: Noon – 3:30 pm
Thursday: Noon – 3:30 pm
Friday: Noon – 3:30 pm
Saturday: 1 pm – 3 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 3 pm

Winter Months:
The first concern of St. Mary’s on Paca Street is the safety of our visitors, guests, and docents.

Weekdays: If Baltimore County schools are closed, we will also be closed.

Weekends: If Baltimore City has a Snow Emergency Phase in effect or severe weather conditions are predicted for weekends, we will be closed those days.

 

For Information

St. Mary’s Spiritual Center & Historic Site
600 North Paca St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m-4:30 p.m.

Phone: +1 410-728-6464

Click to Email Us

St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore
St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore
Dear Friends and Benefactors, On July 18th1791 Fr. Nagot the First Rector of the Seminary moved everyone into the Inn (The One Mile Tavern) and then directed their attention to the conversion of a room into a chapel that he blessed and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. There the first celebration of Mass took place on July 20th Probably led by Nagot. (excerpted from The Life and Times of Francois Charles Nagot by Thomas R. Ulshafer, PSS) Pictured One Mile Tavern, Fr. Francois Nagot, Original Deed to the Tavern.
St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore
St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site on Paca Street, Baltimore
Dear Friends, Please be aware that all of the covid restrictions have been lifted in Baltimore city for group gatherings. As such, we are happy to welcome all groups for tours, days of reflection, retreats, staff meetings, faculty meetings etc. with full service hospitality.
PLEASE CALL 410-728-6464 to reserve. Come for a day of peace and tranquility.