This weekend marked my first visit with my in-laws since my consecration to Mary. We drove to New York State to attend a SUNY graduation ceremony of my niece. As all long car trips go with a family of young children, the trip itself was both an act of charity and serious penance. All along the way, however, we were showered with graces.
Our first accidental stop brought us to the truly beautiful, National Shrine of the Lourdes Grotto. A seventy foot Mary statute marks the spot where our first American Saint, Mother Seton attended church. I saw the rock where Mother Seton sat to teach her children catechism.
I have a special place for Mother Seton in my heart. She started the Daughters of Charity, which is the order of my RICA instructor, Sister Rita. I started RICA two weeks before September 11th. All during that numb aftermath, Sister Rita strengthened our faith by describing the heroic works of Saint Peter's chapel, the closest Catholic parish to Ground Zero. (Saint Peter's is the oldest Catholic parish in New York City and was were Mother Seton was formally received into the Catholic faith as an adult.)
Turns out that Mother Seton's official shrine is only forty minutes from my house. I look forward to exploring more of Maryland's fascinating Catholic past this summer.