Kulpmont native returns, bearing gifts for St. Pauline Society
RANSHAW - The Rev. John C. Kemper drew parallels between Saints Mother Pauline and Elizabeth Ann Seton in a return to his native area Saturday night for the annual dinner of the Saint Mother Pauline Foundation.
"They knew what hardship was; they knew what struggle was," Kemper, executive director of St. Mary's Spiritual Center and Historic Site in Baltimore, Md., told the crowd of about 100 at the Brady Fire Company social hall.
The saintly women also shared similar causes, including helping the poor, working to education children and spreading the gospel, Kemper said.
The Kulpmont native came to his home territory bearing gifts that will further link the two organizations. He presented to the Kulpmont-based St. Pauline Society a framed, limited edition print signed by the artist called "Mother Seton of Paca Street," as well as a first-class relic, a piece of bone, from Mother Seton.
Kemper noted how the painting depicts multiple generations of children surrounding Mother Seton, including one carrying her laptop to school. Artist Peter William Gray has said it reflects the continuation of her work into the 21st century.
The work and dream of Mother Seton, founder of the Daughters and Sisters of Charity, continues today in Baltimore, "much like that of Mother Pauline" in the lower anthracite region, Kemper said.
The St. Mary's Spiritual Center & Historic Site is home to two historic buildings, the Mother Seton House and the Historic Seminary Chapel.
Gray, whose recent works have been featured in the St. Anthony Messenger and hung in the Catholic Charities Chapel in Washington, D.C., said he created "Mother Seton of Paca Street" to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her beatification on March 17, 1963, along with the 50th anniversary of the Mother Seton House, located on Paca Street, being opened to the public.
The three-story house is where Seton and her three daughters came in 1808, from New York City, to establish a boarding school for girls, five years after the death of Mrs. Seton's husband. During her time in this house, Elizabeth Seton made her decision to take the vows of a Daughter of Charity.
Seton, who died in 1821, was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, on Sept. 14, 1975.
The St. Mother Pauline Foundation was established in 2003 with the purchase and renovation of the former Saint Casimir Church in Kulpmont. The center is designed for people of all faiths and beliefs as a place to pray and view the relics of Saint Pauline, foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil, South America. Mother Pauline, who died in 1942, was canonized on May 19, 2002.