Welcome to St Mary’s County, Maryland, U.S.A.

Birthplace of Religious Freedom in the English American Colonies

Mother of Light Shrine

The Shrine

When one stands in front of the Mother of Light Shrine facing the Potomac River, (originally named St. Gregory’s River by the early settlers in 1634) as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, there is no doubt that this is the true gateway of America, the Jesuit Gateway.

St Clement’s Island

There is a 40 foot white cross which marks the site of the birthplace. It was here that over 140 European settlers arrived on the Ark and Dove ships in early March 1634 in search of a new colony founded on principles of religious freedom.

“The Finger of God is in this and He purposes some great benefit to this nation.”

Father Andrew White, S.J.

Relatio Itineris in Marylandiam