About 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.
The first men who discovered this area were European and it was the Jesuits who brought the Catholic faith to the new Maryland Colony and began their mission of evangelization in this area with the Indians tribes. Completed in 1997, this Shrine is privately owned and located at 38358 Point Breeze Road, Colton’s Point, Maryland 20626 in Saint Mary’s County, Blessed Mother’s County, Southern Maryland, USA.
Colton’s Point is a rural area next door to the St. Clement’s Island Museum and overlooking historical St. Clement’s Island, site of the birthplace of Catholicism and Religious Freedom in the English Speaking Colonies of America. In the Shrine are bricks and rocks from historical religious sites from all around the world. It is designed to be America’s Miraculous Medal.
You are encouraged to make a pilgrimage here and pray for God’s mercy, to return to the morals and principles this nation was founded upon, protection of life and religious freedom, world peace and for your special intentions, Ask our blessed Mother Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States and the Americas, for graces from her Son, JESUS CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
St Clement’s Island
Owned by the State of Maryland and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. It is approximately 40 acres now compared to it originally being 400 acres in 1634. Surrounded by the Potomac River, the Island lies between the state of Virginia and the state of Maryland located ½ mile off Colton’s Point, Maryland approximately 27 miles north on the Potomac River from Point Lookout.
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 first recorded Mass in the English Speaking Colonies was celebrated by Father Andrew White, S.J. on the feast day of the Annunciation, March 25, 1634. According to Father Andrew White, S.J., in his journal, the Relatio Itinieris in Marylandium, he wrote:
“On the day of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Virgin, Mary in the year 1634, we celebrated the mass for the first time on this island. This had never been done before in this part of the world. After we had completed the sacrifice, we took upon our shoulders a great cross, which we had hewn out of a tree, and advancing in order to the appointed place, with the assistance of the Governor and his associates and the other Catholics, we erected a trophy to Christ the Saviour, humbly reciting, on our bended knees, the Litanies of the Sacred Cross, with great emotion.”
After the Mass, the early colonists erected a wooden cross and recited the Litany of the Holy Cross on bended knee. The first Maryland Governor, Leonard Calvert was present and read aloud Lord Baltimore’s instructions and took formal possession of the new Maryland Colony founded on principles of religious freedom from this location. Two days later, the colonists sailed to their new settlement, St. Mary’s City.
Blackistone Lighthouse is a replica lighthouse built in 2008. The original Lighthouse dates back to 1848. It is situated near the 40 foot white Cross on the island. A group called St. Clement’s Hundred raised funds for it and help to take care for it.
The St. Mary’s County Government owns a water taxi and can transport 20 persons from the pier in front of the Museum to the Island on weekends from the end of May through September. If you would like to visit , please contact St. Clement’s Island Museum 301-769-2222