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Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill Garden Collaboration

A result of eleven months of conversation, research, planning, and praying initiated by nine of our sisters who brought home the idea from a June 2015 retreat in Emmitsburg. The project is about the Sisters of Charity and Seton Hill University staff and students united in sharing the joys of being one with the earth and one in growing food for our tables and for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

The Inception of Harvesting

An Emmitsburg June retreat in 2015 entitled “Cosmic Symphony of Love Unfolding” inspired the nine Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in attendance to consider how we might have a more vibrant interaction with the beautiful landscape of our provincial property Caritas Christi. On October 12, 2016 and eight hundred pounds of potatoes later we celebrated what that interaction brought forth, a fruitful harvest and a genuine re-connection to the sacred land of the Sisters of Charity.

Caring for the Earth

Care for nature, care for earth, care for the Environment! These are the phrases being echoed around the world today in light of the dramatic climate changes that are affecting our world. Touching clumps of earth, embracing the fruits of creation, entering into a deep relationship with the earth that is our home is reflected also in the six hundred pound onion harvest of September 2017. Sisters of Charity and student volunteers laughed and shared gardening stories throughout the onion picking experience.

Expansion of our Land's Beauty and Purpose

And that’s not all. A bat house is waiting patiently for occupants to set up housekeeping on the garden edge and a butterfly garden is in process to support the monarch butterfly population. Nectar flowers and milk weed have been planted, large flat stones are in place, and two birdbaths have been provided, all necessary elements for monarch butterflies to flourish. Experiencing earth and earth’s community of soil, insects, vegetation, and animal life images the community life of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill striving to live together in harmony and bearing fruit for others. Care for earth is caring for one another.

Gardening Collaboration Information


Located on the grounds between the
Sisters of Charity Complex and Seton Hill University.

Sisters in Charge

Sister Barbara Ann Smelko, SC