Demetrius Gallitzin was ordained on March 18, 1795, “the first-born of the Catholic Church in America”, as Orestes Brownson titled him, the first priest to receive all of his Orders in this Country, and surely, the first fruit of the prayers of the first Carmel in America.
This Carmel had its beginnings when four daughters of St. Teresa, three Americans and an Englishwoman, left the Carmel of Hoogstraet in Belgium to become the first women religious in the United States. They landed at Port Tobacco, Maryland on July 11, 1790, where they established the first Carmelite Monastery. (By 1831, however, they found it necessary to resettle the Carmel in the city of Baltimore.)
After his ordination, Father Gallitzin returned from his vacation at Georgetown, traveling through southern Maryland. Bishop Carroll’s letter to him there, dated April 17, 1795, discloses “Mitri’s” desire to remain in Maryland for the rest of his life! He was fascinated and delighted with all he saw in the vicinity.
“Southern Maryland was the most Catholic place in the new United States… Everything about Charles County, Maryland, pleased the newly ordained, 24-year-old Prince-Priest and provided him with a model for the Catholic community he would one day establish.”