Wife, Mother, and Foundress of the Sisters of Charity (1774-1821)
+ Born into a wealthy Episcopalian family in New York, Elizabeth received the best education available to a young woman of her day.
+ At the age of nineteen, she married William Seton and the couple had five children. Following the loss of their fortune and the death of her husband, Elizabeth was received into the Catholic Church in 1803.
+ Having been abandoned by family and friends because of her conversion, a priest in Baltimore invited her to establish a school for girls in that city. The school was officially opened in 1808 and immediately flourished.
+ Gathering together a group of like-minded women, Elizabeth and her companions made religious vows in 1809. The community eventually moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and, in time, they became known as the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.
+ Mother Seton wrote and translated textbooks and composed numerous hymns and spiritual tracts for the community. She and her sisters are regarded as the founders of the American parochial school system.
+ Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton died of tuberculosis in 1821 and was canonized in 1975, becoming the first person born in the United States to be honored as a saint.
In 1850, Mother’s Seton’s sisters in Emmitsburg adopted the rule and habit of the French Daughters of Charity, establishing a connection to that community that continues to this day.
“What is the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know it was to do his Father’s will. Well, then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.”—Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
To learn more about the Daughters of Charity (Province of St. Louise), click here.
To learn more about the Daughters of Charity (Los Altos Hills Province), click here.
O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s burning zeal to find you,
grant by her intercession and example
that we may always seek you with diligent love
and find you in daily service with sincere faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Prayer from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.