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Saint of the Day - Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born August 28, 1774 and died January 4, 1821. She was the first person born in the United States to be canonized.

Image found at Used as being in the public domain.

I remember way back in 1975 when she was canonized by Pope Saint Paul VI.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in 1774 - prior to the issuance of the American Declaration of Independence - in New York to a wealthy and influential family. Her birth name was Elizabeth Ann Bayley. She grew up in a quiet and oft-times lifestyle. She was a voracious reader, reading everything from the Bible to novels of her day. the Bible was to be her constant companion throughout her life.

Elizabeth married the young and prosperous William Seton in 1794. Elizabeth was madly in love with William and was quite happy in this marriage. Sadly, her happiness was to be short-lived. William's father died about four short years into the marriage, leaving William to care for the business as well as his siblings. The business, an import business, would soon fail. So would William's health.

After filing for bankruptcy protection, Elizabeth and Ann left for Italy, where William had business contacts. The move to Italy did not help and William died there of tuberculosis. Elizabeth Ann took solace in the fact that William started to gain an interest in the spiritual things before the end came.

With the death of William, Elizabeth was alone and separated from her family by a long distance. It was because of these factors that Elizabeth turned to the Catholic Church.

Elizabeth lost her mother at a young age and truly depended on our Holy Mother to be her mother. She asked Our Lady to guide her in the path that God had created for her.

Elizabeth started her first school in Baltimore, Maryland at the suggestion of the President of St. Mary's College in Baltimore. The school started as a secular school until word of her conversion to Catholicism spread. This led to the removal of several girls from the school. This led to her and two young lady's who helped her with the school lay the groundwork for a group of religious sisters who would operate Catholic Schools. They opened the first free Catholic school in the United States. They also made arrangements for Elizabeth to continue rearing her own children.

On March 29, 1805, Elizabeth Ann Seton declared her vows os poverty, obedience, and chastity. These vows were binding for only one year. From that date forward, however, she was known as Mother Seton, a name that is still borne by her.

The rules for Mother Seton's order was based on the rules of St. Vincent de Paul for his Daughters of Charity. They were approved by the Vatican in 1812.

Mother Seton would become afflicted with tuberculosis, but would continue to raise her own children.

Elizabeth Ann Seton died on January 4, 1821 at the young age of 46. She and her sisters had started, in addition to their first school, two orphanages and another school.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was well-known for her love of the Eucharist, for Sacred Scripture and for the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are six groups of sisters today who can trace their origins back to the initial groundwork of Mother Seton.

The parish hall at my church in Gadsden is called Seton Hall. There are many churches and parish halls named for her around the United States.

A Prayer in Honor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton:

Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and women. We ask this through Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Information for this article gleaned from .com and

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!


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