Portrait d'E. Seton
Eglise E. Seton - New York
America's firth native-born saint, Elisabeth
grow up in a wealthy and prominent Episcopalian family. Her father,
a doctor, was New York York's first public health officer. Her mother
died when she was three.
Elizabeth's lonely childhood was exacerbated
by her father's absorption in his work and, on his remarrying, by
her stepmother's dislike of her.
Her happy marriage to William Seton in 1794
- they had five children - ended with his death in 1804 from tuberculosis.
He died while in Italy with Elizabeth, on a trip meant to restore
Elizabeth became a Catholic on her return
to New York, attracted by her experience of the church in Italy.
Feeling the sting of anti-Catholic prejudice - common, at the time
Portrait Elizabeth Ann Seton
St Patrick Cathedral - New York City
accepted an invitation to open a school in the diocese of Baltimore,
She moved there with her children and,
not long after, started a Catholic chool that accepted children
of the poor at no charge. Other women joined her in the work and
this was the beginning of the Sisters of Charity, the first religious
order founded in the United States.
Seton endured painful losses in her later
years. Two of her daughters and two sistcrs-in1-law died. "I have
lost the little friend of my heart," she said of her fourteen-year-old
Her religious order flourished, not without
difficulty, and today six branches of the Sisters of Charity trace
their origin to Elizabeth Seton.
Feast : January 4.