Seton, Saint Elizabeth Ann

Seton, Saint Elizabeth Ann
orig. Elizabeth Ann Bayley known as Mother Seton

born Aug. 28, 1774, New York, N.Y.
died Jan. 4, 1821, Emmitsburg, Md., U.S.; canonized Sept. 14, 1975; feast day January 4

U.S. religious leader and educator, the first native-born U.S. citizen canonized by the Roman Catholic church.

Born into an upper-class family, she married William Magee Seton in 1794. In 1797 she founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, and in 1803 she was herself left a widow with five children. After converting from Episcopalianism to Roman Catholicism in 1805, she opened a free Catholic elementary school in Baltimore, Md., in 1809. In 1813 she founded the Sisters of Charity, the first U.S. religious order, and she served as its superior until her death. She is often considered the mother of the parochial school system in the U.S.

* * *

▪ American saint
née  Elizabeth Ann Bayley 
born Aug. 28, 1774, New York, N.Y. [U.S.]
died Jan. 4, 1821, Emmitsburg, Md., U.S.; canonized 1975; feast day January 4

      first native-born American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic church. She was the founder of the Sisters of Charity (Charity, Sisters of), the first American religious society.

      Elizabeth Bayley was the daughter of a distinguished physician. She devoted a good deal of time to working among the poor, and in 1797 she joined Isabella M. Graham (Graham, Isabella Marshall) and others in founding the first charitable institution in New York City, the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children, serving as the organization's treasurer for seven years. She had married William M. Seton in 1794, and in 1803 they and the eldest of their five children traveled to Italy for his health. Nevertheless, in part perhaps as an aftereffect of his bankruptcy three years earlier, he died there in December. She returned to New York City and, as a result of her experiences and acquaintances in Italy, joined the Roman Catholic church in 1805. She found it difficult to earn a living, partly because many friends and relatives shunned her after her conversion. For a time she operated a small school for boys.In 1808 Seton accepted an invitation from the Reverend William Dubourg, president of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, Maryland, to open a school for Catholic girls in that city. Several young women joined in her work, and in 1809 her long-held hope to found a religious community was realized when she and her companions took vows before Archbishop John Carroll and became the Sisters of St. Joseph, the first American-based Catholic sisterhood. A few months later Mother Seton and the Sisters moved their home and school to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where they provided free education for the poor girls of the parish—an act later considered by many to be the beginning of Catholic parochial education in the United States. In 1812 the order became the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph under a modification of the rule of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Houses of the order were opened in Philadelphia in 1814 and in New York City in 1817. Mother Seton continued to teach and work for the community until her death in 1821, by which time the order had 20 communities. In 1856 Seton Hall College (now University) was named for her. She was canonized in September 1975.

Additional Reading
Ellin Kelly and Annabelle Melville (eds.), Elizabeth Seton: Selected Writings (1987).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Seton, Saint Elizabeth Ann — • Biography of the founder of the Sisters of Charity in the United States Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Seton,Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley — Se·ton (sētʹn), Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley. Known as “Mother Seton.” 1774 1821. American religious leader. A widowed mother of five, she converted to Catholicism (1805), opened a parochial school in Maryland, and founded a religious order, the… …   Universalium

  • Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton — noun United States religious leader who was the first person born in the United States to be canonized (1774 1821) • Syn: ↑Seton, ↑Elizabeth Seton, ↑Mother Seton • Instance Hypernyms: ↑religious leader …   Useful english dictionary

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton — Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Foundress and Educator Born August 28, 1774(1774 08 28 …   Wikipedia

  • Saint Elizabeth — may refer to:*Saint Elizabeth (Biblical person), the mother of John the Baptist *Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207 ndash;1231) *Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (1271 ndash;1336) *Saint Elizabeth of Reute (1386 ndash;1420) *Saint Elizabeth the New… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton — Elizabeth Ann Seton Pour les articles homonymes, voir Seton. Sainte Elisabeth Ann Seton Fondatrice …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint — • Biography of the founder of the Sisters of Charity in the United States Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Seton. Sainte Elisabeth Ann Seton Fondatrice Naissance 28 août 1774 New York Décès 4 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton —     St. Elizabeth Ann Seton     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► St. Elizabeth Ann Seton     Foundress and first superior of the Sisters of Charity in the United States, b. in New York City, 28 Aug., 1774, of non Catholic parents of high position; d. at …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton — Basic information Location 333 South Seton Av Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States Affiliation Roman Catholic District Archdiocese of Baltimore Ecclesiastical or organizational status …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”