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Saint Elizabeth Ann <I>Bayley</I> Seton

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Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton

  • Original Name Bayley
  • Birth 28 Aug 1774 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Death 4 Jan 1821 Emmitsburg, Frederick County, Maryland, USA
  • Burial Emmitsburg, Frederick County, Maryland, USA
  • Memorial ID 943

Roman Catholic Religious Leader. When she was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI, she was the first native-born United States Citizen to be made a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church. She was born in New York City and given the name Elizabeth Ann, two years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to Doctor Richard and Catherine Bayley, both devout Episcopalians. At the age of nineteen she was married to a prosperous merchant, William Seton. The marriage produced five children. The Setons were soon bankrupt, followed by the death of William with tuberculosis after a long sea voyage to Italy. She found herself a widow in a foreign country. Upon her return, Elizabeth converted to the Catholic faith and took up teaching in order to support her family. Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore invited her to establish a school for girls in his diocese. Other young women joined her and they formed a religious community, The Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's. In 1809 they set up a school in Emmitsburg, Maryland where she was referred to as Mother Seton. Along with the members of her order, her family also lived at the newly formed convent and school. Stricken with tuberculosis, death claimed her life at the young age of 46. She was buried on the property. Both of her sons were at sea at the time of her death and burial. When they returned six months later, they gave a substantial donation for the building of a mortuary chapel. Upon completion in 1846, Mother Seton was transferred to it. At the time of her beatification in March 1963, she was exhumed and her remains were placed in a small copper casket and enshrined above the altar in St. Joseph's College Chapel. Five years later a special shrine was built in 1965 in anticipation of her canonization at St. Joseph's Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity at Emmitsburg, Maryland. Her remains were transferred and now rest beneath the altar. In 1975 when she was proclaimed a saint during ceremonies at Vatican City before some 15,000 Americans, she left an enormous legacy. She founded the first parochial school in America and at the same time the first Catholic order of nuns in the United States which at the time of the canonization numbered over 8,000 sisters in six communities on three continents. Perhaps more as testament to modern times than to the durability of Mother Seton, the school she founded in Emmitsburg, Maryland was forced to close in 1973. The four-year college which at one time also featured an elementary and secondary school, was a victim of hard times.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 943
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (28 Aug 1774–4 Jan 1821), Find A Grave Memorial no. 943, citing National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, Frederick County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .