St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Our Patron Saint

St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native-born American Saint. She was canonized on September 15, 1975. Her feast day is celebrated on January 4th. Many can relate to Elizabeth Seton's life: she was a daughter, an Episcopalian, a wife, a mother, a widow, a convert to Catholicism, and a nun.

In her short span of 47 years (1774-1821), Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton went from riches to poverty. She was born on August 28, 1774. Her father was a physician and professor; her mother died when she was very young. Her grandfather was rector of St. Andrew's Episcopalian Church on Staten Island. 

Elizabeth showed a deep concern for the poor and the sick. She married William Seton, a wealthy merchant, and they had five children. While on a trip to Italy to restore William's health in 1803, her husband died, and Mrs. Seton's first months of widowhood were spent with a Catholic family there. She came to admire, and then share their belief of the True Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

She returned to the United States and in 1805, Elizabeth was received into the Catholic Church. Because of her conversion she was ostracized by her family. Nevertheless, she continued to perform great works of mercy and charity. In 1807 she founded a school for girls in Baltimore. She began the first American Community of Sisters - "The Sisters of Charity." Later, she and several companions adopted a modified rule of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

She laid the foundation of the American parochial school system, trained teachers, prepared textbooks, wrote spiritual reflections, visited the sick and the poor and established several orphanages.

Her motto: "Live simply that others may simply live."