Seton, Saint Elizabeth Ann

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Seton, Saint Elizabeth Ann,

1774–1821, American Roman Catholic leader, usually called Mother Seton, b. Elizabeth Ann Bayley, New York City. She was the daughter of a prominent physician. Her husband, William Seton, a successful merchant, died (1803) in Italy, leaving her with five young children. Soon afterward she became (1805) a Roman Catholic. This conversion severed her from her relatives, and she started a school in New York City to support her family. In 1808, invited by Bishop Carroll, she opened a school in Baltimore, then moved (1809) to Emmitsburg, Md., already the seat of a Catholic school for boys, Mt. St. Mary's. There she opened the first Catholic free school, the beginning of American parochial education and also founded St. Joseph's College (for women). About her she formed a community of women, which soon adopted the rule of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the great sisterhood centered in Paris. This was the first American congregation of Daughters of Charity (or Sisters of Charity). Mother Seton was superior of her community; this had grown into 20 communities before her death. She was beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1975, thereby making her the first native-born American saint. Feast: Jan. 4. Her journals, letters, and memoirs have been published.


See tr. of selected writings by E. Kelly and A. Melville (1987).

References in periodicals archive ?
Mother Seton was gentle in dealing with the children in her charge (Dirvin, 1962).
Sheyne Calleja, of Mother Seton Hospital, said Lupi Mayor Raul Matamorosa, 45, did not survive the operation that lasted almost eight hours.
In the 1980's, she received the Mother Seton Award for her contributions to religious education in the diocesan schools in Worcester.
Intent on living out a mission of service to the poor, they pooled personnel and finances to found and run Mother Seton Academy, a school for some of the city's most impoverished and educationally deprived middle-schoolers.
Shortly after that, in the late 1970s, Dear said, "I was reading a biography of Mother Seton and I suddenly came to my senses - I knew I wanted to give my life to God, to become a priest.