St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast Day: January 4
Elizabeth had been born to rich parents in New York City in 1774. Her parents taught her to care about others. When Elizabeth grew up, she fell in love with William Seton. They married in 1794.
Between 1794 and 1803, when William died, the happy couple had five children. But when he died, William left his family with no money. So after his death, Elizabeth had to find work. Her friends and family refused to help her. Why? Because Elizabeth had chosen to become a Catholic. This decision changed her whole life.
In 1808, Elizabeth and her children moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland. There, she founded a school for the poor. Soon other women joined Elizabeth in her work. This group of women became the Sisters of Charity.
In the years that followed, Elizabeth created the first Catholic parish school, which led to the development of the Catholic school system in the United States. She also started the first Catholic orphanage in America in New York City. By the time she died in 1821—at the age of 46—she had founded 20 convents. Today, six separate religious orders of women in the United States trace their roots to the beginnings of the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg.
On September 14, 1975, Pope Paul VI canonized Elizabeth Seton. She is the first saint born in United States. Her choice to follow God’s will led to great good for all of us.
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