Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Brief Biography

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton - wife, mother, widow, convert, religious foundress, saint - was born in New York City, August 28,1774. She was the daughter of Dr. Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton Bayley, devout Episcopalians. 

At nineteen, Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, a prosperous merchant. Five children were born of the marriage. By 1803, the Seton shipping firm became bankrupt and William's health failed After a long sea voyage which it was hoped would improve his health, he died in Italy on December 27, 1803. The Filicchi family, longtime friends of William Seton, continued to befriend Elizabeth and welcomed her into their home in Leghorn. Here Elizabeth encountered Roman Catholicism for the first time. 

Elizabeth returned to New York in 1804 and, despite the opposition of family and friends, entered the Catholic church in the spring of 1805. She sought to support her family by teaching. Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore invited her to establish a school for girls in his diocese. Other young women joined her in this ministry of education and eventually they formed a religious community, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's. In 1809, they moved to Emmitsburg where Elizabeth Ann Seton lived with her growing community until her death in 1821. 

The rule of the Daughters of Charity in France, a congregation founded by St. Vincent dePaul in 1633 seemed applicable to the new community. Adaptations to this rule were made by Archbishop Carroll and by Elizabeth Seton, to suit the American situation and a foundress with a family. It became the rule of the Sisters of Charity who by the time of Elizabeth's death in 1821 were fifty in number. 

Important Dates in St. Elizabeth Ann's Life
1774 - Aug 28 Born in New York City
1794 - Jan 25 Married William Magee Seton
1803 - Dec 27 Death of her husband
1805 - Mar 14 Reception into the Catholic Church
1805 - Mar 25 First Communion
1806 - May 26 Confirmation
1808 - Jun 16 Arrival in Baltimore
1808 - Sep Opening of the Paca Street School
1809 - Mar 25 Her first vows. Received the title of "Mother"
1809 - Jun 24 Arrival at Emmitsburg, Maryland
1809 - Jul 31 Community life begins in the Stone House
1810 - Feb 22 Opening of the free school at St. Joseph's
1821 - Jan 4  Death of Mother Seton
1907 Informative Process of Cause begins
1940 - Feb 28 Introduction of Cause at Rome
1959 - Dec 18 Heroicity of virtues declared (Venerable)
1963 - Mar 17 Beatification (Blessed)
1975 - Sep 14 Canonization

Links to related web sites: 
Sisters of Charity Federation
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary