What Are Some Facts About Elizabeth Ann Seton?

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York City on August 28, 1774, two years before the American Revolution. She was an advocate for the poor in the 18th and 19th centuries and is currently the patron of in-law problems, widows, the death of parents and the opposition of Church authorities in the Catholic religion.

Elizabeth was the second daughter of Dr. Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton. She grew up among the upper class of New York City and was a prolific reader of contemporary novels and the Bible. In 1794, she married William Seton, who died of tuberculosis, leaving her with five children, two of whom died at a young age. She grew up in a firm Protestant setting but joined Roman Catholicism in June 1804 after travelling to Italy with her husband.

In 1809, Elizabeth founded The Sisters of Charity, the first American congregation of religious sisters that focused on children, education and the poor. She also established the first Catholic girl's school and orphanage in the United States. Elizabeth Ann Seton died of tuberculosis in Emmitsburg, Maryland, at the age of 46. Pope John XXIII beatified her on March 17, 1963, and in 1975 Pope Paul VI canonized her as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, making her the first canonized American native. Her feast day is January 4.