Monday, January 2, 2012

Saint Elizabeth Seton [American Saint]

St Elizabeth Seton  [August 28th 1774 - January 4th 1821] was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Church. [September 14th 1975]
Elizabeth was born on 28th August 1774 in New York.  She was raised in the Episcopal Church.  Her mother died when Elizabeth was 3 years old.
In 1794 Elizabeth married William Seton.  They were very happy and had five children.  But William got ill and his doctors advised him to go to Italy for the warmer climate. Elizabeth and their eldest daughter went with him, but William died of tuberculosis on 27th December 1803.
While staying with the Italian family[William's Italian business partners] Elizabeth was introduced to the actual practice of Roman Catholicism.
After her return to America she converted to Catholicism.  Elizabeth supported herself and her children by starting an academy for ladies but when news of her conversion to Rome spread, however, most of the parents withdrew their children due to the anti-Catholic sentiment of the day.  Around this time Elizabeth met a visiting priest the Abbe Louis Dubourg, S.S., who was a member of the French emigre community of Sulpician Fathers.
In 1809 after trying and difficult years Elizabeth established in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the St Joseph's Academy and Free school, a school dedicated to the education of Catholic girls.  In July that year Elizabeth established a religious community in Emmitsburg, dedicated to the care of the children of the poor.  It was the first congregation of Religious Sisters to be founded in the United States, and its school was the first free Catholic school in America.

From that point on Elizabeth was known as "Mother Seton".  The rest of her life was spent leading her new congregation.  She advised her sisters "To do the will of God, to do it in the manner He wills it, and to do it because it is His will.
Elizabeth had a heart full of love for the poor, the Eucharist, Mary our Mother and her community.  She died of tuberculosis on January 4th 1821 at the age of 46.  Her remains are entombed in the Basilica that bears her name:  the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Seton.

Elizabeth was beatified by Pope John XX111 on 17th March 1963 and she was canonized by Pope Paul V1 on 14th September 1975. 

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