Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton was the daughter of Dr. Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton. He was born into a church family episcospaliana of entrenched and strong religion. His father was a surgeon and the first health officer of the Port of New York, and later was professor of anatomy at King’s College (Columbia University). Being very young, his mother Catherine died. His childhood was spent in New York and New Rochelle (New York). As a child, being parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, demonstrated strong spiritual leanings, and before and after his conversion to Catholicism, he liked to spend his time before the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in nearby San Pedro. At nineteen he married (January 25, 1794) with William Magee Seton, a wealthy businessman and owner of ships. Of their five children: Anna Maria, Guillermo, Ricardo, Catherine and Rebecca.Following the bankruptcy of her husband’s business after the sinking of several of its ships, the family was ruined. Soon, her husband fell ill with tuberculosis. In search of a better climate for their illness, marriage and the eldest daughter embarked for Italy. But already in port, during the quarantine law, William Seton died (December 27, 1803). Widowed at twenty-nine and five children, Elizabeth Ann was welcomed by Felicchi of Livorno, a wealthy Catholic family who had business relationships and great friendship with Seton. In coexistence with their hosts, Ana Isabel began to approach the Catholic faith. After returning to New York, Ana Isabel conviti to Catholicism, was baptized (March 14, 1805) by the first bishop of Baltimore, John Carroll, about the same time that the U.S. won independence. Later, one of his nephews, James Roosevelt Bayley, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.After his conversion to Catholicism has lost the favor of his friends and family. Despite the family hostility and hardship that was found after the ruin that had been her husband’s business, went ahead in the idea of founding a school for poor girls. In June 1808, was invited by John Carroll in Baltimore to open a school for girls, but the attempt failed due to anti-Catholicism of the society of the time. On March 25, 1809 and made his first vows on June 1 of that year, along with several women who espoused the idea, founded a religious community. At the invitation of Samuel Cooper Sutherland, school girls, under the name Free Academy School and San Jose, moved to Emmitsburg (Maryland) on June 24, 1809, beginning one month after classes at the Stone House, San Jose Valley.On January 17, 1812 were approved the rules and constitutions of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph for the training of poor girls, which was the first parochial school in the USA. Inspired by the spirituality of the Daughters of Charity, founded by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, France (1633), was also the first female Roman Catholic order of the United States. Ana Isabel was characterized as a very pleasant and educated woman. The greatest difficulties they faced were internal, from misunderstandings or personality conflicts, and the death of two of his daughters, loved ones and several younger sisters of the community. The rest of his life, until his death from tuberculosis at the age of 46 years, was occupied in directing and developing the new order, to the will of God, his devotion to the Eucharist, Scripture and the Virgin Mary. Psalm 23 was his favorite throughout his life of prayer.His remains were buried in the Basilica that bears his name: the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Emmitsburg, Maryland).

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