St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the Saint born in the United States. After facing great loss and tragedy, she focused her life on the needs of others. Juan Ruiz, SJ, reflects on her life and reminds us that her selflessness serves as a model for us to follow.
In the face of personal tragedy and driven by the needs in a new nation, Elizabeth Ann Seton’s selfless response led to her becoming the first American-born saint in the Catholic Church.
Hi, I’m Juan Ruiz with the Jesuit Post.
Born in 1774 into a well-to-do Protestant family, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was truly a daughter of the American Revolution.
At 19, she married a wealthy businessman with whom she had five children. Then tragedy struck.
Her husband’s business failed, and he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. While caring for him, she converted to Catholicism. His health never recovered. When he died, Elizabeth was left as a poor widow of five.
With nothing to her name, she moved to Maryland and opened the first free parochial school for the education of girls.
Not long after, others were attracted to her mission, and she founded the first community for women religious in the United States.
Despite tragedy and overwhelming challenges, Elizabeth Ann Seton’s selfless response led to her becoming a true founder of the American Catholic Church and a model for us today.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us.