Monday, January 4, 2010

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Aug. 28, 1774 to Jan. 4, 1821)

The most vivid memory I have of my mom getting her M.Ed. degree when I was five-years-old was of a nun, dressed entirely in white, who was being pushed across the stage in a wheel chair as she sat upright and motionless.
I thought she was dead and several other nuns who were sitting nearby and heard my comment, giggled. They told my dad that they thought I was cute. Maybe I was with long, tousled curls and big eyes and I imagine the innocence in what I said would have put a smile on even the most serious nun's face.
The women told my dad that they were Sisters of Charity. The group was founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton who was born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on Aug. 28, 1774 in New York City, New York to a wealthy Episcopalian family.
She married William Magee Seton at age 19 and they had five children. Her husband's health was failing so the couple and one daughter moved to Italy to be in a warmer climate. William Seton died in 1803 and fifteen months later, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton converted to Catholicism.
She died in Emmitsburg, Maryland on Jan. 4, 1821. She was canonized in 1975, making her the first native born United States citizen to become a Roman Catholic saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the patron saint against in-law problems and against the death of parents and children. Her feast day is Jan. 4.

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