Holweck’s American Martyrology – Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton

[Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton]Article

JANUARY 4. At Emmitsburg, Maryland, the memory of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, Foundress and first Superior of the Sisters of Charity in the United States. She was born at New York, August 28, 1774, of non-Catholic parents and married on January 25, 1794, to William Magee Seton, by the Anglican Bishop Prevost. After the death of her husband, she was received into the Church by Pather Matthew O’Brien at Saint Peter’s Church, New York, on March 14, 1805. (This was not Ash Wednesday, but the Thursday after the second Sunday of Lent). With her three daughters she, after many privations, opened a school for girls, next to the chapel of Saint Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, where her sons were being educated. When postulants arrived, Mother Seton took vows privately before Archbishop Carroll and, in 1808, the community was transferred to Emmitsburg. The rule was approved by Archbishop Carroll in January, 1812, when Mother Seton was also elected first superior. With 18 sisters she made her solemn vows on July 19, 1813. The Fathers Superior of the community were the Sulpicians, Fathers Dubourg, Davis, and Dubois. Great spiritual desolation purified her soul during a great portion of her religious life, but she cheerfully took the royal road of the cross. She died of a pulmonary affection, January 4, 1821. In 1880 Cardinal (then Archbishop) Gibbons urged that steps be taken towards her canonization. The results of the official inquiries were placed in the hands of the postulator of the cause on June 7, 1911. Her community of Emmitsburg was incorporated into the Congregation of the Vincentian Sisters of Paris in 1850. Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. xiii, 739. SADLIER, Elizabeth Seton, New York, 1905.

MLA Citation

  • Father F G Holweck. “Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton”. American Martyrology, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 October 2013. Web. 23 July 2017. <>