Birth of Elizabeth Ann Seton, First American Born Person Canonized in Catholic Church

Birth of Elizabeth Ann Seton, First American Born Person Canonized in Catholic Church

Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Elizabeth Ann Seton is born in New York City as Elizabeth Ann Bayley. She will create the first Catholic school in America as well as the Sisters of Charity.

Because of this work, Elizabeth Ann Seton will become the first native-born American citizen to be canonized in the Catholic Church (by Pope Pius XII in 1946).

Seton's ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the New York City area and she is raised a Protestant. After spending time in Italy, though, she is introduced to Roman Catholicism and is impressed enough that when she returns home she converts to the Catholic Church.

Seton won't set out to create a specifically Catholic school — as a widow, she simply tries to run an "academy" for young girls as a way of supporting herself and her children. When it's learned that she has converted to Catholicism, however, prejudice takes over, and most parents withdraw their children from the school lest they be influenced by such an evil religion.

These experiences, as well as her developing connections to the wider (and persecuted) Catholic community in the United States, eventually lead her to establish a school specifically for Catholic girls.


Visit to St Elizabeth Ann Seton's National Shrine

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