The feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is celebrated on January 4, the anniversary of her death.
Raised in New York, at age 19 she married a wealthy business man and they had five children together. When Elizabeth was 30, her husband died of tuberculosis.
After a trip to Italy shortly before her husband’s death, she felt a call to Catholicism and converted.
She founded a Catholic school devoted to girls’ education, and then established a religious order to care for children of the poor. This was the first congregation of religious sisters founded in the United States, and the community opened the first free Catholic school in America.
She was canonized in September 1975 — the first American-born saint.
At her canonization, Pope Paul VI said, “Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her.”
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the patron saint of Catholic schools and the state of Maryland.
Get to know more about her incredible life through the playlist below — featuring music by Tom Petty, Vampire Weekend, and Johnny Cash, and highlighting themes of service, courage, and devotion.