Today is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the founder of the American Daughters of Charity who gave us St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Born in New York ion 1774, at nineteen Elizabeth married an owner of ship lines, giving birth to five children. Her husband, impoverished by shipping losses, fell ill. In hopes of saving him in a warmer climate, Elizabeth and one daughter brought her husband William to Italy, and he died while they were still in quarantine. Befriended by Catholics over two years, Elizabeth returned to the States where she was received into the Catholic Church. Her attempt at operating a hospital for the poor failed for lack of funds. Then, after a Sulpician Father, banished from France by the Revolution, opened a seminary for priests in Emmitsburg Maryland; he invited Elizabeth to found America’s first Catholic school there.
Elizabeth was successful in founding an order of religious sisters dedicated to teaching the young to live by Christian principles.