Nathaniel Hawthorne's Daughter

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Born on August 28, 1774 Elizabeth Ann Bayley was the daughter of a famous colonial physician, prominent in New York society.

Early in life Elizabeth developed a predilection for spiritual things though she also loved dancing and theater.

On January 25, 1794 Elizabeth wed William Magee Seton, son of a wealthy importer. They had five children. Only six years into their marriage, the Setons became bankrupt when William's business failed. He was, by then, also suffering with tuberculosis. A trip to Italy in 1803 by William, Elizabeth, and the oldest child, Anna Marie, did not improve William's health; he died on December 27, 1803.

For the next five months family friends, the Filiechi's, instructed Mrs. Seton in Catholicism. Upon returning to New York she converted from Episcopalian to Catholic and made her first Holy Communion on March 25, 1805.

Circumstances and the recommendations of her spiritual advisor, Fr. William Valentine Dubourg, found Elizabeth moving to Paca Street in Baltimore where she began the first Catholic School.

Others joined her and a community was formed.

On March 25, 1809 Elizabeth pronounced her vows to Archbishop Carroll and she then became known as Mother Seton.

The infant congregation moved to Emmitsburgh, in 1812 formally had a modified version of the ---- of St. Vincent de Paul ratified.

St. Joseph Academy became the basis of our entire parochial school system.

Mother Seton lost family and religious sister to tuberculosis and on January 4, 1821, at the age of forty seven, she died.

Mother Seton - wife, mother, convert, educator, foundress of the Sisters of Charity - told those praying by her death bed, "Be children of Church".