Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Historical Frame of Reference

209 views

Published on

From the Preface to THE HISTORY OF MOTHER SETON'S DAUGHTERS THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF CINCINNATI OHIO 1809-1917 written by PETER GUILDAY, PH. D., THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D. C. November 25, 1916.

Published in: Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Historical Frame of Reference

  1. 1. A drawing of New York City, created in the 1770s, possibly from a point on Long Island near Red Hook. Trinity Church on Wall Street is visible in the distance. ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON Catholic in the early United States: historical frame of reference
  2. 2. ST. ELIZABETH ANN BAYLEY SETON was born in New York City during one of the most exhilarating times of early American history, the week before the First Continental Congress held in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774 Her girlhood must have been filled with stories of the Minute Men throughout the Colonies When she was still a little girl her father, a physician in the Revolutionary Army, returned home one day in 1780 with the shocking news that Benedict Arnold, Washington's trusted friend, had turned traitor to his country, at West Point, farther up the Hudson She must have rejoiced with other American girls of her age in the then little town of New York, when the Treaty, which gave freedom and independence to the American Colonies, was signed at Paris in 1783 The Setting
  3. 3. “Truly she was a daughter of the Revolution and a child of her environment, [and her later life] would show how thoroughly she had imbibed its spirit— a spirit of great enterprise, of broad horizons, and of daring achievement.” —Peter Guilday Toppling the statue of the King in New York City, 1770s
  4. 4. Married at the age of twenty to William Magee Seton, her sons and daughters - William, Richard, Anna, Catharine, and Rebecca - were all children under ten years when she was received into the Church on March 4, 1805. Her early life as a Catholic— and as a religious working to build the foundation for her Sisters and Daughters of Charity in North America— is bound up affectionately with the very tender care she gave to her children, as is revealed frequently in her letters. Before her death on January 4, 1821, two of her daughters, Anna and Rebecca, had gone to their eternal reward, and Richard, a few months later, died at sea off Cape Mesurado. William, the eldest, entered the United States Navy and died shortly after the Civil War. Her son, Ensign William Magee Seton III, U.S. Navy, ca. 1820
  5. 5. “She was a devoted wife, a tender mother, and a true religious; and by her virtues, the sublimity of her love of God, as well as by her prudence and her practical grasp of affairs, her life has a charm all its own and is enhanced with the number of great persons, both civil and ecclesiastic, who share in her plans and projects.” —Peter Guilday Detail of original painting by Joseph Dawley. College of Mount St. Vincent, Riverdale, NY
  6. 6. During the thirteen years she guided her Community (1808-1821), she had as directors four priests— Fathers Dubourg, David, Dubois, and Bruté— all of whom later became Bishops There was hardly an ecclesiastic in the country during that period who did not have a keen appreciation of the very important place she was filling in American Catholic life and activity during the first quarter of the nineteenth century John Baptist Marie David, S.S. Louis William DuBourg, S.S. John Dubois, S.S. Servant of God, Simon Bruté
  7. 7. Two of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s important missions were caring for the children of the poor, and opening a free Catholic school for girls, laying a foundation for the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. At the opening of the 19th century, Catholics were just a little flock in the Colonies. There were few schools for the education of their children. Elementary schools for Catholics, such as those founded in New York, the schools at Newtown and Bohemia Manor in Maryland, and those at Philadelphia and Goshenhoppen in Southeastern Pennsylvania were not successful since they had to exist silently on account of colonial prejudices against the Church. The next nearest Catholic schools were those in Belgium and in France.
  8. 8. Before the American Revolution, Catholic parents would send their children to the colleges and universities of Europe. Girls who wanted to enter religious life moved to Europe to join congregations there. The Carmelites of Hoogstraeten, Belgium, led by an American, Mother Bernadine Matthews, set sail for North America in April, 1790, and that same year founded the first house for contemplative nuns in the United States, at Port Tobacco, Maryland. Other than that, there was only one religious house in the U.S. which offered a cloistered life to American women: the Convent of the Ursulines at New Orleans. Arrival of the Ursulines at New Orleans. Artist unknown. Mt. Carmel Monastery
  9. 9. The Ursulines in New Orleans endured long years of struggle for their very existence, the Poor Clares failed to establish themselves at Georgetown in 1801, and Sr. Teresa Lalor (co- foundress of the Visitation order at Georgetown) went through hard and bitter trials to organize her community. All this could make even a stout heart like Mother Seton's pause, in her intense desire to found a religious community in America. First Schoolhouse of the Visitation Sisters. This all-girls Catholic school in Washington D.C. still exists. Website: visi.org
  10. 10. The first two communities of women devoted to Catholic education and charitable works in the U.S. would be founded under the shadow of the two most venerable Catholic institutions in the country: Georgetown College at Washington, D. C., and St. Mary's Seminary at Baltimore. What Archbishop Neale was to the Visitation nuns at Georgetown, Father Dubourg was to Mother Seton and her Community. He was a Sulpician and later the Archbishop of Besançon, France. Archbishop Louis William DuBourg, S.S.
  11. 11. When Father Dubourg met Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York in 1806, she had almost decided to go to Canada to join the Ursulines there. By his advice she came with her family to Baltimore in June, 1808, and rented a small house on Paca Street, near the Seminary. The school was opened in September that same year. Two years later the young Community moved to Emmitsburg, where the Sulpicians had founded Mount St. Mary's College in 1808. From 1814 to 1851 (the date of the Union of the Daughters of Charity of America with those of France) Mother Seton's Community grew rapidly. Fifty-seven separate foundations had been made in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Massachusetts. Engraving and present-day photo of Mother Seton House, 600 N. Paca St., Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  12. 12. “Mother Seton … grouped around her in those early days at Emmitsburg companions of the most varied tastes but all gifted with that particular charm of the colonial times … Her struggles from the beginning were their struggles, for the little Community had one heart and one soul. She brought a new ideal into American life— the ideal of a band of women devoted to the care of their neighbors, through […] education of the children, asylums for the orphans, and hospitals for the sick.” —Peter Guilday St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Triptych, by Eric Armusik, part of the permanent collection of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Pittsburgh. PA
  13. 13. “What her Community has accomplished … no one can ever fully estimate. It was begun in poverty and strengthened in the crucible of trial and sorrow …Cardinal Cheverus, then Bishop of Boston, and one of St. Elizabeth Seton’s spiritual directors, wrote to her: 'How admirable is Divine Providence! I see already numerous choirs of virgins following you to the Altar. I see your holy Order diffusing itself in the different parts of the United States, spreading everywhere the good odor of Jesus Christ and teaching by their angelic lives and pious instruction how to serve God in purity and holiness. I have no doubt, my dear Sisters, that He who has begun this work will bring it to perfection.’ [Today] we can see how truly these words … have been verified.” —Peter Guilday St. Elizabeth Seton and First Mothers of the Sisters of Charity Federation Congregations. From sistersofcharityfederation.org
  14. 14. Source: From the Preface to THE HISTORY OF MOTHER SETON'S DAUGHTERS THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF CINCINNATI OHIO 1809-1917 written by PETER GUILDAY, PH. D. THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D. C. November 25, 1916.

×