First American saint canonized by Catholic Church


By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

Patron saint of in-law problems, against the death of children, widows, death of parents and the opposition of Church authorities, this faithful saint born on Aug. 28, 1774. She was canonized by Pope Paul VI on Sept. 14, 1975. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Saint Elizabeth is most famously known for being the first American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Elizabeth fell in love with and married a young and wealthy man named William Seton.

The couple enjoyed a blissful first few years of happiness before trials and tribulations have befallen them. William’s father passed which left the couple with the burden of caring for William’s seven half brothers and sisters along with the family business.

However, as William’s health and business began to fail, he decided to file for bankruptcy. In an attempt to save William’s life, the couple relocated to Italy. Unfortunately, William died of tuberculosis while there.

These afflictions did not stray Elizabeth’s heart from the path of God, but rather served as a guiding light towards his will or “The Will” as Elizabeth had called it. Eventually, the loyal servant became more and more interested in Catholicism.

Her desire for the bread of life became a leading force in her return home to the Catholic Church, along with the strong support and instruction of the faith by her Italian friends.

Saint Elizabeth and two other young women established the first free Catholic school in America. On March 25, 1809, she had pronounced vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and was, from then on, called Mother Seton.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton passed away from tuberculosis on Jan. 4, 1821 and was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963. Her feast day is celebrated on Jan. 4.

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