Entry Court

At the entrance of the Church, an open courtyard beckons you. At the center of a moving water shrine, a statue of Mother Seton framed by cascading waterfalls and ascending flumes of water fountains rising to her likeness as if they were saluting her. The first American born Saint of the Catholic Church, she was born on August 28, 1774 in New York City. She married William Seton in 1794 in the Episcopal Church of the Blessed Trinity. She had five children of her own in addition to helping raise older children of her late father-in-law. Her husband died while in Italy after suffering from tuberculosis. It was in Italy that Mother Seton was drawn to Catholicism. She was a widow at age twenty-nine. In March of 1805 Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton converted to Catholicism. Two years later she returned to Baltimore where she opened a small school, the beginning of the Parochial School system in this nation. In 1809 with four companions, and in accordance with the ideals of St. Vincent DePaul, she founded the first Religious Community in America, the Sisters of Charity, and a school for poor children near Emmitsburg, Maryland. On July 19, 1813, along with eighteen sisters, Elizabeth Ann Seton took her vows, consecrating her life to sublime work of Christian charity and education. By the time of her death on January 4, 1821, this Order numbered some twenty Religious Communities. today, the Sisters of Charity are spread all over this great nation, education children and operating hospitals (such as St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville, that city’s largest hospital) as well as other ministries. She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975, the first American-born saint.