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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York City on August 28, 1774 to a prominent Episcopal family. At the age of 19, Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, a wealthy businessman. The couple’s happy life turned tragic when William's business went bankrupt and his health failed. William died of tuberculosis in 1803, leaving Elizabeth penniless with five small children to support.

After discovering Catholicism in Italy, where she had lived for a short period of time, Elizabeth returned to New York and joined the Catholic Church in 1805. In 1809, she made her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. She moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she founded the Sisters of Charity, the first community for religious women established in the United States. She also began St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School, planting the seeds of Catholic education in the United States. Her legacy now includes religious congregations in the United States and Canada, whose members work to meet the needs of people living in poverty.

Elizabeth Ann Seton died on January 4, 1821 at the age of 46. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII in 1963 and canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

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