Elizabeth Bayley Seton (1774-1821) was a true daughter of the early American Republic. She was intimately connected with the society and events of the times. By birth and marriage she was related to the first families of New York…She was a woman of beauty, charm wit and intelligence. In her own home, at her father’s, at her father-in-law’s there was scarcely any famous man she did not meet: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, General Knox, John Jay, Governor Morris…
In her short span of 47 years, Elizabeth Bayley Seton was a society belle and matron, a wife, a mother (five children), and a religious foundress. She was a good Protestant and, following her husband’s death while they were travelling in Italy, she became an exceptionally holy Roman Catholic. Her supreme characteristics were a deep capacity for friendship, which stemmed from her warm, emotional and affectionate nature; a profound love of the Blessed Sacrament, and an intense grasp of the concept of eternity. Joseph I. Dirvin, C.M., Mrs. Seton — Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity, 1962
Soon after Elizabeth Seton’s son William joined the Navy in 1818, she sent him the following:
“My soul’s darling—You go, so adieu once more. With how much more courage I say it now than in 1815. You must fill a station and take a part in our life of trial, and all your own Mother can beg is that you keep well with your Good Pilot and, as says old Burns, the correspondence fixed with heaven will be your noble anchor. To go when you can to the sacraments as a child to his Father will be a main point for that, and the next best is to look to your Mother’s old rule of intentions, the comfort of my life.”
Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized in 1975.