The saint of the year for 2020-2021 academic year is Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first American-born saint.

She was born in New York City on August 28, 1774 to a prominent Episcopal family, and lost her mother at the age of three. In 1794, at the age of 19, Elizabeth married William Seton, a wealthy businessman with whom she had five children. After traveling to Italy for business, her husband was quarantined for a month because he was ill. This confinement worsened his illness and he ultimately died of tuberculosis in 1803, leaving Elizabeth a young widow.

While in Italy, Elizabeth became close to the family of her husband’s business partner and was introduced to Catholicism. After Elizabeth returned to the United States she converted to Catholicism in 1805 in New York.

After moving from New York she lived for a few years in Baltimore but ultimately moved in 1809 to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, 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 on the unmet needs of people living in poverty in North America and beyond.