Celebrating the lives of women saints, our sisters and role models in faith!

Day 1: Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann and William Magee had a busy, beautiful life in Lower Manhattan. They cohosted a party for George Washington’s sixty-fifth birthday. They lived next door to Alexander Hamilton. They were stalwarts of the Episcopal church, and set a good example for their children.

Then, everything went smash, all at once.

Elizabeth Ann and William Magee had a busy, beautiful life together in Lower Manhattan. They cohosted a party for George Washington’s sixty-fifth birthday. They lived next door to Alexander Hamilton. They were stalwarts of the Episcopal church, and set a good example for their children in their charitable activities.

Then, everything went smash, all at once. The family import-export business William ran failed, forcing him to file for bankruptcy. The health problems that had plagued him turned out to be tuberculosis. The Setons and their five children were short on money and on hope. But they managed to cobble together a plan for Elizabeth and William and one daughter to visit Italy, where William had business friends, to see if the climate would improve his health. Unfortunately, the trio ended up in quarantine for thirty days after they arrived… and less than two weeks later, William died.

Elizabeth’s despair, worry, grief, and homesickness are almost impossible to imagine. How would we even know where to start if we were in that situation? It turned out she didn’t need to do anything; God provided some angels in the form of William’s business friends, Antonio and Filippo Filicchi, and their families. They took Elizabeth and her daughter to Mass and showed them the beauty of Italy’s Catholic churches. They provided financial help. They listened and consoled and comforted, including one brother’s decision to go with the pair to make sure their voyage back to the United States was uneventful.

Click here for the rest of her story!

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