Catholic Schools Convocation Homily; Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine, Emmitsburg, MD

“In deciding to hold this year’s convocation in here in Emmitsburg, we are coming home – home to the roots of Catholic education in the United States. For we are have come to a place made sacred by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, truly a pioneer in Catholic education and religious life in our country. Indeed, in coming to her home, we experience a homecoming, a return to a source of that beautiful vision of Catholic education that gets us up in the morning and makes us part of a transformative mission.

As you know, St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is our nation’s first native born canonized saint. She was born in 1774 into a socially prominent New York family and grew up as a devout member of the Anglican Church. She married William Seton and had a wonderful family but in time she and her family faced severe hardships: first, her husband’s business went into bankruptcy and then his health declined. While on a trip to Italy to recover his health, William Seton died. Returning to New York Elizabeth Seton became a Catholic, was confirmed by Archbishop John Carroll, and in God’s providence found her way to Maryland where she opened a small school on Paca St. in Baltimore near St. Mary’s Seminary. Later, at the invitation of Sulpician Father Dubourg, she came to Emmitsburg where she opened St. Joseph Academy and Free School for the education of girls. This marked the beginning of Catholic schools in the United States and Mother Seton School here in Emmitsburg is the direct descendant of St. Joseph Academy and Free School. Not long thereafter she founded the Daughters of Charity, a religious institute dedicated to the works of charity, to healthcare, and, most significantly for our gathering, Catholic education.”

Read the complete homily HERE.


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