Saint Elizabeth Seton (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Through her resourceful, independent, and pioneering spirit, Elizabeth Seton had a profound influence on nineteenth century American education, laying the foundations of the Catholic parochial school system.
Elizabeth Bayley Seton was born August 28, 1774, in New York City. Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley, was an eminent surgeon and professor of anatomy at King’s College (later Columbia University). Her mother, Catherine Charlton Bayley, was the daughter of the rector of an Episcopalian church in New York. Little else is known of her, and she died when Elizabeth was three. Bayley remarried, but Elizabeth never formed a close bond with her stepmother. As a child, Elizabeth was a lively, exuberant girl. She was educated at a private school, excelling in French and enjoying dancing and music. She also had a strong introspective tendency and a profoundly religious temperament. Her early upbringing was unsettled; her father was dedicated to his work and gave her little close attention (although there is no doubt of his love for her), and she and her seven half brothers and half sisters were frequently sent to stay with relatives in New Rochelle.
As a young woman, Elizabeth was under medium height, but she was well proportioned and graceful; her features had a pleasing symmetry, and her dark, lively eyes attracted attention. She radiated intelligence and charm. In 1794, at the age of...
(The entire section is 2079 words.)
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