January 4: The Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She was not a mystic, a stigmatic, nor a martyr. She was however a penniless, widowed mother of five in eighteenth century New York. She founded the first American religious community for women (the Sisters of Charity), the first American parish school and the first American Catholic orphanage.To which my friend Jerry Hughes added the observation that she "was the first native American (no, not Native American) canonized. Interestingly, she didn't start out penniless. She came from an aristocratic New York family and had to spend time in Italy (I think her husband was 'taking the cure' there). Came back smitten by Roman Catholicism. Didn't make her family too happy. Penury came only later, after the faith-induced family rifts.
[And her husband's death -- obviously 'the cure' didn't work.]
It might seem like cutting corners to repost this thread, but I think the founder of the American parochial school tradition for whom Seton Hall is named ought to get a spot in the blog.