St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s birthday celebration

Elizabeth Ann Seton's birthday will be observed at the Basilica at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 333 South Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, Md., Aug. 30. She was made co-patron of the Arlington Diocese in 1975 by then-Bishop Thomas J. Welsh.

Father Michael J. Kennedy, Seton Shrine chaplain, will celebrate Mass at 1:30 p.m. A birthday party for the saint, sponsored by the Seton Club of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Daughters of Charity of the Emmitsburg Province, will follow the Mass.

Women and girls named Elizabeth Ann or Elizabeth are invited to join in a special procession; those interested in participating are encouraged to register at the shrine visitor center between 12:15 and 1:15 p.m.

Visitors will have opportunities to tour the visitor's center, the shrine and the museum, as well as historic buildings.

Elizabeth Ann Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, the first community for religious women established in the United States. She also began St. Joseph's Academy and Free School, the first free Catholic School for girls staffed by Sisters in the United States. Her legacy of nearly 200 years includes six religious communities, numerous schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout America and the world. Seton was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. The first citizen born in the United States to be canonized, her remains are entombed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2009