AMERICAN SAINT                                    JOAN BARTHEL
Posted: Sept. 4, 2014

American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth SetonIn this riveting biography of Elizabeth Seton critically acclaimed and bestselling author Joan Barthel tells the mesmerizing story of a woman whose life featured wealth and poverty, passion and sorrow, love and loss. Elizabeth was born into a prominent New York City family in 1774. Her father was the chief health officer for the Port of New York and she lived down the block from Alexander Hamilton. She danced at George Washington's sixty-fifth Birthday Ball wearing cream slippers, monogrammed. Catholicism was illegal in New York when she was born; Catholic priests seen in the city were arrested, sometimes hung. When Elizabeth and her wealthy husband Will sailed to Italy in a doomed attempt to cure his tuberculosis, she and her family were quarantined in a damp dungeon. And when Elizabeth later became a Catholic, she was so scorned that people talked of burning down her house. American Saint is the inspiring story of a brave woman who forged the way for the other women who followed and who made a name for herself in a world entirely ruled by men. Elizabeth resisted male clerical control of her religious order, as nuns are doing today, and the publication of her story could not be more timely. Maya Angelou has contributed the foreword.

This book about the life of Elizabeth Seton, who went on to become the first person born from the U.S. to be canonized a Saint. The first part of this book is like a whose, whose in our founding as a nation. Though her father was went back to England during the war. When he came back he was not treated like some other people who had followed with the King because he was a Doctor and they were hard to come by in any town. Her mother died during child birth to her younger sister and her father remarried into the Roosevelt family, but her step mother did not take a liking to her or her new sister. Raised in a Protestant home she was taught to read the bible but more than that her father believed that young women should now certain languages, music, math etc. very which was very progressive for that time. By her late teens early twenties she was going to dances and parties with the Hamilton’s and other people that helped shape our country. During one of these gatherings she meet a young man named William Seton and they were married some time later. They would eventually have five children. William Seton along with his father and brother owned a shipping business that would eventually go out of business. Her husband being so sick was told to travel to Italy. Just the two of them went to Pisa, Italy and were put into quarantine. William would die two days later and a women from the town came to help her to bury her husband. Then she started to spend days together and she started going to church with her. What was amazing to her was that at every mass the Eucharist was celebrated, her church only celebrated the Eucharist was only on special days. The more she stayed and went to church the more she was enjoying the celebrating of mass. When she came back to America she converted to catholic, and some members of her family stop talking to from that time forward. Her sister in law, a daughter and some other friends converted. By 1809 she needed to leave New York and went to Baltimore where a Bishop there help her get started with property and they started a school for needed children and widow mothers. Later this would become the sisters of charity, the first American congregation of religious sisters. They would later go on to open more schools and orphanages always looking out for the needs of children. One of her daughters would go on to become a sister and later a grandson would become a Priest. This was a very well written book with a lot of information, and the author made the story very interesting. A very good book. I got this book from net galley.

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