St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (d. 1821) was born into an Episcopal family in New York, N.Y., in 1774. She married a wealthy businessman and had five children. Her husband became ill and traveled to Italy for help, but he died there. It was in Italy that Elizabeth became interested in Catholicism, and she was received into the church in 1805.
In 1809, she formed the first order of women religious founded in the U.S., the Daughters of Charity of St. Joseph. The order helped the poor, founded orphanages and hospitals, and worked with parochial schools.
When she died in 1821, her congregation had 20 communities in the U.S. In 1975, she became the first native-born North American saint. We honor her on Jan. 4.