Death of Elizabeth Ann Seton, January 4, 1821

Sketch of Elizabeth Ann Seton

Sketch of Elizabeth Ann Seton by Simon Gabriel Bruté. Handwritten text at the top reads, “Pray for me.” Handwritten text at the bottom reads, “Mother Seton on her death bed 1/2 hour after she had expired on the 4th of January 1821.” Image and all text used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise Archives.

Account of Simon Bruté taken from Mother Seton: Notes by Rev. Simon Gabriel Bruté (Bishop of Vincennes) (Emmitsburg, 1884), p.29-32.

January 4, 1821. “Ask Heaven to praise and love Him” my last words to Mother, at four o’clock in the afternoon, were my last indeed, and of any priest on earth to her, to day, at two after midnight she removed to her eternal Home.

They had called Sister Mary Xavier, the Assistant some time before, as she seemed dying. She was wholly conscious but so often deceived, seemed not to believe it was yet the time. However, after she had welcome in a pleasant manner Sister Mary Xavier, by: “Is it you Xavier?” she united with their prayers, which they repeated by intervals, and it being manifest she was dying, her poor daughter Josephine began to cry aloud in a distressing manner, and could not restrain herself, but rather had such convulsions as made the Sisters afraid she would die before her mother. So they sent for me, as much for her as for Mother, whom they considered so long and fully prepared.

The dying mother must have well noticed that exceeding grief of her daughter, but happily seemed not to be disturbed by it, being we hope long tried and strengthened that side [sic]. She soon could not breathe and ceased to live.

I arrived quarter of an hour after she had expired.

Towards midnight, one of the nurses tells me, offering her a drink she refused a moment, “in hope,” she said, “that on the morning she might be granted one Communion more,” – (like her Anina) – The night of Sunday last, after the Viaticum of Saturday, being extremely thirsty towards midnight the same nurse, Sister Susan, urged her to drink.

“O, no!” she said. “Eternity, let us mind that,” and she kept on for one communion more.
Last night, amidst the various prayers said for her she began the prayer of Pius VII – “May the most just, the most high, and the most amiable will of God be accomplished forever!” …

… She had about an hour of hard agony, then, ending sweetly — When Sister Xavier said: “Our Lord calls you!” she asked “Who?” as if not actually sensible of that call. Then she lowered her breathing, and died very gently, “as if to sleep,” said Sister Anastasia: and not a struggle or gasp afterword.


Filed under Elizabeth Ann Seton, Simon Brute, Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's

3 responses to “Death of Elizabeth Ann Seton, January 4, 1821

  1. Pingback: Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton | Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives

  2. Sister Rita Bozel DC

    It is always good to read again about Mother Seton’s final hours


  3. Robert Caruso

    I never realized or what “Pray for me ” meant. I carry a prayer card from my 3rd Grade Sister, Sister Bertrand. I loved Siister Bertrand. Sister had written a Prayer card that said, Robert, may St Joseph be your Protectore, “Pray for Me”. Now with readng what Sister Elizabeth Ann Seton had said at the end, it all makes sense. It only took 52 years to figure out. I have just lost my Mom on Nov 9. I beg the Sisters to please pray for her, she was 96. Her name was Margie Caruso.


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