This is part of a yearlong series about the early days of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the community. In 1850, the Emmitsburg-based Sisters united with the international community of the French Daughters of Charity.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first North American-born saint recognized by the global Catholic church. The Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives in Emmitsburg is the largest holder of writings and artifacts of Mother Seton in the world.
However, Mother Seton is not the only one represented in the collection recognized as a holy person by Rome, nor is she the only foundress of a community in the collections. We can provide resources and information about a number of other individuals of this caliber!
Father Simon Bruté was Mother Seton’s spiritual director, a Sulpician priest who later became the first Bishop of Vincennes (now the Archdiocese of Indianapolis). His cause for canonization was opened in 2005, and he was accepted as a Servant of God. Materials of his in the archives include correspondence with Mother Seton and her family, spiritual writings, the bands he wore for his consecration as a Bishop, and his many drawings and sketches.
Saint Father John Neumann, CSsR,was Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1852 until his death in 1860. He was canonized in 1977 and was instrumental in bringing the Daughters of Charity to St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum.
Canonized Popes Many Daughters have been lucky enough to meet the Successors to St. Peter, sometimes as part of a crowd, and sometimes in more serious business. The most notable occasion relating to the community’s history was Saint Pope Paul VI, who canonized Mother Seton in 1975, thus making Mother Seton’s canonization bull itself a relic of a saint.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta – often still known as Mother Teresa – made a three-day tour of the United States in 1975. During her visit, she visited the Shrine of the just recently canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton alongside her more formal trips to the United Nations and Washington, D.C. The archives contains photos of her visit.
Almeide Maxis Duchemin – later known as Mother Theresa Duchemin – was a student of St. Joseph’s Academy from 1819-1823 from around ages 9-13. She became a founding member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore and became the first African American Superior General of a white religious majority community when she co-founded the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The archives contains records of her schooling at the Academy.
Mothers Elizabeth Boyle and Margaret George were companions of Mother Seton and members of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s who founded their own communities; the Sisters of Charity of New York in 1846 and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1852, respectively.