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Celebrating the Life, Death, and Spirituality of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Nicole Patterson

Corpus Christi Chapel

Corpus Christi Chapel, built at the site of the original grotto created by Fr. John DuBois.

Mount St. Mary’s University will host a series of talks and panels on the spirituality of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in honor of the bicentennial of her death (1821-2021). As the first American-born saint, her life was a celebration of compassion and service, shaping the charism of the Sisters and Daughters of Charity. These discussions will focus on aspects of her spirituality and theological vision.

“She was a person of remarkable intelligence and spiritual depths,” said Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theology Paige E. Hochschild, Ph.D. “This was not an easy time to be Catholic, and Seton followed the Lord’s call, left behind society and friends in New York, and took up the hard labor of serving and educating poor children in this part of Maryland while teaching and forming a community of religious sisters devoted to charity and education—but first and last, a community devoted to holiness.”

The conversations will take place Monday evenings in October and November at the Mount’s Laughlin Auditorium and the Seminary’s O’Donnell Lecture Hall and are sponsored by the Theology Department, the Center for Campus Ministry, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Titles and themes include: “The Spirituality of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,” “The French-Sulpician School of Spirituality,” “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Spirituality of Divine Fatherhood,” “Spiritual Motherhood,” and “Mary, the Mother of God in the Spirituality of St. Elizabeth.”

The Mount’s founder, Sulpician priest Fr. John DuBois, supported St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded her first religious community of the Sisters of Charity in 1809. DuBois had invited Seton and her Sisters to attend Mass at St. Mary on the Hill, what is today Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Fr. Simon Gabriel Bruté, another Sulpician priest, would later join DuBois in Emmitsburg. Bruté served as a spiritual advisor to the first Sisters, and quickly became a friend and spiritual director to Seton.

Hochschild will present some of her research on November 1 in her talk “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Spirituality of Divine Fatherhood” where she plans to speak about “key attributes of God which are associated for Seton with ‘divine fatherhood’.” Hochschild has been looking through texts she found in the library of Seton’s spiritual father, Bruté—who was the Mount’s first theology professor and whose cause for canonization is ongoing.

“When the Mount was a young institution, it was the presence of the learned Fr. Simon Bruté as a theology professor that actually allowed the school to qualify as a place of theological instruction (i.e. a seminary),” Hochschild explained. “Seton taught him English over a translation of The Imitation of Christ.” It is a well-known fact that Seton helped Fr. Bruté to craft his homilies based on his French notes, given that his English was remarkably poor, and his first homilies were far too scholarly for local congregations. Hochschild is fascinated by his uncatalogued library, which is immense; nevertheless “a good library is like a sketch of a person’s rational soul,” she reflects.  

Join the Mount in honoring Seton’s life, legacy and distinctive spirituality. For more information please contact

Schedule of Talks and Panels

Monday, October 18 at 6 p.m. in Laughlin Auditorium

“The Spirituality of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton” by Fr. Ted Trinko, IVE, chaplain of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and response by Paige Hochschild, Ph.D.

Monday, October 25 at 6 p.m. in O’Donnell Lecture Hall in the Seminary

“The French-Sulpician School of Spirituality” with Michael Hahn, Ph.D., Owen Phelan, Ph.D., Msgr. McLean Cummings and Fr. Michael Roach

Monday, November 1 at 6 p.m. in Laughlin Auditorium

 “St. Elizabeth Anne Seton’s Spirituality of Divine Fatherhood” by Paige Hochschild, Ph.D., and response by Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald

Monday, November 8 at 6 p.m. in O’Donnell Lecture Hall in the Seminary

“Spiritual Motherhood” chaired by Prof./Mother Asterone, SSVM (with multiple speakers involved)

Monday, November 15 at 6 p.m. in Laughlin Auditorium

 “Mary, the Mother of God, in the Spirituality of St. Elizabeth” by Sr. Betty Ann McNeil, DC (De Paul University), and response by William Portier, Ph.D.

The series will also be livestreamed.

Nicole Patterson