America’s first canonized saint

On your way to Staten Island Ferry and Governors Island Ferry, you might have passed by these buildings at 7 and 8 State Street – two mansions hovered over by towering sky scrapers “on a too-wide street” and a building with as much history that housed Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton and her family before they left for Italy in attempts to save her husband.

This decision largely impacted her life forever. With the death of her husband, she was widowed in her late twenties. However, like all that rise to greatness out of the ashes, she used her singularity to focus on those in need.

Her charitable influence led her to become the first native-born United States citizen to be canonized. She was one of New York City’s first private charity organization helping to found the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children ; established St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, Maryland where she is popularly considered a patron saint of Catholic schools.

 

History of 8 State Street

Before housing this great saint and her family, this building originally held the offices of a number of transportation companies, and functioned as a hotel until 1886, when it became the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary, a home for immigrant girls.

A 1965 restoration of the mission removed the dormers and added a railing at the roofline. With the 1940 demolition of the El and the 1960’s proliferation of box-and-plaza skyscrapers.

so, on your way to the Staten Island Ferry or Governors Island ferry, take a quick tour of the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Seton, New York City.

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