Elizabeth was born to Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton, a family of wealth and renown in New York City. She was raised in the Episcopal Church. At 19, she married William Seton, a young wealthy import merchant, and they had five children. Will’s father died leaving the young couple the responsibility of the import business as well as the care of Will’s seven half brothers and sisters. Soon the family business began to fail as did Will’s health. After filing for bankruptcy, the family went to Italy where Will died of tuberculosis. Elizabeth’s concern for her family’s spiritual well being eventually led her to instruction in the Catholic faith. Desire for the Eucharist and guidance of the Blessed Virgin were driving forces for her conversion and she joined the Church in 1805 and was confirmed by Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore in 1806.
Our beautiful Nativity will be displayed at the foot of the Sanctuary this year. Take a moment to offer prayer and appreciate the beauty of it and the talent of Professor Eugenio Pattarino (1885-1971) who lived and worked in Florence, Italy. He was a famous 20th century ceramist who was known for his religious art. He was a master at modeling and glazing. Many of his pieces were made from terra cotta. His works were occasionally commissioned by the Vatican as gifts for visiting dignitaries. The Nativity was gifted to the Cathedral Parish by Angeline Maltrasio in 1963.