Elizabeth Seton: A Person to Be Like

Activity Objective

To have the children acknowledge people in their lives who help the poor and vulnerable, as Saint Elizabeth Seton did


  • Large picture of Saint Elizabeth Seton
  • Story of Saint Elizabeth Seton, found below:

Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) was born to parents who belonged to powerful non-Catholic families in the then British colony of New York. Her mother was the daughter of the rector of an Episcopal church, and her father was a renowned physician and professor of anatomy.

Because her mother died when she was only three, Elizabeth's father assumed the responsibility of rearing her. He stressed education, sending Elizabeth to private school in New York as well as teaching her at home. Elizabeth's goal as she matured was to devote herself to nursing the sick, particulary those who were poor.

At age 20 she married a wealthy young shipping merchant, and the couple raised a family of five children. Elizabeth's good deeds earned her the name Protestant Sister of Charity, as she visited and cared for many who were poor and sick in New York City.

Her transformation toward Catholicism began to take shape when she and her husband traveled to Italy in hopes of finding a cure for tuberculosis, with which he had become stricken. He soon died, and she returned with the children to the United States, became a Catholic, and formed a community of sisters whose mission was to open schools and teach chidren in orphanages. Mother Seton, as she became known as, was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's feast day is January 4.


  • Study Elizabeth Seton's story so that you will be prepared to tell it to the group.
  • Invite the children to sit on the floor in a circle.
  • Tell them the story of Elizabeth Seton and pass a picture of her around so all can see it.
  • Emphasize that she was a daughter, a wife, and a mother?an ordinary person who did extraordinary things for people in need.
  • Ask the children to name someone they know who does good things for people in need.
  • Share with the group the names of people and organizations in your parish who serve the poor and vulnerable.
  • Say a prayer of thanksgiving for all the good things these people do for others. Conclude by praying the Lord's Prayer.


Learning Styles

People Smart, Self Smart

Approximate Time

20 minutes


Keep the children focused on people who help those in need and the ways that they do so.


Allow time for everyone to share, but do not force anyone to name a person.