Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York City in 1774. She married William Magee Seton, a New York merchant, in 1794. In 1797, with Isabella Graham and others, she founded a society for the relief of widows, the first charitable organization in New York City. Her husband died in 1803. In 1805 she converted to Catholicism, and in 1808 she began a girls' school in Baltimore, Maryland. In the spring of 1809 she and four others formed a community called Sisters of St. Joseph. That summer they moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and took, with some modifications, the rule of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. After 1812 they were known as the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph and constituted the first native American religious community. She was beatified in 1963 and canonized in 1975.