Elizabeth Seton: American Saint Audiobook, by Catherine O’Donnell Play Audiobook Sample

Elizabeth Seton: American Saint Audiobook

Elizabeth Seton: American Saint Audiobook, by Catherine O’Donnell Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Marguerite Gavin Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 12.50 hours at 1.5x Speed 9.38 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: September 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781538517970

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

45:53 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

02:59 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

11:53 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

In 1975, two centuries after her birth, Pope Paul VI canonized Elizabeth Ann Seton, making her the first saint to be a native-born citizen of the United States in the Roman Catholic Church. Seton came of age in Manhattan as the city and her family struggled to rebuild themselves after the Revolution, explored both contemporary philosophy and Christianity, converted to Catholicism from her native Episcopalian faith, and built the St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Hers was an exemplary early American life of struggle, ambition, questioning, and faith, and in this flowing biography, Catherine O’Donnell has given Seton her due.

O’Donnell places Seton squarely in the context of the dynamic and risky years of the American and French Revolutions and their aftermath. Just as Seton’s dramatic life was studded with hardship, achievement, and grief, so were the social, economic, political, and religious scenes of the early American republic in which she lived. O’Donnell provides the listener with a strong sense of this remarkable woman’s intelligence and compassion as she withstood her husband’s financial failures and untimely death, undertook a slow conversion to Catholicism, and struggled to reconcile her single-minded faith with her respect for others’ different choices. The fruit of her labors were the creation of a spirituality that embraced human connections as well as divine love and the American Sisters of Charity, part of an enduring global community with a specific apostolate for teaching.

The trove of correspondence, journals, reflections, and community records that O’Donnell weaves together throughout Elizabeth Seton provides deep insight into her life and her world. Each source enriches our understanding of women’s friendships and choices, illuminates the relationships within the often-opaque world of early religious communities, and upends conventional wisdom about the ways Americans of different faiths competed and collaborated during the nation’s earliest years. Through her close and sympathetic reading of Seton’s letters and journals, O’Donnell reveals Seton the person and shows us how, with both pride and humility, she came to understand her own importance as Mother Seton in the years before her death in 1821.

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“Most Americans (even Catholics) know little about [St. Elizabeth Seton], as general histories of the United States tend to neglect her entirely. Catherine O’Donnell’s superb new biography, a thorough account of Seton’s fascinating life and extraordinary achievements, remedies that oversight…O’Donnell brings Seton vibrantly back to life…There is a power to this book that will remain with readers long after they complete it, and I highly recommend it to people of all faiths.”

— First Things 


  • “From socialite to saint, it was an extraordinary journey for Seton, one gracefully chronicled in Catherine O’Donnell’s richly textured new biography…A remarkable biography of a remarkable woman.”

    — Wall Street Journal
  • “The author situates Seton in the America of the times, including the anti-Catholicism that O’Donnell rightly sees as more nuanced than Seton saw herself…[A] well-documented study.”

    — Library Journal
  • “Thoroughly researched and elegantly written…For once, a biographer does this complex and compelling figure full justice.”

    — John Loughery, author of Dagger John
  • “A thrilling achievement…A compelling portrait of an American coming-of-age in the first decades after independence and a major contribution to our understanding of Catholicism during an enlightened age.”

    — John T. McGreevy, professor of history, University of Notre Dame
  • “The manifest appeal of Elizabeth Seton stems not only from Catherine O’Donnell’s beautifully crafted narrative with its poetic diction, but also the display of the exuberance of Elizabeth’s temperament, talents, holiness, and the intensity of her love of God.”

    — Betty Ann McNeil, DC, editor of Friendship of My Soul: Selected Letters of Elizabeth Ann Seton

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About Catherine O’Donnell

Catherine O’Donnell (PhD, University of Michigan) is associate professor of history at Arizona State University. She is the author of Men of Letters in the Early Republic: Cultivating Forums of Citizenship and Elizabeth Seton: A Life.

About Marguerite Gavin

Marguerite Gavin is a seasoned theater veteran, a five-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones and Publishers Weekly awards. She has been an actor, director, and audiobook narrator for her entire professional career. With over four hundred titles to her credit, her narration spans nearly every genre, from nonfiction to mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and children’s fiction. AudioFile magazine says, “Marguerite Gavin…has a sonorous voice, rich and full of emotion.”