Download Elizabeth Seton: American Saint Audiobook

Elizabeth Seton: American Saint Audiobook, by Catherine O’Donnell Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Catherine O’Donnell Narrator: Marguerite Gavin Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2018 ISBN: 9781538517949
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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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Quotes & Awards

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

    John Loughery, author of Dagger John

  • “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

  • “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

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About the Author

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 the Narrator

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.”