Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
New York City
I took this photo in August 2013, the only time I have ever visited New York City. I created this graphic with the YouVersion Bible App, download on the App Store
This post originally published September 10, 2016 and updated September 9, 2022.
about Elizabeth Ann Seton
Through the efforts of Charlotte Grace O’Brien, this church was originally established as a mission for female Irish immigrants coming to America during the late 19th century.
Elizabeth Ann Seton occupies a unique place in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. She established the first free Catholic school for girls in the nation and founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity. In 1975 she became the first American-born saint to be canonized by the Vatican.
Above the entrance, looking out over New York harbor, is a white marble statue of Mother Elizabeth Seton sculpted by Robert E. Gaspari. Francis Cardinal Spellman dedicated the shrine on September 8, 1965.
For many years, St Peter’s had become primarily a service church, a kind of parish-away-from-home for thousands who filled the area each workday. Then, after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, both St Peter’s and her chapel, St Joseph’s in Battery Park City, were used as staging grounds for rescue and recovery operations.
“We were the first place they were bringing all the emergency equipment. Everything was in disarray,” then-pastor Fr Kevin Madigan stated. “Supplies were piled six feet high all over the pews, bandages, gas masks, boots, hoses and cans of food for the workers and the volunteers, many of whom were sleeping in the pews on bedrolls.”
The Church celebrated Masses occasionally, but only for the rescue workers and those few others with credentials to enter the area.
In 2015, the Parish of the Our Lady of the Rosary was merged back into St Peter’s Parish to form St Peter -Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, both churches suspended in person services to protect their parishioners and the community.
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