July 31, 1809: The Sisters of Charity at Emmitsburg Begin Living Their Rule

by | Jul 31, 2020 | Formation

“Elizabeth left Baltimore on 22 June 1809, for her new home in Emmitsburg, a small town about 50 miles west, with her daughter Anna Maria, her Seton sisters-in-law Cecilia and Harriet, and Sister Maria Murphy Burke. When they arrived the next day, they temporarily moved into Reverend John Dubois’ log cabin on St. Mary’s Mountain until the farmhouse they were to occupy in St. Joseph’s Valley was ready for them. By 29 July the rest of her family and companions— Reverend William Dubourg, Elizabeth’s other four children, two female boarding students, and six more women who had joined her fledgling community in Baltimore— had made the journey to Emmitsburg. The Sisters, family members, and students moved into the four-room, two-story stone farmhouse that had belonged to the Robert Fleming family before Samuel Cooper bought it for Elizabeth’s new venture. They began living their Provisional Rule on 31 July 1809, which is considered the founding of the Sisters of Charity.”
– Source: Bechtle, Regina S.C. and Metz, Judith S.C. (2009) “Elizabeth Bayley Seton Writings: Current State and Future Plans,” Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 29 : Iss. 1 , Article 3, pp. 25-26

Rosetta Landry White was the assistant to Elizabeth Seton and succeeded her as superioress of the Sisters of Charity. She was one of the earliest women who had joined the community in Baltimore. She was also a young widow, having lost her husband at sea after just a few years of marriage. She kept a journal covering the period from June 1809 until sometime around 1817. The following presentation is based on part of this journal.

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