Presenter Information

Alice Ann M. O'Neill S.C., Ph.D.


Elizabeth Seton was a teacher for almost her entire life. A major portion of her experience as a teacher came as she instructed her own children. The combination of roles as mother and teacher expanded as she opened St. Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg, where she acted as a mother to her students and was the religious mother of the Sisters of Charity. St. Joseph’s admitted poor and wealthy girls; although they were not formally admitted, free and enslaved black students also received some education there. The curricula and organization of the school are described. Long quotations from Elizabeth’s writings offer her thoughts on teaching and illustrate her relationships to those she taught.