Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

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The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth are a Roman Catholic apostolic congregation of pontifical right, based in the Convent Station area of Morris Township, New Jersey. The religious order was established in 1859 in Newark, New Jersey, following the example of Elizabeth Ann Seton's community that was founded during 1808 in Emmitsburg, Maryland.The stated purpose of the order is to show the love of Jesus Christ in serving those in need, especially the poor.

History[edit]

In 1858, the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, James Roosevelt Bayley, a nephew of Elizabeth Ann Seton, applied to the superior at Mount Saint Vincent's, New York, for sisters to form a separate mother-house in his diocese. Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan, who for twelve years previously had been a member of the Sisters of Charity, of St. Vincent de Paul in New York was in charge of St. Mary's, Newark.[1]

At the request of Bishop Bayley, Mary Xavier Mehegan was appointed superior of the new foundation, with Sister Mary Catherine Nevin assistant. The habit and the constitutions of the Sisters of Charity in New York were retained. On 29 September, 1859, the new community was formally opened in St. Mary's, Newark, the first superior general being the Reverend Bernard J. McQuaid, later Bishop of Rochester, New York.[2]

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth founded the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, the first secondary school for young women in the state, near Morristown in 1860 during the same year that they established their motherhouse at that location. Eventually, the nearby community became known as Convent Station because of a railway station built during the 1870s with funds provided by the order, to accommodate their needs. In 1899 the religious order also established the College of Saint Elizabeth on the same campus, becoming the first college for women in New Jersey and one of the first Catholic colleges in the United States to award degrees to women. The Saint Anne Villa is the retirement facility on the campus for members of the order. Later in 1935 the Sisters of Charity also sponsored a second academy, Marylawn of the Oranges, a college preparatory school for young women in the Essex County area.

In August 1904, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, by approval of Bishop John J. O'Connor of Newark, took on the responsibility of planning and organizing a new hospital in the City of Elizabeth. On May 30, 1905, it opened its doors under the name of St. Elizabeth Hospital. Through the years many renovations and relocations took place. In January 2000, following the consolidation of St. Elizabeth Hospital and Elizabeth General Medical Center consolidated to form Trinitas Regional Medical Center, a service healthcare facility serving Eastern and Central Union County It is also a Catholic teaching hospital.[3]

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth congregation is one of the independent groups among a federation of Sisters of Charity that formed in 1947.

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