A valiant woman she and Father Joseph Dirvin does magnificently by her in a detailed biography. Elizabeth Bayley Seton lived only 47 years, from 1774 to 1821. New York born and bred, she was the daughter of the city's first health officer; her father-in-law was a member of the city's first Chamber of Commerce; by birth or by marriage she was related to the most prominent New York families, including the Bayleys, the Setons, the Roosevelts, the Pelis and the Deeysters. During a tumultuous life this extraordinary woman was a gay society belie, and beloved wife, the mother of five children, and the founder of the first native American sisterhood, the first American parochial school and the first American Catholic orphanage. While always a devout Episcopalian, instinctive towards the symbols and doctrines of the Catholic Church indicated that she was a soul naturally Catholic."" Her conversion took place in Italy after the death of her husband. Overcoming all obstacles, she became a nun in 1809, and shortly thereafter founded the American Sisters of Charity. Father Dirvin gives us a portrait in depth. She lived to see two of her daughters suffered maternal agonies over her sons to the cut of life; she lost friends y becoming a Catholic; she went from great wealth be poverty; she set in motion ""circles of salvation which still move in ever sweep..."". Thousands of Americans hope that she will be declared the first American saint, and Rome is considering her cause. Preface by Giovanni Cardinal Cicog, Papal Secretary of State is a tribute to the woman and her biographer.