The History of South Holland Seton Academy Catholic High School
South Holland (population 22,030) is located in northeastern Illinois northwest of the intersection of I-80 and I-94. U.S. Route 6 passes directly through the center of town. The Chicago suburb is located in far southern Cook County 24 miles due south of downtown Chicago. South Holland was established in 1870 as Low Prairie and became an official Illinois city in 1894 as South Holland.
Seton Academy High School was established in 1963. It served the community and surrounding area well for 53 years. In 2016 the difficult decision to close the school was made. Falling enrollment and financial strife were contributing factors to this decision.
“A history of Seton Academy High School is copied below from the school’s website, http://www.seton-academy.org/domain/5
“In 1963, Seton Academy, formerly known as Elizabeth Seton High School, opened its doors as an educational ministry to young women. The school was built on a 12-acre campus and operated by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio, and named after founder Mother Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint of the Roman Catholic Church. The school prided itself on its reputation as being where “young women strived for academic excellence.”
In 1987, the Sisters returned to their Motherhouse in Cincinnati, Ohio and the school, now sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago, was rededicated as Seton Academy. In the fall of 2003 Seton Academy admitted the first class of young men and the class of 2007 was Seton’s first coeducational graduating class. As the pre-eminent Catholic college preparatory high school in the Chicago southland, students are united by shared values, a desire to lead, and a commitment to
Through the years, Seton’s enrollment has been enriched with diversity and our environment driven by core values. Seton remains committed to helping your child reach his or her full potential with shared common goals, academic excellence, top quality educators, and the use of cutting edge technology to provide students with new opportunities to be challenged, to grow, and prepare for life.
At Seton Academy you will see learning, commitment and accomplishment both inside and outside of the classroom…you will see how Seton succeeds!
Seton Academy is accredited by the State of Illinois and by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Seton is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Elizabeth Ann Seton
Elizabeth Ann Seton was born on August 28, 1774 to Richard Bayley of New York City. She was raised in the Episcopal Church. Her mother, daughter of an Episcopal priest, died when Elizabeth was three. At the age of nineteen, she married William Magee Seton, a wealthy businessman. Five children were born to the marriage, Anna Maria, William, Richard, Catherine (also known as “Kit”) and
Her husband’s business lost several ships at sea and the family ended up bankrupt. Soon after, her husband became ill and his doctors sent him to Italy for the warmer climate, with Elizabeth Seton accompanying him. In Italy, they were held in quarantine, during which time her husband died. She spent time with a wealthy family where she was exposed to Catholicism. Two years later she converted to Roman Catholicism, on March 14, 1805 and was received into the Church by the first bishop of Baltmore, John Carroll. One of her half-nephews, James Roosevelt Bayley, would later also convert, and became Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Owing to her conversion, she lost the support of her friends and family. To support her children, she started a school in Baltimore, but it failed due to the anti-Catholic bigotry of the day. In 1809, after some trying and difficult years, Elizabeth moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where a year later she established Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School, a school dedicated to the education of Catholic girls, at the invitation of Samuel Sutherland Cooper. Cooper was a wealthy convert and seminarian who knew of the Catholic settlment near Emmitsburg and the newly established Mount St. Mary’s College and Semnary, begun by Father (later Bishop) John Duboisand the Sulpicians.
Eventually, Elizabeth was able to establish a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland dedicated to the care of the children of the poor. It was the first religious community of apostolic women founded in the United States, and its school was the first free school in America. The order was called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.
The remainder of Elizabeth’s life was spent in leading and developing the new order, which expanded to include the Sulpician priests of Baltimore. Today, six independent religious communities trace their roots to the humble beginnings of the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
St. Joseph’s Academy eventually developed into Saint Joseph College, which closed in 1973. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) purchased the buildings and land of Saint Joseph College in 1979 and it is now the site of the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) housing the Emergency Management Institute, the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy.
Elizabeth was described as a charming and cultured lady. Her connections to New York society and the accompanying social pressures to leave the new life she had created for herself did not deter her from embracing her religious vocation and charitable mission. She established St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School in order to educate young girls to live by religious values. The greatest difficulties she faced were actually internal, stemming from misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts, and the deaths of two daughters, other loved ones, and young sisters in community. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 46 in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Today, her emains are entombed in the Basilica that bears her name: the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Dedicated to following the will of God, Elizabeth Ann had a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture, and the Virgin Mary. The 23rd Psalm was her favorite prayer throughout her life. She was a woman of prayer and service who embraced the apostolic spirituality of Saint Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul.©
Seton Academy Catholic High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1963
Year closed: 2016
School Team Nickname: “The Sting”
School Team Colors: Black & Yellow
School Fight Song: Needed