In the late 60’s the metropolitan area of St. Louis began to expand dramatically with a demographic movement to St. Charles County. The Archdiocese of St. Louis began to consider the establishment of a new parish in St. Charles. On May 29, 1975 the Archbishop of St. Louis, John Cardinal Carberry, canonically erected a new parish to be founded by Father John Hickel. That coming Fall the first American born saint would be canonized, and it was decided that the new parish would be named after her, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Plans were made to establish the new parish in the southwestern corner of the city of St. Charles and the eastern end of the city of St. Peters. Land was purchased and a design was selected for the building of a temporary church (later to become a gymnasium) connected to a school for the new parish. The most unique parish development was in place for this new parish dedicated to Mother Seton. Her dedication to Catholic education was to be the inspiration for founding a school that would be shared–a regional Catholic elementary school. The neighboring parish, St. Robert Bellarmine, founded in 1963, had never opened a school. It was decided that St. Elizabeth’s and St. Robert’s would partner in the work of Catholic education.
The fledgling parish began to meet in the Saint Andrew’s Cinema for weekly worship. Pioneer parishioners still remember fondly the Sunday Masses in the theater. That first Fall the new parishioners gathered with their founding pastor on the field where the new parish would be constructed on September 14, 1975. That was the day in Rome, when Pope Paul VI canonized Mrs. Seton. Those first parishioners celebrated their first gathering on the site of the parish with an outdoor Mass and a picnic lunch. On that day the formal groundbreaking was accomplished–the Seton Scene had begun!
As construction was completed in the summer of 1976 much work was being done to prepare for the opening of St. Elizabeth/St. Robert Regional Catholic Elementary School that Fall. What followed was a hint at what would be the experience of the new parish for the next twenty years. Registration for school outstripped the capacity of the new building. Plans were immediately put into place, even before the school opened, to add a new addition to the new school.
Throughout the tenure of the first and founding pastor, Monsignor John Hickel, the parish grew with leaps and bounds. The first rectory, a subdivision house on Sunny Days Court, eventually was transformed into a convent for the two Sisters of St. Joseph who had been with the parish since the school had opened, Sisters Catherine Ingolia, CSJ (1922-1990) and Patricia Flavin, CSJ. A new rectory was built on the parish grounds in 1981.
One of the accomplishments of the growing parish was the development of so many organizations vital to parish life. Many members of those organizations banded together to clear the wooded back lot in order to establish the ball field, which has been an integral part of the life of the parish ever since. The dedication and hard work to clear the lot, like so many other parish projects of St. Elizabeth’s, put the new parish on the map.
An organization, whose growth is worthy of special mention, is the Apostolic Works Ministry (AWM). This group was formed by the parish in response to the financial need of some of the parishioners. An annual auction was established to fund the work. The reach of the AWM has grown over the years as a means to provide emergency assistance to anyone in the area. At the turn of the millennium the AWM is helping people with mortgages, health needs, rent, and medical expenses in the name of Christian charity.
In 1989 it was decided that the parish needed a permanent church building. There was also the need for a larger gathering space for the now large parish family. The church was dedicated in 1991 by Archbishop John May. The new building includes a chapel for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament which is open 24 hours a day and a spacious hall for parish gatherings.
In September of 2000, the parish celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary. To mark this milestone, the people of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton made a lasting gift to the community by building an entire house with Habitat for Humanity. The Alleluia House stands as a visible sign of the jubilee commitment to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a New Millennium.
Over the years Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton has been the proud home for thousands of Catholics in St. Charles County and many fine priests have served the parish working to build up a family of faith in Christ Jesus.