In the late 1960’s, the St. Louis Metropolitan Area began a dramatic demographic movement to St. Charles County. The Archdiocese of St. Louis realized a need to establish of a new parish in St. Charles. On May 29, 1975, John Cardinal Carberry, the Archbishop of St. Louis, canonically erected such a new parish with Father John Hickel as founding pastor. That following Fall, the first American-born saint would be canonized, and it was decided the new parish would be named after her, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Detailed plans were made for the new parish in the southwest corner of the city of St. Charles and the eastern portion of the city of St. Peters. Property was purchased and a design for a temporary church (later to become a gymnasium) and a school building were approved, and the fledgling parish first met for weekly worship in the Saint Andrew’s Cinema.
On September 14, 1975, the parishioners gathered with the new pastor on a field where the parish plant would be constructed; the same day in Rome, Pope Paul VI canonized Mother Seton. They celebrated with an outdoor Mass, a formal ground breaking, and a picnic lunch.
As the neighboring parish, St. Robert Bellarmine, founded in 1963, had never opened an elementary school, it was decided that St. Elizabeth and St. Robert Parishes would partner in the work of Catholic education. Inspired by Mother Seton’s dedication to Catholic education, this new elementary school would be called St. Elizabeth/St. Robert Regional Catholic School.
Construction was completed in the summer of 1976, and classes began that September. Registration outstripped the capacity of the new building. Plans were immediately made, even before the school opened, to add a new addition to the building. In the Fall of 1976, Cardinal Carberry blessed the new buildings.
During Father John Hickel’s tenure as pastor, the parish grew by leaps and bounds. The first rectory, a subdivision house on Sunny Days Court, would eventually be transformed into a convent for two Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters Catherine Ingolia, CSJ (1922-1990) and Patricia Flavin, CSJ (1932-2018). The current rectory was built on the parish grounds in 1981.
Many organizations were founded that made St. Elizabeth a vibrant parish family. One particular organization was the parish Apostolic Works Ministry (AWM). This group was formed in response to the financial need of both parishioners and non-parishioners. The reach of the AWM has grown over the years as a means to provide emergency assistance to all in the area, with mortgages, rent, food, utilities and medical expenses.
In 1989, the parish agreed that a larger permanent Church building was necessary, with more adequate gathering space for the growing parish family. The Church was dedicated in 1991 by Archbishop John May, with a chapel for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament open 24 hours a day, and a spacious hall for parish social gatherings.
By 2010, work began on a renovation the Church, including an enhanced vestibule, addition of a bell tower and elevator, and overall transformation of the worship space. Archbishop Robert Carlson came to rededicate the renewed Church in 2011.
In September of 2017, the regional school expanded to include students from St. Peter’s Parish, and was renamed Seton Regional Catholic School.
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.