Upon landing in Italy, William was confined due to his illness. He died of tuberculosis during the confinement. Elizabeth went on to stay with her husband’s Italian business friends. While in Italy, Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic faith and was encouraged to join the Church.
Upon returning to New York, Elizabeth’s Episcopal friends and family opposed her decision to convert to Catholicism and abandoned her.
She joined the Catholic faith at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City on March 14, 1805 – the only Catholic Church in the city at that time. A year later, she received the sacrament of Confirmation from the Bishop of Baltimore, the Right Reverend John Carroll.