From Adversity to Sainthood: Elizabeth Ann Seton ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI
R 1 :1 JN 3:7=10
R Psalm: PS 98:1, 7=8, 9
Holy Gospel: JN 1:35=42
Liturgical colour: White.
Today is the Memorial of my Order Name Saint, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton. I was given this Saint because my Bishop saw quite a lot of similarities between our lives. We both share overcoming many life traumas and adversities, but yet, both of us always remained strong of faith.
Mother Seton founded the first American religious community for women, the sisters of charity, and so was a keystone of the American Catholic church. Mother Seton also opened the first American parish school, and the first American Catholic orphanage. All this, she had accomplished by the age of 46, whilst raising her own five children.
Mother Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born on Aug 28th 1774, only two years prior to the declaration of Independence.
By both birth and marriage, Mother Seton was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society, but this wasn’t to last.
Mother Seton suffered the early deaths of both her mother in 1777, and of her baby sister in 1778, but far from letting it get her down, she faced each new ‘holocaust’ as she called it, with a hopeful cheerfulness.
At only aged 19, she married a handsome wealthy businessman named William Magee Seton and they had five children together. But William’s business failed, and he died of Tuberculosis when Elizabeth was aged 30, leaving her widowed, penniless and with five young children to support. Many of her family and friends rejected her when she converted to the Catholic faith in March 1805.
As a means to support her children, mother Seton opened a school in Baltimore which always followed a religious community pathway and her religious order of the sisters of charity was officially founded in 1807.
The thousands of letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her Spiritual life from that of a person of Ordinary goodness, to one of heroic sanctity. She suffered many great trials within her life yet with her strong faith, she overcame them all. Trials of sickness, of misunderstanding, the deaths of her loved ones (mother, baby sister, husband, and even two of her own children), and the heartache of having a wayward son.
St Elizabeth Anne Seton died on January 4th 1821, she became the first American=born citizen to be beatified in 1963, then Canonized in 1975. She is buried in Emmitsburg in Maryland.
Let us pray:
O Father, the first rule of our dear Saviour’s life was to do your will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for it’s complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing your Will may be pleasing in your sight.
You must be logged in to post a comment.