St Elizabeth Ann Seton – 04 Jan
Born 28 August 1744 in New York city into a wealthy and influential Episcopalian family, the daughter of a Dr Richard Bayley; Elizabeth was raised in the New York high society of the late 18th century. Her mother died when Elizabeth was three years old, her baby sister a year later. In 1794 at age 19 she married the wealthy businessman William Magee Seton, and was the mother of five.
About ten years into the marriage, William’s business failed, and soon after he died of tuberculosis, leaving Elizabeth an impoverished widow with five small children. For years Elizabeth had felt drawn to Catholicism, believing in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and in the lineage of the Church going back to Christ and the Apostles. She converted to Catholicism, entering the Church on 14 March 1805, alienating many of her strict Episcopalian family in the process.
To support her family, and insure the proper education of her children, she opened a school in Boston. Though a private and secular institution, from the beginning she ran it along the lines of a religious community. At the invitation of the archbishop, she established a Catholic girl‘s school in Baltimore, Maryland which initiated the parochial school system in America. To run the system she founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first native American religious community for women.
She died on 4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland of natural causes.
We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives – that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him. – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will. – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
What was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know if was to do his Father’s will. Well, then, the first purpose of our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will. We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty. – from the writings of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton