Since my ordination I’ve kept near to me words of Mother Seton that echo her ‘Yes” which created a sisterhood of Charity. Her intercessory presence is with me now, in the center of the pandemic, as I serve in isolation at a nursing home in New York City.
Not only did St. Elizabeth Ann Seton endure much suffering and illness throughout her life, but she underwent her own harrowing quarantine with her dying husband far from home. This Lent we can unite our own inner and exterior trials across time and space with the communion of saints.
From the hardscrabble immigrants she worshiped with and whose piety she learned from, to the Irish clergy and bishops with whom she worked to build her religious community, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton always had a heart for the Irish.
Frances of Rome and Elizabeth Ann Seton were very different women who took similar paths to sainthood. They each received the grace to found religious communities, by praying without ceasing, and trusting in God’s plan for their lives, no matter the circumstances they encountered.
These two brave and unselfish women devoted their lives to educating poor children and ministering to the needy. We can see their legacies today in the religious communities they founded, and the thousands of Catholic schools across our nation.
Mother Seton didn’t walk the Way of the Cross alone during her life, but rather she surrounded herself with a community, with whom she journeyed in mutual dependence, step by step, along the path Christ set for them. During Lent, together with the Church, we are all invited to do the same.
Though more than a millennium separates us from the evangelical mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and two centuries from Mother Seton, their approach to evangelization is a model for the Church today.
Mother Seton was no stranger to illness and suffering within her family. By her example and through St. Blaise’s intercession, we can place our family’s health in the Lord’s hands, confident that He will bind up our wounds.
St. John Bosco and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton presented lessons of love and gentleness to the most vulnerable of children. Their gentle instruction inspired their respective countries through the many thousands of pupils who would be taught by the communities they founded.