Before she became a foundress and a saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton was a wife, a mother, a teacher. On All Souls Day, her example reminds us of the dignity of the ordinary faithful who keep things going, bearing everyday witness to the power and value of a life in Christ.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, like so many other saints, took inspiration from the lives of those who came before her. For All Saints Day, why not copy the venerable practice of seeking out a patron saint to teach you throughout the next liturgical year?
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a woman of great works, but she was also a mystic. Like Saint Augustine, her restlessness led her to open her heart fully to God, to ask the most essential questions about her very being, knowing that she could fully trust in His answers.
Letting go of fear and the desire to control our own lives leads to the true detachment and peace that mark the lives of Christ’s followers.
St. Martha is counted as one of the blessed, despite her fears and anxieties, and difficulties in understanding her vocation. What she and Mother Seton teach us is that only in Christ’s call for our lives do we find true joy and consolation.
Like Saint Benedict, the father of western monasticism, Mother Seton’s life was grounded in contemplation and action. She was a woman of prayer who put all of her energy into the work God called her towards, always trusting in Grace.
Both St. Philip Neri and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton joyfully allowed the winds of the Holy Spirit to lead them wherever He desired. They each followed the path set for them by God, until they reached their crowning glory in Heaven with Him forever.
At Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church through imagery of divine wind and fire. For Mother Seton—and for Catholics today—it’s within the storms and wreckage of life that grace is encountered, and new paths are revealed.
When Bernadette Soubirous and Elizabeth Ann Seton each discerned their callings, these future saints gave unstinting witness to their missions, in extreme obedience to truths that brought hope and light to many. They never backed down.
For humans, finding a balance between justice and mercy is always difficult. But St. Elizabeth Ann Seton understood that God’s grace transcends earthly limits, and allows mercy to fall lightly from heaven on our hearts and minds.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s words are a reminder to us on this Good Friday that the heaviness of the Cross binds us to Christ, who is Peace, Justice, and Mercy.
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.
When we consider Mother Seton’s legacy, on the 200th Anniversary of her death, we can see how her faith in God grounded her life of service, and that heaven itself is seeded with her prayers for the help of others.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s entire life testified to the meaning of the Incarnation. In Jesus’s vulnerability, He taught us to trust that all of God’s purposes redound to our good. In God’s gift of himself, He taught us how to freely give of ourselves to others.
As we see in the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and in the life of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, we are each made for some purpose. Not for “nothing,” but decidedly for “something” in the grand scheme of the world and all of its intended Glory.
If we really understood Lent, we would be as enthralled with Ash Wednesday as Mother Seton was. It is through our Lenten journey inward into “the great empty” that we encounter God and meet our authentic selves.
Looking for a role model to inspire your New Year’s resolutions? Who better than St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, America’s first native-born Saint, whose feast day falls on January 4. She overcame the same obstacles we struggle with in our own lives. A friend we can identify with is one we are more likely to emulate.