Meditating on the trials and struggles of St. Louise de Marillac and Mother Seton gives us hope in these uncertain times. We learn that holiness is found not in flashes of glory, but in the messy spaces where one watches, prays, and waits.
This Easter, as our churches stand empty, let us not despair. With St. Mary Magdalene, let us accept Christ’s ‘Do not touch me’ with the certainty that His words give us a new mission, and a new way to be with Him, just as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton met the hardships of her life with renewed faith and strength.
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.
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.
St. John of the Cross and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton teach us how to empty ourselves before God as we journey towards Christmas. Elizabeth’s barren womb, John the Baptist’s desert cry, the shepherd’s confusion, and Mary and Joseph in that cold stable—all of them point to the truth of Advent: the whole, poor world is waiting for Jesus to come.
As Americans, we instinctively resist any sort of absolute authority. How fitting then that it was by letting herself be ruled by Christ, the King, that Elizabeth Ann Seton—the first American-born saint—showed her fellow Americans where liberation must begin: in Him.
What binds Saints Simon and Jude together, aside from their common feast day, is the zealous abandonment embraced by every saint, including Elizabeth Ann Seton, who recognized that each of us is an “impossible cause” searching for God’s mercy.
St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton weren’t holy card or fairy-tale figures, but flesh and blood human beings who struggled with earthly dreams. Their lives suggest a way forward for all of us who suffer the tension between a comfortable life in the world and a life thrown open to Christ.
God calls forth new saints in every place and in every age. He needs only what he needed at Nazareth, when Mary first said “yes”—a willing heart. For the United States, he found such a heart in Elizabeth Ann Seton.
The example of Peter during the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor warns us against taking easy roads to holiness, a lesson that Mother Seton embodied in her life. She always stayed on the narrow path, walking alongside Christ, all the way to heaven.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart teaches us that the way of the saints is not about an abstract ideal or rules for life, but about the unfathomable love of God, who we embrace—blood, sweat and all.
When my fears threaten to overtake me, I look for courage to the lives of the saints, who embraced the certainty of new life in the risen Christ, who lives among us still in the Eucharist, and in the Church.
As we enter the darkness of the Holy Triduum, looking with hope to Easter, the example of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton shows us how to yield our lives to Christ, the Crucified One, that we might live.