When we see ourselves in the light of eternity, we know that the pains and sorrows of this world are nothing compared with the glories of heaven.
Everyone loves a birthday, but St. Elizabeth Ann Seton intuitively saw something the Catholic Church also uniquely sees: Birthdays have a deep and powerful meaning.
The difference is great between the young African tribesman in Uganda and the religious foundress from New York City. But Pentecost Sunday reminds us just how alike they really are.
What attracted Mother Seton to the Catholic Church was the closeness of Christ, from the intimate scenes of the nativity, to His presence in the Eucharist. Like the great saint Athanasius, she proclaimed the truth of the Incarnation to all—“God is so infinitely present to us that he is in every part of our life and being.”
While this Holy Thursday will be marked by quiet in empty churches worldwide, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mother Seton shows us just how great the shout of triumph will be when we can finally receive Him again.
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.
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.
Something powerful always happens when divinity meets humanity. This is best exemplified in the Incarnation, when God took on human flesh, and we see this reflected when ordinary people rise to become saints. Mother Seton’s life speaks to this mystery, and by her example she leads us closer to the Incarnate Word.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton loved to quote Saint Ambrose, one of the four original Doctors of the Church. On his feast day, we pray that we might follow in his and Mother Seton’s footsteps in teaching the true faith to others — both in words, and in authentic lives of devotion and service.
Veterans Day honors those who have served in the military, and is also the feast day of the soldier St. Martin of Tours. The virtues of obedience, humility and sacrifice, which are shared by soldiers and saints, were evident in the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who left hearth and home to do spiritual battle for the Kingdom of Christ.
At Mother Seton’s canonization, Pope Paul VI said “A Saint is a human creature fully conformed to the will of God.” Consider these four ways that St. Francis and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton embodied this standard in their own lives.
The wisdom of the Saints transcends time and place, as we see in the lives of St. Gregory the Great and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Separated by 1,200 years, each Saint lived in tumultuous times, balancing action and contemplation in ways that are relevant in any age.
The Church teaches that Mary’s assumption anticipates the resurrection of the saved, and is a sign of hope and comfort for us all. In her life, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton continually relied on this certain hope, in the sure knowledge of Mary’s presence in eternity, body and soul.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton had a bold spirit, embraced new identities, made a home in hard circumstances, and left a giant legacy. She embodied many of the best virtues of being American.
What does the Ascension of the Lord mean for the world and for our own lives? The answer can be found in the faith journey of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who kept her gaze firmly fixed on Jesus, through time and eternity.
The rituals of Holy Week evolved over centuries to help us enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Through her own experiences of suffering and joy, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s life was a mirror of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.
St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton teach us that God won’t make troubles go away, but he will protect us in the midst of them. They both found strength by responding to God’s call, even when it meant leaving everything behind.
St. Peter is honored because despite his weaknesses, he loved and followed Jesus, and became the first pope. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton also chose a difficult path, when she answered God’s call, and entered the Catholic Church. Like St. Peter, Mother Seton’s humility became her greatest glory.
The conversions of Paul and Elizabeth Ann Seton may seem exceptional, but each of us, in our own life, can experience the same grace by opening our heart when Christ calls.