Feelings change, emotions rise and fall, but God remains our anchor. It’s that truth, as St. Teresa of Avila and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton knew, that brings us peace, no matter the storms that rage around us.
Both St. John Henry Newman and Mother Seton were generous in their affection for many friends. In their lives we see how holiness and the natural virtue of friendship go hand-in-hand.
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.
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.
Mother Seton suffered much during her life, from poverty and social hostility, to the deaths of many loved ones. She persevered and carried on her work, thanks to her faith and courage. But through it all, she always accepted her own weakness, knowing that the true source of her strength was the Crucified Christ.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton grew up longing for a mother’s love. Her own mother died when she was just three-years-old. So when Elizabeth entered the Catholic Church, God gave her his own mother, Mary. For the rest of her life, she clung to the Blessed Mother. And just as she urged her Sisters to sing Mary’s praises, she urges us to do the same.
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.
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.
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.