The unshakable faith of Saint John XXIII and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton flowed from their devotion to the “strength of goodness.” This devotion was inspired by the humble and outward-serving influences of people who left indelible marks on the young lives of these two great saints.
The difference is great between the young African tribesman in Uganda and the religious foundress from New York City. But we are reminded of their similarities through their different spiritual gifts in the same Spirit and their different forms of service for the same Lord.
When Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized in 1975, it was Pope Paul VI who declared to the world her sainthood. 43 years later, Paul VI was canonized a saint, joining Mother Seton in inspiring the world to live bold and authentic Catholic lives.
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.
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.”
Saint George was a man who abandoned one army for another. He gave up the rank of tribune to enlist as a soldier for Christ. Like Saint George, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton shows us how to face our spiritual battles, confident in Christ’s victory on the cross.
Despite times of anguish about the salvation of souls, for Mother Seton the crucifixion was not a sign of the wickedness of sin or the devil’s hour, but the ultimate sign of Christ’s sympathy and love for sinners.
This Holy Thursday will continue to be marked by limited attendance in churches worldwide, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mother Seton’s longing for the Eucharist during her life mirrors our elation when we finally receive Him again.
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.
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.
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.
For St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the three Lenten marks of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving were a way of life. Her words can inspire us to view these three practices of Lent as one integrated act.
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.
Even though St. Elizabeth Ann Seton spent much of her adult life educating and instructing others in the Catholic faith, she never stopped being a student herself. Her own education in the faith can be traced back to the iconic saint and student, St. Thomas Aquinas.
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.
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.
In the lives of St. Stephen and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton we see that authentic service to the poor is deeply rooted in love for God and His Truth.
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.
Mary holds for us many graces — we need only ask her for them with confidence and love.
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.
The Saints who have gone before us show us how to live with the terrors and incivilities of our times.
St. John Paul II’s description of the beauty of authentic womanhood meets fulfillment in the life and work of Mother Seton.
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.
Probing the depths of our faith, we see that truth can be illuminated by some of the most confounding paradoxes.
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 Christian life asks of us devotion and suffering but promises to those who persevere the crown of eternal life.
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.
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.