As we endure trials and isolation during the pandemic, we can look to St. Julian of Norwich and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for strength. They share the mystic’s confidence that “all shall be well” if we trust in God. These things that we suffer and fear – pain, death, illness, loss, and strife – Jesus has already overcome. We suffer in the world, but He has conquered the world.
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.
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.”
Elizabeth Ann Seton’s young daughters liked to write out the holy initials J+M+J in imitation of their mother. In difficult times we can go with the saints to the heart of the domestic Church, to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the family of God.
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.
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.
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.
Since my ordination I’ve kept near to me words of Mother Seton that echo her ‘Yes” which created a sisterhood of Charity. Her intercessory presence is with me now, in the center of the pandemic, as I serve in isolation at a nursing home in New York City.
Not only did St. Elizabeth Ann Seton endure much suffering and illness throughout her life, but she underwent her own harrowing quarantine with her dying husband far from home. This Lent we can unite our own inner and exterior trials across time and space with the communion of saints.
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.
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.
These two brave and unselfish women devoted their lives to educating poor children and ministering to the needy. We can see their legacies today in the religious communities they founded, and the thousands of Catholic schools across our nation.
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.
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.
Mother Seton was no stranger to illness and suffering within her family. By her example and through St. Blaise’s intercession, we can place our family’s health in the Lord’s hands, confident that He will bind up our wounds.
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.
Often the greatest saints practice the smallest and most simple virtues. Inspired by the spiritual writings of Francis de Sales, the saint of everyday holiness, Mother Seton put his teachings into practice as she treaded forward on her own path to sainthood.
Archbishop Lori was the main celebrant at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Feast Day Mass on January 4th, 2020. If you missed it, you can read his full homily on how she lived a life of love and service despite hardships and challenges.
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.
Encountering the massacre of the innocents so soon after the joy of Christmas Day is a shock. How should we respond to such massive injustice? Mother Seton showed us that we can transform the world, one person at a time, by responding with love when faced with suffering, without asking “why” or waiting for justice.
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.
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.
At Guadalupe, our Blessed Mother’s personal relationship with the people of Mexico changed the world. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton discovered the same truth in her own life. When you remember that Jesus and Mary are your family, then truly, anything is possible.
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.
Rob Judge, Executive Director of the Seton Shrine, Sr. Anne Marie Lamoureux, D.C., Maida Connor, Director of Donor Relations, and Tina Heffner, Executive Assistant, recently traveled to Evansville, IN to visit with the Sisters in Residence. During an enjoyable two day visit, the Seton Shrine members gave a presentation to over fifty sisters on the…
Amidst catching up after a long weekend (with our bellies still full from feasting at Thanksgiving), many of us are realizing that Christmas is just twenty-three days away. The Seton Shrine Gift Shop is here to help! Staff compiled the top five gifts we recommend this year that you can purchase online! And we ship!…
Over the next four weeks, the Seton Seton will reflect on Mother Seton’s lifelong journey of Advent. Each week we’ll meditate upon how she walked the path each of us must walk and learn from her what it means to cry “Maranatha! Come, Lord!”
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.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a day to reflect on the gift of maternity in all its forms, and to consider the example of Mother Seton, who stepped into the hard tasks of motherhood with courage and unswerving faith.
Like Mother Seton, Mother Cabrini is a saint whose life helps us to remember God’s perspective when we’re in the middle of setbacks and frustrations. No apparent failure is so devastating that He can’t bring good from it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We don’t like to put ourselves under the authority of another. For us, power is often synonymous with oppression. But in Christ, and in Our Lady, Mother Seton, and the saints, power exists in the framework of love. And when Love is what rules us, everything changes.
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.
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.
Throughout their lives, St. Anne and Mother Seton had little idea of the glorious destiny God had in mind for them. They show us how to be faithful to God in all things, and to trust in his perfect plan for our lives.
In the lives of these two saints – one so modern, the other so ancient – the Church reminds us of what it means to be a saint: staying close to Christ.
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.
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.
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.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist even before she was fully received into the Church. Let us remember her witness this Corpus Christi, as we approach the altar to receive the great gift of God himself.
Throughout her life, Mother Seton knew that we are never truly alone, even when life’s challenges are most daunting. Our Heavenly Father is always there for us—present, loving, merciful.
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.
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.
We say the words “Thy will be done” countless times, but do we really mean them? St. Elizabeth Ann Seton shows us how we can grow into our prayers – even the tough ones – by opening ourselves to God’s love, and learning to trust Him completely.
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.
On Divine Mercy Sunday we each have the opportunity to summon within our hearts the same trust in God’s mercy that Mother Seton had: “We are truly his and he is truly ours.”
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.
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.
Mother Seton’s extraordinary legacy of doing good in the world contradicts the story told by our secular culture, which says that children are an obstacle to women’s achievement.
God doesn’t want a casual relationship. He wants us to turn to him in everything we do. As St. Elizabeth Ann Seton says: “He wants us to lift our hearts to him. Always.” And Lent is a perfect time to practice giving Him all of ourselves, the way He gave himself to us.
A few weeks after her conversion, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton celebrated the Annunciation by receiving Holy Communion for the first time. Thereafter, even in moments of poverty, loss and death, Elizabeth would follow Mary’s example with grace, courage, and a mission to serve others.
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.
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.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton found in Sacred Scripture a path to God. Her life embodied what the Second Vatican Council called the “force and power in the word of God” that becomes the “support and energy of the Church.”
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 love between spouses is a mirror of God’s enduring love for us. Few examples of such love are more poignant than Elizabeth Ann Seton’s tender care for her dying husband William during their long quarantine in a damp lazaretto after their journey to Italy.
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.
When the Holy Family presented the infant Jesus at the temple, Mary learned that her soul would one day be pierced by a sword. Like the Blessed Mother, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s faith-filled devotion helped carry her through the pains and trials of motherhood, and can inspire us today.
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.
We used to celebrate Christmas for forty days, a period symbolizing conversion. Mother Seton’s own life-changing Christmas experience prompts us to ask ourselves—did we open our hearts to the Christ child this year? Or did we lock the door of the inn?
John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton bore their challenges with total confidence in the infinite presence of God. I try to keep their examples in mind when the daily living of my faith feels daunting.
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.
Reflecting on the journey of the three wise men helped lead Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to the Catholic Church. The Feast of the Epiphany is a good time for us to ask: Where are we traveling? What are we seeking? What star will we follow?
Christmas is joyous, but it’s also a time when the stresses and conflicts of family life can lead to bitterness. In such moments we should follow the example of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who knew that only by looking towards eternity can we attain peace here on earth.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s last words were “Be children of the Church.” Advent reminds us that belonging to the Mystical Body of Christ does not depend on our feelings; it depends on our orientation of heart; on where we bring and put our bodies; on a relationship with Christ that is intimate beyond imagining.
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.
When we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, we proclaim with the Church that Jesus is the “King of the Universe.” Few understood this fact more intensely than Mother Seton. Do we allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives? Do we accept him as King in all things?
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton accepted God’s will for her life as something sweet—even adored. How can we achieve the same spiritual surrender in our own lives?
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton knew the secret of God’s grace and generosity. She once wrote: “The greater my unworthiness, the more abundant His mercy.” Her words are a great consolation when we feel weak in the face of a world that needs us.
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?
From the seeds planted 200 years ago, the church that Elizabeth Seton cherished as her “ark” today serves more than 64 million Catholics.
There is a lot this homegrown saint can teach us, especially these three lessons from her life.
Elizabeth Bayley Seton and her family shaped Catholic life in nineteenth century America. And they continue to shape it today.