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.