In the rich tapestry of Catholic saints, we know Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton as the first native-born American to be canonized. Born in 1774, she dedicated her life to faith, education, and service, leaving an indelible mark on the world and serving as a beacon of light, illuminating the path of holiness for all of us today. Her unwavering devotion to God and commitment to everyday responsibilities inspire us to cultivate a deep love for God in all aspects of our lives. In this series, we explore the valuable lessons we can learn from her remarkable example, starting with nurturing a profound love for God.
Lesson 1: Cultivating a Personal Relationship with God
Elizabeth’s unwavering love for God was the foundation of her life. As a young widow, she embraced the Catholic faith wholeheartedly and sought to cultivate a deeper personal relationship with God. She understood the importance of prayer, reflection, and study in deepening her connection with the Divine.
“Go to him with faith, love and confidence – He will help. Fill yourself with his Spirit and He himself will govern.” – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Just as she faced challenges, uncertainties, and doubts, so do we in our busy lives as students, professionals, and young women striving to find our place. We can emulate her today by simply prioritizing our relationship with God. Setting aside dedicated time for prayer, engaging in spiritual reading, and seeking moments of solitude and reflection allows us to deepen our love for God, inviting His grace and guidance into our lives.
Lesson 2: Seeking Wisdom in Scripture
Elizabeth had a profound love for Scripture and recognized its transformative power. She immersed herself in the Word of God, drawing inspiration and guidance from its pages. In a world filled with distractions and pressures, we, too, seek answers and guidance.
“[I] recall the word — my Bible, commentaries, [Thomas à] Kempis — visible and in continual enjoyment. When I cannot get hours I take minutes … Sometimes I feel so assured that the guardian Angel is immediately present that I look from my book and can hardly be persuaded I was not touched.”
Following her example, we can embrace Scripture as a wellspring of wisdom, strength, and solace. By regularly reading and studying the Bible, attending Bible study groups, and meditating on its teachings, we can deepen our understanding of God’s plan for our lives and find answers to life’s challenges.
Lesson 3: Embracing the Sacraments
Just as Elizabeth faced moments of doubt and sin, so do we in our fast-paced lives where mistakes can feel overwhelming. In those moments, Elizabeth found solace and strength in the sacraments — the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation were central to her spiritual life.
“This Bread of Angels removes my pain, my cares, warms, cheers, soothes, contents and renews my whole being.”
We can learn from her example by actively participating in the sacramental life of the Church. Receiving the Eucharist with reverence and frequency, and approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation with humility and sincerity, enable us to experience the transformative power of these sacraments in our lives. The sacraments become a source of grace and nourishment, enabling them to grow closer to God and live out their faith authentically.
Nurturing a profound love for God was at the core of Elizabeth’s spiritual journey. We can follow her example by cultivating a personal relationship with God through prayer, reflection, and study. Embracing Scripture as a source of wisdom and integrating the sacraments into our lives, we deepen our faith, find guidance, and draw strength from our divine connection. These lessons from Elizabeth can inspire us to pursue a vibrant and intimate relationship with God, enriching our lives and guiding us on our spiritual path.