St. Elizabeth Ann Seton put herself last as she served her beloved Lord
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4, 2019): 1JN 3:7-10; PS 98:1,7-8,9; JN 1:35-42
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Elizabeth Seton, whose feast we celebrate today, accomplished many “firsts” in her life.
She founded the Sisters of Charity, the first American religious community for women. She also started the first American Catholic orphanage as well as the first American parish school. Born in New York City in 1774 to a well-to-do Episcopalian family, she married a successful businessman at age 19. Within ten years, they had five children and her husband died from tuberculosis after his business failed. It was in Italy, where they had gone in hopes of improving his health, that Elizabeth Seton became drawn to the Catholic Church through the example of friends. On her return to New York, she converted and suffered the loss of friends and social position because of anti-Catholic prejudices of the time.
She went with her children to Baltimore to open a school and, in 1809, established her order dedicated to teaching and otherwise serving those in need. The will of God was her guide in all things, especially during the many trials she faced. As we hear in today’s reading, “Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous.… No one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:7,10). St. Elizabeth Ann Seton died in 1821 and was canonized in 1975 – the first American-born saint.