St. Elizabeth Ann Seton turned her life over to Christ and let Him use her to help build a young American nation
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4, 2020): 1 JN 3:7-10; PS 98:1,7-8,9; JN 1:35-42
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Founder of the first religious order of women in America; founder of the first parish school in America, founder of the first Catholic home for orphaned children in America – this is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Yet her early life signaled none of these things. Born in New York just two years before the start of the American Revolution, she was part of wealthy and prominent Episcopal family. She married a prosperous businessman and had five children, but their finances suffered a major reversal and her husband died of tuberculosis by the time she was thirty. Through the kindness and example of Italian friends, she was drawn to Catholicism and, despite, great prejudice against the Church in the United States, she converted. Elizabeth then faced ostracism from relatives, friends and neighbors. At the suggestion of a priest, she and her children went to Maryland where she started a school in Baltimore. Over the next few years, she established the Sisters of Charity to educate children, care for orphans and the sick, and otherwise serve the needy.
In today’s Gospel we hear, “Jesus turned and saw them following Him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see” (John 1:38-39). St. Elizabeth answered Christ in the same way – by turning her life over to Him. She could never have imagined as a child where life would take her, but it did not matter. This first American-born saint simply put her trust in our Lord and let Him lead her. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton died in 1821 and became a saint in 1975.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask St. Elizabeth Seton to help us serve God and help His people by putting His will above ours. Let us especially aid those in greatest need of body or spirit.