St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

(Feast Day: January 4)

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) was the first American to be canonized a Saint. She was a wife and mother of five. After the death of her husband, who was a successful and wealthy businessman, she converted to Catholicism. She was ostracized by high society for her faith, and founded a school for girls so that she could support her children. Mother Seton later founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, the first congregation of religious sisters to be founded in the United States. Its school was the first free Catholic school in America. She is the patron saint of severely ill children, widows, and Catholic schools. Many American Catholic schools and institutions are named for her, and on the doors to St. Patrick’s Cathedral she is called a “Daughter of New York.”

“We must pray literally without ceasing — without ceasing — in every occurrence and employment of our lives … that prayer of the heart that is independent of place or situation, or which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with him.” — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Questions for Reflection:

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton desired to follow the will of God throughout all the changing circumstances in her life, in her varied roles as a wife, mother, teacher, and founder of a religious order. What different roles do you play in your life? How might you follow God through each of those roles? Looking back at your life so far, how has God called you and used your gifts in different ways at different stages of your life?