Monday, March 11, 2013

Elizabeth Ann Seton

One of my new favorite saints is Elizabeth Ann Seton. I had felt a nudging by the holy spirit to read more about this women for the last few months. I finally gave in and downloaded a book on my kindle. It was incredible. It has been a while since I really read the story of the life of a saint. Reading of the trials and hard times Elizabeth had to endure strengthened my own faith walk. Here a few gems that I took away from her life:

-She was the mother of 5 children, 2 of whom died. I am not sure if it is entirely true (although I like to think it!) but after the death of her two children she had a hard time saying "thy will be done" in the Our Father. She was so scared God would allow another one of her children to die.

-She watched her husband die of tuberculosis while in a foreign country.....along with her 8 year old daughter watching as well....

-While morning her husband's death in Italy she became familiar with the Catholic Church and felt God calling her to convert from her Episcopalian faith to Catholicism.

-Once back in the states she now was a widow with 5 children and not a clue as to how they were going to make it.....her trust in God's care continued to amaze me as I read of all the daily trials she endured.

-Her relatives gave her money to live....except when they found out she was becoming Catholic-then they took away everything and she was again in a state of uncertainty

-America in those days was really anti-Catholic ( I was shocked reading this-must have missed that part in History class!). There was only one bishop (can you imagine!) in the whole U.S. back then. As an Episcopalian Elizabeth had been wealthy and enjoyed Sunday services with the elite of society. Now as a Catholic she was crowded into pews next to German and Italian immigrants who spoke no English and were very, very poor.

-She talked about going to mass and walking through the "mob" or protestants that surrounded the front doors. They yelled and cursed at her. During mass they threw a brick in the window (which knocked the priest down, but no one was hurt) and then they continued to chant "we will burn this unholy place down" over and over again until finally the police came and made them disperse.

- She had no intention of remarriage and instead felt God calling her to start a religious community. This was the first place where the "parochial school" began in America. And I loved this part-the clothes she picked for the women who came to the order  to wear were the traditional black dress of morning that widows wore. I loved how she incorporated that part of her former life into the new order.

-"The most generous saints remain," This is what her spiritual director had to tell her over and over again after the death of her daughter. Elizabeth was overcome with grief and could not find happiness or joy the way she used to. Hearing this sparked something in her soul and she slowly began to have the desire to live again.

Overall, she is awesome. I highly recommend reading up about her sometime soon!

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton-Pray for us!

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