Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What One Woman Did With Grief

I'm fascinated by Elizabeth Ann Seton for a number of reasons. One, she's a convert to the Catholic Church. Two, her grandfather - if I remember correctly - was an Anglican minister. Three, she was tough in the face of loss. Her mother died. Her father died. Her husband died. Two of her children died. Her sisters died.

I probably would have wanted to die too.

But not Elizabeth Seton. Instead, she grabbed hold of the grace she found in Mother Church, and she let it change her.

She went out and changed her world. She began an educational system that would rival that of any industrialized nation. She set a standard of excellence that continues to challenge public schools (and other private institutions) and call them to reform, to improve, or to be rendered inviable.

It is amazing to think that this young widow (of 29 years) had the fortitude to raise five children on her own, give serious and sincere consideration to a faith which none of her family embraced, and willingly give up family and friends to claim the Catholic faith as her own. Before it was all said and done, she would found the Sisters of Charity.

And many of her friends and family would eventually convert as well.

Her favorite prayer:

May the most just, the most high
and the most amiable will of God
Be in all things fulfilled, praised
and exalted above all forever.

My favorite quote by Elizabeth Seton?

"Live simply, so that all may simply live." (From a speech given in the Diocese of Baltimore) Her words seem more important and timely today than they ever did before. On this Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, consider making one modification to your typical consumer lifestyle. And offer the savings back to God. Blessed Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton!


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