Tag Archives: St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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But we lack
courage to keep a continual watch over nature, and therefore, year after year,
with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions, and fair promises, we run
around in a circle of misery and imperfections. After a long time in the
service of God, we come nearly to the point from whence we set out, and perhaps
with even less ardor for penance and mortification than when we began our
consecration to him.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Divine Office, Office of

There are very few American women who have had an impact on civil and religious society because today’s saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, with the work of education and hospitals and other institutions of culture that her order, the Sisters of Charity, did for all of us.

Ask Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for us right now to help us to make Jesus known through acts of charity and mercy.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen. (a prayer by Saint Elizabeth Seton)

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), a native of New
York was socialite, a wife, a mother, a convert to Catholicism and a foundress
of a religious community of women. Seton is the first native-born American
citizen to be canonized. She founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows
With Small Children, New York City’s first private charitable organization, and
founded the U.S. Sisters of Charity. Seton was responsible for the parochial
school system in the USA. 

A video was made of Seton and you can watch the trailer here.

Even more on Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton may be found here,
including the liturgical prayer for her.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

St Elizabeth Ann Seton2.jpgLord God, You blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to Your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for You in love for others.


At the Mass which Pope Paul VI declared Seton a saint he said:


 Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with spiritual joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she marvelously sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. This is the title which, in his original foreword to the excellent work of Father Dirvin, the late Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, attributed to her as primary and characteristic: “Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American”! Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America. Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage. This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of new and authentic riches that are yours: that religious spirituality which your temporal prosperity seemed to obscure and almost make impossible. Your land too, America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness. And here is a splendid proof-among many others-of this fact.


May you always be able to cultivate the genuine fruitfulness of evangelical holiness, and ever experience how-far from stunting the flourishing development of your economic, cultural and civic vitality -it will be in its own way the unfailing safeguard of that vitality. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was born, brought up and educated in New York in the Episcopalian Communion. To this Church goes the merit of having awakened and fostered the religious sense and Christian sentiment which in the young Elizabeth were naturally predisposed to the most spontaneous and lively manifestations. We willingly recognize this merit, and, knowing well how much it cost Elizabeth to pass over to the Catholic Church, we admire her courage for adhering to the religious truth and divine reality which were manifested to her therein. And we are likewise pleased to see that from this same adherence to the Catholic Church she experienced great peace and security, and found it natural to preserve all the good things which her membership in the fervent Episcopalian community had taught her, in so many beautiful expressions, especially of religious piety, and that she was always faithful in her esteem and affection for those from whom her Catholic profession had sadly separated her.



·         Born in New York City, August 28, 1774

·         Married William Magee Seton, January 25, 1794; mother of 5 children; William died in Pisa, December 27, 1803

·         Received into the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday, March 14, 1805, by Father Matthew O’Brien in St. Peter’s Church, Barclay Street, NY

·         Formation of the new community in 1808, first Religious Congregation of women in the USA

·         Died at Emmitsburg, Maryland, January 4, 1821

·         Canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI

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Her devotion to the Eucharist, sacred Scripture, especially the 23rd Psalm, and the Blessed Virgin Mary are hallmarks of Seton’s spiritual life. Following the example of Saints Vincent de Paul and Louis de Marillac hers was an apostolic spirituality.


The Church says officially: In Emmitsburg, Maryland, USA, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton who, after having been widowed, professed the Catholic Faith and worked competently at educating girls and feeding impoverished children as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph, which she founded. (Martyrologium Romanum, 2005)

What Providence disposed: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

The September 1st issue of America Magazine, the Jesuit weekly, there is a good article

seton.jpgto read on America’s first canonized saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. Sister of Charity Regina Bechtle’s article “An American Daughter: Elizabeth Ann Seton and the birth of the U.S. Church” is a good read for those generally interested in matters pertaining to Catholicism in America. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to know that Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first American born canonized a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1975?


What’s the point of this “stuff” about Seton in late August when her feast day is in January? Well, for one, August 28th marked her 234th birthday and mid-September marks 33 years since Seton was canonized. Too, this year is the 200th anniversary of Pope Pius VII named Baltimore an “archdiocese” along with 4 other Catholic dioceses.


We might also consider the possibility of making a pilgrimage to one of the shrines dedicated to Seton. In a real sense it is less important that we end up at a holy spot just for doing it than it is to take stock of our spiritual lives with God’s grace and with assistance of a particularly singular saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, who made a deliberate choice to follow Christ through His sacrament, the Catholic Church. (BTW, she was a believing Christian but she did not possess the fullness of Truth as we know it in Catholicism.) A pilgrimage, therefore, may open for us an opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional Presence before us like we’ve never understood before now. So, what happens to us on the way to a holy shrine is very important indeed. Hence, we follow Christ!


In case you want to visit the shrines of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton on the east coast there

Seton Shrine.jpgare two:


1. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, Maryland


2. The Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, New York City



Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Ann Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers, may we, whose Faith Community is dedicated in her honor, learn to express our love for you in our love for all your children. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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