The Life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Born Elizabeth Ann Bayley in New York City, Mother Seton is a saint of firsts: first American-born saint, leader of the first Catholic girls’ school (and the first free Catholic school of any kind) in the United States, and foundress of the first American order of religious sisters — the Sisters of Charity.

Elizabeth was born into a prominent Anglican family and was married in the Anglican Church.  With her sister-in-law, Rebecca, she tended to the poor around New York, earning a reputation for her compassion and mercy.  In 1803, she traveled to Italy with her ailing husband in the hope that the climate would aid his recovery.

William Seton died in Italy later that year, but in her grief Elizabeth discovered a new love: the Catholic Church.  She scandalized her Protestant family and friends by being received into the Church in New York City on Ash Wednesday, 1805.

Finding NSt. Elizabeth ann Seton2ew York no longer hospitable to her Catholic zeal, Elizabeth suffered through some trying years before finding a haven in Baltimore.  I twas there that she channeled her passion for service into girls’ education.  She also pursued her dream of religious life, fashioning a rudimentary habit in the style of nuns she had seen in Italy.  Other women were drawn to her, and in 1809 the Sisters of Charity was born, based on the example of St. Vincent de Paul.

Mother Seton died in 1821 in Emmitsburgh, Maryland, where her school still sands.  In her refusal to let the social pressures of her station restrain her witness to the Catholic Faith — in word and deed — she is a wonderful example for us in a secularizing world.

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Mary Visits Her Children: Our Lady of Fatima

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Today, October 13, is the 100th Anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun,” the final event predicted by Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children.  The miracle was witnessed by over 70,000 people. Here’s the story behind the story.

Nine-year-old Lucia dos Santos looked into the angry face of her mother and wondered if this was what the Beautiful Lady meant when she said Lucia would suffer. Little Lucia had never experienced such fury from her mother, nor had her mother ever called her a liar before. Indeed, her heart was deeply saddened. Yet a warm glow filled her whenever she thought about the Lady from Heaven who had visited her and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco. Read the rest…

Mary Visits Her Children: Our Lady of Fatima

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Nine-year-old Lucia dos Santos looked into the angry face of her mother and wondered if this was what the Beautiful Lady meant when she said Lucia would suffer. Little Lucia had never experienced such fury from her mother, nor had her mother ever called her a liar before. Indeed, her heart was deeply saddened. Yet a warm glow filled her whenever she thought about the Lady from Heaven who had visited her and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco. Read the rest…

Woman of Grace: St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 – 1947)

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It is natural to express thanksgiving for being released from difficult trials and circumstances. But who would be grateful for those who cause such difficult trials or circumstances? This is the stuff of saints — the very stuff of which Saint Josephine Bakhita was made.

Read the rest…

Lenten Wisdom from a Six Year Old

I’m re-posting this blog which was written several years ago.  It contains a four point plan to help you make this a good Lent and some wisdom from my granddaughter Julia.  At the bottom, I’ve shared the podcast from yesterday’s Women of Grace Live radio program as well as my Lenten themed e-book.  During the program we talked about this blog and had a lively, thought-provoking discussion about it.  Please read, listen and share.

May God bless you abundantly this Lent.  

This morning, my somewhat precocious six year old granddaughter and I had a conversation over breakfast:

“Grandma,” she said gazing out of the kitchen window in our Florida home.

“Yes, Julia?” said I.

“Pretty soon Easter will be here because it is Spring outside.”

“Yes, you are right. Ash Wednesday is this week and that begins the season of Lent.” Read the rest…

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton — A Real Woman of Grace

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In my reliquary, I have a first class relic of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be canonized. I find it appropriate that a woman was the first of our land to be lifted to the altar of Christ by Holy Mother Church. After all, our country and all of North America is dedicated to the woman: the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our special patroness is also the Blessed Mother under her name, Immaculate Conception. Read the rest…