Friday, January 4, 2019

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821); First Friday of the Month

Friday before Epiphany

Readings of the Day
RB: Prologue 21-32
Mass: 1 Jn 3:7-10; Resp Ps 98; Jn 1:35-42

Behold a wise woman who has built her house. She feared the Lord and walked in the right path.

On this First Friday of the Month, the First Friday of 2019, we celebrate Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native saint of the USA. May God be praised. She was anything but idle during her life of charity. Elizabeth was wife, mother of five children, then widow. She founded the American Sisters of Charity, was beatified by Pope St John XXIII, and canonized by Pope St Paul VI. St Elizabeth Ann Seton is the Patron of Catholic Education in America. Her nephew, Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, founded Seton Hall University in 1856.

Not unrelated, we are reminded by St Benedict of two very important teachings from Saint Paul’s Epistles, words which Elizabeth surely embraced:

By the grace of God I am what I am. 
(1 Cor 15:10/RB Prol. 31)
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. 
(2 Cor 10:17/Prol. 32)

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's burning zeal to find you,
grant by her intercession and example
that we may always seek you with diligent love
and find you in daily service with sincere faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Collect, Mass)

From the Homily of Pope Paul VI at our Saint’s Canonization
September 14, 1975

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 marvellously 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.


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