Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
"Mother Seton" was the name everyone knew Elizabeth by when she died on January 4, 1821, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. A life full of surprises had led to that name.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York City on Auugust 28, 1774. Her father, 'Richrd Bayley, was a well known doctor. Her mother, Catherine, died when Elizabeth was just three yars old.
In 1794, Elizabeth married William Seton. He was rich merchant who owned a fleet of ships. Elizabeth, William, and their five children had a happy life together. Elizabeth devoted her time to her family, to helping others, and to prayer. The Seton family belonged to Trinity Episcopal Church in New York City.
But soon, Elizabeth's happy life would change. First her father, who she loved very much, died. Then her father-in-law also died, and the Seton fortune quickly dwindled. Next Elizabeth's husband Will became sick.
In October, 1803, Elizabeth brought Will to Italy, hoping the climate there might help him get better. With their oldest daughter, Anna, they journeyed by ship. But Will died shortly after their affival. In her grief, Elizabeth prayed, "My God, I am alone in the world with you and my little ones. But you are my Father and doubly theirs."
Elizabeth and Anna remained in Italy as guests of the Filicchi family. The Filicchis were ver kind. They tried to ease Elizabeth and Anna's sorrow by sharing with them their own deep love for the Catholic faith. Elizabeth returned home to New York convinced that she would become a Catholic. Her family and friends didn't understand and were upset with her decision. But Elizabeth went ahead with courage. She joined the Catholic church on March 14, 1805.
A few years later, Elizabeth was asked to come and open a girls' school in Baltimore. It was there that Elizabeth decided to live as a religious sister. Many women come to join her, including her sister and sister-in-law. Her won daughers, Anna and Catherine, also joined the group. They became the Sisters of Charity, and Elizabeth was given the title "Mother Seton". The sisters' first house was small, with no running water. In the winter, they would wake up in the morning covered with a dusting of snow that had fallen through the roof! The had to walk several miles every Sunday to attend Mass in town.
More young women came to join Mother Seton, and the community grew. The sisters moved into a larger house, and Elizabeth's good works continued to spread. Besides founding many Catholic schools, she also opened orphanages. She even made plans for a hospital, which was begun after her death. Elizabeth loved to write. She also translated some textbooks from French to English. But she was best known for the way she visited the poor and the sick.
Eliabeth was canonized a saint by Pople Paul VI on September 14, 1975. She is the first U.S. born citizen to be declared a saint.
Whenever we have a problem we can talk to God about it. He will always help us to know what to do. When we trust God as St. Elizabeth Seton did, he will bring good out of even difficut situations.