Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Paterson, NJ

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native American born to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church.

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The following prayer was composed by Elizabeth Ann Seton before her conversion to Catholicism:

My Father and my God, who by the consoling voice of his word builds up the Soul in hope so as to free it even for hours of its incumbrance, confirming and strengthening it by the constant experience of his indulgent goodness; giving it a new life in him even while in the midst of pain and sorrows--sustaining, directing, consoling and blessing thro' every changing scene of its pilgrimage, making his Will its guide to temporal comfort and eternal glory--how shall the most unwearied diligence, the most cheerful compliance, the most humble resignation ever enough express my love, my joy, Thanksgiving and praise!
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Mother Seton had a great reverence for the priesthood. She wrote the following to a seminarian undecided about his vocation:

To be engaged in the Service of our adored creator, to be set apart to that service,...to plead for Him, to be allowed the exalted privilege of serving H im continually, to be his Instrument in calling Home the wandering soul, and sustaining, comforting and blessing your fellow creatures-- are considerations which bear no comparison with any other and should lead you to consider the very possibility of your realizing the hope they present as the most precious and valued gift life can afford...A man may be a very good man in the pursuit of any other profession- but certainly that of a clergyman is the easiest, surest road to God, and the first, the highest, and most blessed that can adorn a Human Being.
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On leaving the Protestant Church and entering the Catholic Church, Elizabeth Seton wrote to her good friend Amabilia:

I WILL GO PEACEABLY & FIRMLY TO THE CATHOLICK (sic) CHURCH for if faith is so important o our salvation I will seek it where true Faith first began, seek it among those who received it from GOD HIMSELF. The controversies on it I am quite incapable of deciding, and as the strictest Protestant allows salvation to a good Catholic, to the Catholicks (sic) I will go, and try to be a good one. May God accept my intention and pity me.

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On conformity to God's Will she wrote:

Our misery is not conform ourselves to the intentions of God as to the manner in which he will be gloried-- What pleases Him does not please us. He wills us to enter in the way of suffering, and we desire to enter in action. We desire to give rather than receive--and do not purely seek his Will.

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One of her favorite things to say was:

I am the happiest of creatures in the thought that not the least thing can happen but by His will or permission; and all for the best.

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The following is from a letter she wrote to Archbishop John Carroll during her trials and tribulations as Superior:

I have had a great many very hard trials, my Father,... but you will of course congratulate me on them as this fire of tribulation is no doubt meant to consume the many imperfections and bad dispositions our Lord finds in me. Indeed it has at times burnt so deep that the anguish could not be concealed, but by degrees custom reconciles pain itself, and I determine, dry and hard as my daily bread is, to take it with as good grace as possible. When I carry it before Our Lord sometimes he makes me laugh at myself and asks me what other kind I would choose in the valley of tears than that which himself and all his followers made us of.

From Elizabeth Seton Selected Writings, edited by Ellin Kelly and Annabelle Melville, Paulist Press, Inc.

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