212 1-4-21 St Elizabeth Ann Seton Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
The many enforced separations from her dear ones by death & distance, served to draw Elizabeth’s heart to God and eternity. The accepting & embracing of God’s will- “The Will,” as she called it – would be a keynote in her spiritual life. Elizabeth’s deep concern for the welfare of her family and friends eventually led her to the Catholic faith. In Italy, Elizabeth captivated everyone by her own kindness, patience, good sense, wit, and courtesy.
During this time Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith, and over a period of months, her Italian friends guided her in Catholic instructions. Elizabeth’s desire for the Bread of Life was to be a strong force leading her to the Catholic Church. Having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith. Elizabeth finally joined the Catholic Church in 1805.
At the suggestion of the present of St Mary’s Collage in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. She and two other young women, who helped her in in her work, began plans for a sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.
On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, & obedience, binding for one year. From that time on she was called Mother Seton. Although Mother Seton was now afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The rule of the sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the rule St Vincent de Paul had written for his daughters of Charity in France.
By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two Orphanages and another school. Today six groups of sisters trace their origins to Mother Seton’s initial foundation.
For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only 16 years after becoming a Catholic. She was canonized on Sept. 14, 1975.