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Seton

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (1774 – 1821) is the first American-born female saint.  She was raised in a Protestant family and, along with her sister in law, performed charitable works and which garnered them the name of the “Protestant Sisters of Charity.”  After her husband William Seton took ill, she accompanied him on a voyage in an effort to improve his health.  They spent time in Italy, where William passed away; however, it was during her time in Italy that Elizabeth gained a great appreciation for the Catholic Church.  Elizabeth was baptized into the Church on March 14, 1805, and received her First Communion on March 25.  It was said that she relished Communion so much that she attended Mass twice on Sundays to receive it.  She began her career in religious education in 1808 in Baltimore where she opened a school for underprivileged children.  The next year, she established the Sisters of Charity of which she served as the mother superior for many years as Catholic education spread across the United States.  In 1814, Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity began operating the nation’s first Catholic orphanage in Philadelphia.  She enjoyed her involvement in Catholic education until her death.  Seton was beatified in 1963, and Pope John Paul II canonized her on September 14, 1975.

Seton enjoyed writing in her journals, studying history, reading Scripture, and translating other works.  Her prayer was “If I am right, Thy grace impart still in the right to stay.  If I am wrong, oh, teach my heart to find the better way.”

Seton is also known for her eloquence in expressing wisdom in both religious matters and daily life:
“The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair.
God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other.  The more we are united to
him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him.”

“Faith lifts the staggering soul on one side, hope supports it on the other.  Experience
says it must be, and love says let it be.”

“Every good action is a grain of seed for eternal life.”