Sunday, August 24, 2008

St. Elizabeth Seton

This remarkable woman was a Catholic convert, the first American born canonized saint, and the foundress of “the first active religious community of women founded in the United States.”

A wonderful article about her is in America magazine.

An excerpt.

“Early in the life of her community, Elizabeth wrote, “There is every hope that it is the seed of an immensity of future good.” God speedily fulfilled her hope. After opening an academy and free school in Emmitsburg, she sent Sisters of Charity to Philadel-phia in 1814 and to New York in 1817 to care for orphans in both cities. When Elizabeth died in 1821, her community was only a dozen years old, yet some 60 Sisters of Charity in three dioceses were tending orphans, visiting the sick, teaching, catechizing and serving the poor of every type.

“Elizabeth Seton’s journey to Baltimore in 1808 led eventually to the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. For her indomitable hope, fidelity to God’s will and unswerving devotion to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and in life, she was canonized in 1975, the first native-born American to be so honored. Like the community she founded, the five original dioceses linked with her life have flourished beyond all expectation. Today, in over 190 dioceses coast to coast, the church that Elizabeth Seton cherished as her “ark” serves more than 64 million Catholics. During this bicentennial year of the Baltimore Archdiocese, one can readily imagine the diminutive convert-mother-widow-foundress contemplating the American Catholic scene, with all its scars and struggles, from the vantage point of her beloved eternity, and celebrating the “immensity of future good” that has sprouted from the seeds planted 200 years ago.”