Elizabeth Ann Seton, Holy New Yorker

Behold a wise woman who has built her house. She feared the Lord and walked in the right path.

That’s Saturday’s entrance antiphon to the Mass, as we celebrate the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who came to America, was received into the Catholic Church at St. Peter’s church in Manhattan (near where the World Trade Center would stand and disintegrate), and was herself a building block of schooling in America.

She was a wife and mother, who founded a religious order after her husband died.

About her conversion, she wrote that she had been “admitted to a new life, and to the peace which passeth all understanding” as her “soul offered all its hesitations and reluctances a sacrifice to God, and on the 14th of March was admitted to the true Church of Jesus Christ, with a mind grateful and satisfied as that of a poor shipwrecked mariner on being restored to his home.”

As the mainstream media starts to pay some more attention to the affronts to religious liberty in our midst, as people suffer without it throughout our world, she’s not a bad one to call upon for prayerful intercession.

From a remembrance of one student of her St. Joseph’s Academy:

“Never can I forget,” says a lady, alluding to her entering the academy, ” never can I forget my first meeting with our beloved Mother. Separated from my parents and home, a child of but eight years, I alighted from the carriage at St Joseph’s, and felt for the moment I was a stranger. A band of young ladies came forth with joy to meet my travelling companions whom they knew, and in advance of them there walked a lady with outstretched arms, who kindly welcomed and embraced us. So maternal was her manner that she gained my heart at once, and I was happy under the same roof with Mother Seton.”

This could describe today so many of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other women religious among us today, in education and elsewhere (even on the Billboard charts!), who, like Seton, act from “the deepest convictions of truth, while the kindness which she manifested easily prepared the way for its willing reception by others.”

As Pope Francis holds people’s attention and fascinates, rather than make him an idol among idols, we could follow the lives of the Little Sisters and so many lay people — including fellow educators and businessmen, too — who are in court to protect in our law the freedom to love God for real, with integrated lives of Christian witness. This is what he is pointing to: The full implications of the Gospel.

Some Seton links:

A national shrine.

And, of course, in NYC.

on “An American Daughter.”

the homily at her canonization.

Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America. Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage. This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of new and authentic riches that are yours: that religious spirituality which your temporal prosperity seemed to obscure and almost make impossible. Your land too, America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness.

New Advent’s bio.


A prayer collection.

For teachers.

Seton as a heroine of religious liberty in America.

Here’s a prayer attributed to her that could get us living differently:

Soul of Jesus, Sanctify me.
Blood of Jesus, Wash me,
Passion of Jesus, Comfort me.
Wounds of Jesus, Hide me.
Heart of Jesus, Receive me.
Spirit of Jesus, Enliven me.
Goodness of Jesus, Pardon me.
Beauty of Jesus, Draw me.
Humility of Jesus, Humble me.
Peace of Jesus, Pacify me.
Love of Jesus, Inflame me.
Kingdom of Jesus, Come to me.
Grace of Jesus, Replenish me.
Mercy of Jesus, Pity me.
Sanctity of Jesus, Sanctify me.
Purity of Jesus, Purify me.
Cross of Jesus, Support me.
Nails of Jesus, Hold me.
Mouth of Jesus, Bless me in life, in death, in time and eternity.
Mouth of Jesus, Defend me in the hour of death.
Mouth of Jesus, Call me to come to Thee.
Mouth of Jesus, Receive me with Thy saints in glory evermore.

Let Us Pray
Unite me to Thyself, O adorable Victim. Life-giving heavenly Bread, feed me, sanctify me, reign in me, transform me to Thyself, live in me; let me live in Thee; let me adore Thee in Thy life-giving Sacrament as my God, listen to Thee as to my Master, obey Thee as my King, imitate Thee as my Model, follow Thee as my Shepherd, love Thee as my Father, seek Thee as my Physician who wilt heal all the maladies of my soul. Be indeed my Way, Truth and Life; sustain me, O heavenly Manna, through the desert of this world, till I shall behold Thee unveiled in Thy glory.

Amen, indeed.

Let’s pray that we may have her courage:

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith.

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