Posted by: fvbcdm | January 4, 2013

Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (4 Jan 2013)

January 4 is the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the only “charter member” of the United States of America to be canonized thus far. She was a two-year old child of a wealthy and prominent Episcopalian family in New York City when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Thus, at age 2, she went from being a subject of King George III of England to being a citizen of the United States of America. During her early childhood, she probably heard the distant roar of cannon or the rattle of musketry as American patriots and British soldiers fought in Manhattan where her family lived, or across the East River in Brooklyn or the Bronx. When she was fifteen, she danced at the inaugural ball when George Washington, former commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces became the first president of the new nation. She married, had five children, went to live in Italy whose climate was supposed to be better for her husband, who had tuberculosis. There she became a close friend of a Catholic family who influenced her greatly by their faith. She watched with sorrow as her husband grew more and more ill and then died there in Italy. She returned to New York, became a Catholic, suffered the pain of rejection by her family and most of her friends who resented her conversion, made arrangements with Bishop Carroll of Baltimore to open a Catholic school for children—the first of its kind in our nation—and formed a group of ladies who worked with her into the first religious community of the United States. Her school and religious community were located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where her body lies today in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity. So, in a very real sense, she is the most American of all the saints and blesseds who have labored and achieved sanctity in what is now our country.

January 5 is the anniversary of my baptism, so I ask you to join me in thanking God for that tremendous gift which has so totally shaped my life.

And January 6, this coming Sunday, is the solemnity of the Epiphany, when we celebrate the coming of the Gentile magi, summoned by a miraculous star, to the feet of the infant Christ whom they found “with Mary his mother.” Jesus is always to be found with Mary; if you wish to pray for a conversion of someone you care about to our holy faith, ask Our Lady to intercede. There is no better way. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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