Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is recognized as the first American born Saint (28 August, 1774 – 4 January, 1821), she was raised in the Episcopalian Church which during those times, was much more conservative than what you see today.
At that time the Catholic Church in America was undergoing persecutions.
The influx of Catholic Immigrants from Europe was beginning in full swing. The Catholic Church went from something like 15,000 to 17,000 thousand to over 20,000,000 in a short period of time.
To the Protestants, this was seen as a threat to their vision of a Protestant Nation. Catholic Churches in New York and Philadelphia were ransacked and burned to the ground, convents were attacked by Protestant mobs.
Protestant Universities began to push Anti-Catholic belief’s using misrepresentations from Maria Monk and others that still have affect today. Even though all this was vindicated by the individuals themselves.
People like Jack Chick and Tony Alamo are among those who still push this Anti-Catholic rhetoric. Anti-Catholic sentiment have always been a recognized sport in America from several groups such as the fundamentalist Protestant to the Humanist Secularist Atheist.
Such was the time of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Her Husband died in Italy as a result of a terrible illness. Elizabeth would be exposed to the Catholic Faith as she stayed with her husband, William Magee Seton who died sometime in 1803.
She began to build a hospital but because of the anti-Catholic sentiments that was the environment, it did not succeed.
It was not long however, that she caught the eye of some of the Catholic Clergy such a french Priest, Abbé Louis Dubourg, and the Bishop of Baltimore, John Carroll.
Through their urgings and support, St. Elizabeth would establish the Catholic School system, she would establish a community of Sisters at Emmitsburg.
They would eventually become part of the Daughters of Charity after 1850. She was dedicated to the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary, and the scriptures.
Of her many attributes, courage is definitely high on the list along with faithfulness. She was a strong women during a time that had many demands. Elizabeth was also a Mother, who lost two daughters.
Prayer was her lifeline. Taking a passage from St. Paul, St. Elizabeth once said, “We must pray literally without ceasing—without ceasing—in every occurrence and employment of our lives…that prayer of the heart which is independent of place or situation, or which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him”.
St. Elizabeth was canonized a Saint by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963. It is reported that one of her favorite Scriptures was Psalms 23. That happens to be one of mine as well. I would sing this Psalms as a hymn that my Son’s had put together musically in our “Final Hour” days.
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