Today is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patron saint of people ridiculed for their piety, Catholic schools, and against in-law problems.

Piety is one we can look to her for intercession with our Lord. If nothing else, our prayer and spiritual growth is necessary as we continue to improve ourselves so with can help others, especially our children with same-sex attraction.

In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that may include religious devotionspirituality, or a mixture of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.

In Catholicism, piety is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. “It engenders in the soul a filial respect for God, a generous love toward him, and an affectionate obedience that wants to do what he commands because it loves the one who commands.”[

Piety belongs to the virtue of Religion, which the concordant judgment of theologians put among the moral virtues, as a part of the cardinal virtue Justice, since by it one tenders to God what is due to him.[

Pope Francis described piety as recognizing “our belonging to God, our deep bond with him, a relationship that gives meaning to our whole life and keeps us resolute, in communion with him, even during the most difficult and troubled moments” in life. [

Saint Seton is also the patron saint of in-law problems. So many of us face the daunting issue of our child’s partner’s parents being in favor and fully supportive of their lifestyle and future decisions like same-sex marriage and children, either by adoption or IVF.

We need to implore upon the intercessions of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton as we struggle with this most real issue. Her personal experiences give her the perspective of what we are dealing with, both personally and with our children and family. If anyone knows about being ridiculed and ostracized about their beliefs it is this Patron Saint!

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“Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts.” ~ Elizabeth Ann Seton

“The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.”

“We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that He gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we ourselves are so weak, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”

“Oh my God, forgive what I have been, correct what I am and direct what I shall be

“We must often draw the comparison between time and eternity. This is the remedy of all our troubles. How small will the present moment appear when we enter that great ocean.” ~ Elizabeth Ann Seton

“Faith lifts the soul, Hope supports it, Experience says it must and Love says…let it be!.” ~ Elizabeth Ann Seton

– Quotes from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Click arrow for her full story!



“Be children of the Church. Be children of the Church.” –Last words of Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first American-born saint. To begin her story, picture the world in 1774. The scene is bustling New York City, a principal trade center of the colonies, and it is 2 years before the American Revolution. The time period is one of plots and secret meetings and concern for the future of the New World. Her father is a doctor who becomes New York’s first health officer. They are a devout Episcopalian family. Her mother dies when she was only three years old.

In 1794 Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, a rich business man. They had five children, three daughters and two sons. Elizabeth became good friends with her sister-in-law Rebecca Seton and together they went on missions of mercy to help the poor of New York. They did so much work for the poor, they were called the ‘Protestant Sisters of Charity.’ Before her last child was born, Elizabeth’s life changed dramatically.

Her father-in-law died, leaving Will with a failing business and Elizabeth with Will’s seven brothers and sisters to add to her already full household. She took over the bookkeeping for her husband’s business, working long hours at night. They cut expenses every way possible, but eventually had to declare bankruptcy.

William became very ill with tuberculosis. Some business friends encouraged William and Elizabeth to sail to Italy in an attempt to save William’s life. Her husband died on that visit. The friends they stayed with, the Fillichis, were Catholics, and while Elizabeth was in Italy, she learned about the Catholic faith. Seeing how the Fillichis’ Catholic faith sustained them, she longed for their certainty, and the sight of the Blessed Sacrament passing in procession by her window created in her a great desire to believe as they did. When she returned to New York, she continued to learn about the Catholic faith, and was baptized into the Catholic Church. She returned to the United States, a homeless single parent with little worldly goods and no income. Most of her family and friends did not approve of her conversion. After her baptism, they stopped visiting her, and would not help her support her family.

It was a bleak time, but Elizabeth’s faith was strong. With the encouragement of a priest and Archbishop Carroll, she moved with the children to Baltimore. Elizabeth needed a way to support her family, so she opened a school for girls in Baltimore. With her spiritual life steadily deepening, Elizabeth felt called to religious life. She faced new obstacles and misunderstandings. An arrangement was agreed upon where she could care for her children and receive the habit, a modified version of her widow’s garb. She wanted to teach children and help the poor. Other women helped her, including her sister-in-law Rebecca, who also converted to Catholicism. The community of women grew.

After a few years, they were organized into a religious community called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. Elizabeth Ann was chosen to be their first superior. She was called “Mother Seton.” The Sisters of Charity are still active today, teaching children and helping the poor.

Elizabeth also did a great deal of writing. She translated many French spiritual works, composed hymns and other music, and kept detailed diaries and journals of her spiritual progress and struggles.

The nuns and students were often sick. Tuberculosis struck one after another of Elizabeth’s family. She was holding her daughter, Anna when she died, then she buried her much loved sister-in-law, Rebecca Seton, and just a few years later, her fourteen year old daughter, also named Rebecca, died.

She was 46 when the disease that had taken so many of her loved ones attacked her, too. As she suffered with the tuberculosis, her sick bed was placed so she could see at all times the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament. Only her daughter, Catherine, and her Sisters were with her when she died. Her last words to them were “Be children of the Church. Be children of the Church.” By the time she died on January 4, 1821, the Sisters of Charity had 20 houses in North America.

The first miracle credited to her intercession was the cure of a nun who suffered from cancer. This occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1935. She was declared Blessed in 1963 by Pope John XXIII, the first step toward her canonization. She was canonized as a saint in 1975 by Pope John Paul II.

Seton Hall College (now known as Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey) was formally founded on September 1, 1856, by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, of the then-Diocese of Newark. Bishop Bayley was a cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt and a nephew of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for whom he named the institution.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!

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