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Friday, January 3, 2014

St Elizabeth Ann Seton

"What are you looking for?" Jn 1:37

Rejected by many in her own staunchly Episcopalian family when she decided to enter the Catholic church, Elizabeth Ann Seton never looked back. A widow at thirty with five small children, she was determined to make a difference in the world. Credited with founding the first religious community of women in the United States as well as the first parish school and first orphanage, Mother Seton remains an icon of integrity and zeal in the American church. Ironically, though he was not a religious man, it seems it was her father's commitment to justice that inspired her to do something for those who had little or nothing.

Her writing, moreover, is rich, simple and direct. In a conference to her spiritual daughters, she writes:
You think it very hard to lead a life of such restraint unless you keep your eye of faith always open. Perseverance is a great grace. To go on gaining and advancing every day, we must be resolute...By what name shall we call our (trials)? One cuts herself out a cross of pride; another, one of causeless discontent; another, one of restless impatience or peevish fretfulness...Yet we know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life.(Office of Readings)
No doubt all of us have crosses, and whether it be pride, discontent or impatience does not matter. For Elizabeth, the knowledge that God called her to motherhood, religious life and work among the poor was enough to sustain her journey even after she contracted tuberculosis. With her example and conviction, we pray the same will be true for us.

Today, put aside the small everyday crosses you bear and focus rather on the enduring presence of God in your life.

How do you sustain your faith during times of rejection or confusion?

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