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Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is America’s first beatified and canonized saint. The second child of a socially prominent New York City family, she was born on August 28, 1774, two years before the Declaration of Independence. By birth and marriage she was linked to the most illustrious families of New York.

She lost her mother and sister early in life, and her father, Dr. Richard Bayley remarried. From both her mother and step-mother, staunch Episcopalians, Elizabeth learned a love of Scripture and the value of prayer. From her father, a great humanitarian, she learned to serve others.

On January 25, 1794 the nineteen-year-old belle of New York married a handsome, wealthy business man, William Magee Seton. The couple had five children before his finances faltered and international political upheaval and tragic business losses combined to lead to William Seton’s bankruptcy.

Plagued by tuberculosis for most of their married life, in the fall of 1803, William, accompanied by his wife and eldest daughter, sought some relief for his illness in the warmer climate of Italy, where he had business friends. Quarantined for a month by the Italian port authorities, who feared he had yellow fever, William Seton died of tuberculosis on December 27 leaving Elizabeth a penniless widow at the age of thirty.

While staying with her husband’s business partner’s family in Italy, Elizabeth was introduced to the Catholic Faith and closely observed the Filicchi family’s religious practices within the intimacy of their family home.

She was especially attracted to the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the fact that the apostolic succession could be traced back to the apostles and to Christ. Imperceptibly drawn to all that she witnessed first hand, she here began a process of conversion that ultimately led to her being received into the Catholic Church by the pastor of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City on March 14, 1805.

At the invitation of the Bishop of Baltimore and to support her children, she opened a school that, from the very beginning, followed the lines of a religious establishment. Following some difficult years of trials and struggles, in 1809 Elizabeth moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland where she founded the first religious order for women in America, the Sisters of Charity. From this time on, she was to become known as "Mother Seton".

The many letters of Mother Seton reveal her progress in the spiritual life. She suffered great trials: sickness, the death of two daughters, misunderstandings, and the heartache of a wayward son, but persevered through it all advancing from ordinary virtue to heroic sanctity.

Mother Seton died on January 4, 1821, by which day her congregation numbered twenty communities across America.

Cardinal Gibbons, successor to her nephew Archbishop James R. Bayley of Baltimore, introduced her cause in 1907. She was canonized in 1975.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 29, 2020

Those who open their mouth to confess their faith breathe th...

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May 29

 

Those who open their mouth
to confess their faith
breathe the spirit of divine grace,
which is the life of the soul.

St. Anthony of Padua


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. William of Toulouse and Companions

The priests, meeting with much hostility in town, set up in...

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St. William of Toulouse and Companions

William Arnaud, a Dominican, and companions were sent to Toulouse in the South of France by Pope Gregory IX to combat the Albigensian heresy then entrenched throughout the region.

The Albigensian heresy preached a dualism where the body was considered evil. As a consequence, they denied that Christ could have been human, rejected the Sacraments and adopted, in their stead, pagan rituals of “purification”.

The priests, meeting with much hostility in town, set up in a house in the surrounding country, and were making many converts, which upset the local government under Count Raymond III of Toulouse.

They and others, a total of eleven, including some Franciscans, Benedictines, and a layman, were deceived into accepting an invitation to the local castle where seven of them were set upon and slaughtered in a most barbarous manner.

The other four, William Arnaud among them, escaped to a local church where they were found singing religious hymns. Violating the medieval “sanctuary” – an unforgivable act at that time – and angered by the singing, the soldiers first cut off William’s tongue, then killed all four. Their bodies were thrown in a ravine, but that night, light streamed from them leading the faithful to their relics. They were interred in the Church of San Romano at the monastery in Toulouse.

The church in Avignonet where the martyrs had been murdered, was placed under interdict and for years the doors remained locked because of the sacrilege.

Many cures were reported at their graves.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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