Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

Today is the memorial of Elizabeth Ann Seton: widow, mother of five and founder of a religious congregation. Saint Elizabeth, pray for us.


Scripture Readings for Today

First Reading: 1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. (RSV)

Responsorial: Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8

R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Give the king thy justice, O God,
May he judge thy people with righteousness,
He shall govern your people with justice
and thy poor with justice!

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

In his days may righteousness flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth! (RSV)

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel: Mark 6:34-44

As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (RSV)

Personal Thoughts:

The Gospel for today is often cited as a prefiguration of the Holy Eucharist. From my limited understanding, this prefiguration is more in form rather than matter; however, the bread certainly contributes to the latter. What is important to note is that this miracle, when seen in the full context of Scripture including but not limited to, the miracle at Cana (water into wine); the similar feeding in John 6; the Last Supper accounts and the confession of the Roman centurion at the foot of the Cross who proclaimed, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark (RSV) 15:39) after being showered with the “Blood and Water that gushed from the Heart of Jesus,” most certainly demonstrates that Christ is God because no other being is omnipotent.

Also keep in mind that with all the miracles performed by or through Christ, either directly by Him or indirectly by a particular person, are done for the benefit of man and it takes a radical “leap of Faith” to believe that such things can occur.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Image via catholic-saints-resource-center.com

“What was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know it was to do His Father’s will. Well, then, 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; and thirdly, to do it because it is His will. I know what is His will by those who direct me; whatever they bid me do, if it is ever so small in itself, is the will of God for me. Then, do it in the manner He wills it.”

This wife, mother and foundress of a religious congregation was born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on August 28, 1774 in New York City, the daughter of an eminent physician and professor at what is now Columbia University. Brought up as an Episcopalian, she received an excellent education, and from her early years she manifested an unusual concern for the poor.

In 1794 Elizabeth married William Seton, with whom she had five children. The loss of their fortune so affected William’s health that in 1803 Elizabeth and William went to stay with Catholic friends at Livorno, Italy. William died six weeks after their arrival, and when Elizabeth returned to New York City some six months later, she was already a convinced Catholic. She met with stern opposition from her Episcopalian friends but was baptized a Catholic on March 4, 1805.

Abandoned by her friends and relatives, Elizabeth was invited by the superior of the Sulpicians in Baltimore to found a school for girls in that city. The school prospered, and eventually the Sulpician superior, with the approval of Bishop Carroll, gave Elizabeth and her assistants a rule of life. They were also permitted to make religious profession and to wear a religious habit.

In 1809 Elizabeth moved her young community to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she adopted as a rule of life an adaptation of the rule observed by the Sisters of Charity, founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Although she did not neglect the ministry to the poor, and especially to Negroes, she actually laid the foundation for what became the American parochial school system. She trained teachers and prepared textbooks for use in the schools; she also opened orphanages in Philadelphia and New York City.

She died at Emmitsburg on January 4, 1821, was beatified by Pope John XXIII in 1963, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.

— Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi

Patron: Death of children; in-law problems; loss of parents; opposition of Church authorities; people ridiculed for their piety; Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana; widows.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.

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