Attentive to the Voice of Grace
A Pastoral Letter by the Most Reverend John O. Barres on the 200th Anniversary of the Death of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
One week prior to the First Continental Congress, on August 28, 1774, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York. The timing of her birth would foreshadow the pivotal role she would play in both American history and the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
As the first American-born saint, her story illustrates the spiritual realities of those nascent days of our nation and the blossoming branch of the Church in America. A wife and mother, a young widow and convert, a teacher and pioneer, the founder of a religious congregation and the embodiment of Christian service to those in need, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton offers a beautiful image of faith under trial and perseverance in carrying out God’s will.
As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of her birth into eternal life on January 4, in this time when our nation and our faith both face great challenges, we do well to pause and study her life. In the Diocese of Rockville Centre especially, as we re-envision our mission of Catholic education with the Morning Star Initiative, we look to the patroness of Catholic schools for guidance and inspiration.