Wednesday, January 4, 2012

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious

Today’s saint was born in New York City and was raised in the Episcopal Church. She married a wealthy businessman and had five children, but during a visit to Italy in 1803 her husband became ill and died. A Catholic family befriended her and when she returned to the U.S. she became a Catholic. As a result, many of her friends rejected her and she moved to Baltimore where she opened a school for girls in 1808. When several young women joined her in this work, they began the Sisters of Charity, the first American religious congregation for women. When Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1975, she became the first native born American to be given this honor. As we pray the following prayer of hers, let us offer ourselves and our day to God praying for victims of natural disasters and that Christians may be dedicated to the pursuit of peace and unity among themselves and the world.

Father of all Beings, how extensive are your mercies! How great, how inexpressible. It is in you we live, and move, and have our being—the lot of mortals is in your hand. They are only happy through you. Your paternal cares are over all mankind. Your impartial goodness causes your sun to rise and constant blessings to descend on those even who offend and disobey you. By your command the dew refreshes the earth, and the Zypher cools and revives us. Your gifts are proportioned to the wants of your creatures, but the righteous alone feel the sweet and salutary effects of your peace.

O you who possess sovereign power and give life and enjoyment to the poorest insect which could not exist a moment but by your will: permit your creature to praise and bless you and let me forever adore your goodness, and give my soul to your service.

Blessed Savior, who gave your life for us, and have done every thing to engage our love and gratitude, O let me never be so unhappy as to offend or disobey you willfully. Blessed Shepherd of them that seek you, O keep me in your fold, lead me in your paths, let me always hear and love your voice, and follow you as a meek and quiet Lamb making it the care of my life to keep near to my blessed Master. And if ever I should lose my way or for a moment be so unhappy as to disobey your commands, O call your wanderer Home.

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