St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Holy Eucharist

Jude Missa

The Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ, it gives nurture to our body and to our soul. In the previous centuries, the Holy Eucharist was always given respect and adoration. But sadly, our generation today never give importance to the body and blood of our Lord in the Eucharist. Let us tell you a short story about a person who fell in love to the Holy Eucharist. Her name is Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the daughter of a surgeon. She grew up from a protestant family, the Episcopal Church. She was married to William Seton, a businessman and together, they had five children. Saint Elizabeth always help the sick and near dead people. When a war on the sea broke between America and the Republic of France, many ships was destroyed which affected the business of her husband. They lost their house and started to move to the house of her father in New York. Then her husband was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which daughters advised Saint Elizabeth to move her husband to Italy which has a warm weather. As they arrived in Italy, Saint Elizabeth, together with her husband and daughter, they were quarantined for one month because of the threat of the yellow fever that spread in New York. Then after a few days, her husband died. Saint Elizabeth and her daughter were welcomed by her husband’s business partners in Italy. Here, she was introduced to Catholicism.

Saint Elizabeth gained an interest to Catholicism including the Holy Eucharist. One day, when there’s a Eucharistic Procession, as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton saw the Holy Eucharist, she immediately knelt without thinking, cried that she was blessed if as God is in the Eucharist, and God is her only desire. When Saint Elizabeth Ann went home to New York, she was decided to convert to Catholicism because if God is in the Eucharist, she must receive God. But her family did everything they can to convince Saint Elizabeth not to convert which created a doubt on her until she attended the Episcopalian Communion Service where she realized that these communion service is just a pantomime that why she finally decided to convert to Catholicism even though there is still a Anti-Catholic law in America.

Saint Elizabeth Ann went to the Catholic Church in New York to be baptized. Before her first communion, she cannot sleep because of her desire to receive our Lord in Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. On the day of her first communion, according to her diary, while she walked fast to the church, it seems that her feet was not touching the ground. When she received the sacrament, she said on her mind “At last, God is Mine! and I am His!

To support her family, Saint Elizabeth Ann instituted a school for the young ladies. When the parents of her students received a news that she was converted to Catholicism, they removed their children from her school. Then Saint Elizabeth Ann decide to go to Canada with her children, until she was invited by the Sulpician Priest and President of St. Mary’s College Baltimore to built a religious school in the small catholic community in Emmitsburg, Maryland which she accept.

In 1809, Saint Elizabeth Institute the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph and built the Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School. Here, she was known as “Mother Seton”. Saint Elizabeth had a tuberculosis, but even though she was sick, she still continued to teach the children.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton died in January 4, 1821 in the age of 46. She was beatified on March 17, 1963 then canonized as a saint on September 14, 1975. She was the first native born American to be canonized as a Saint. Her daughter, Catherine Seton is on the process of Canonization.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!

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