The year is coming to a rapid close. More than one person has told me of their eagerness to be done with the year. Health issues, job losses, and other setbacks generate hope that something good will materialize once a different calendar is put in place. The start of a new year signifies change. Even if there is nothing momentous on the horizon, January 1st seems to hold the promise of better days to come.
The feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4) is well placed. She is a perfect example of what it takes to start anew. Widowed at a relatively young age, she had to find a way to take care of her five children. After living for a time in Italy with her ailing husband, she also had to cross back over the Atlantic to resume life in America. Talk about facing some daunting prospects! Elizabeth joined forces with two other women and opened a school in Baltimore, making it the first free Catholic school in the United States. She also went on to start the Sisters of Charity, which now includes six independent branches across the country. Members of these religious communities work in areas of Catholic education, healthcare, and ministries to the poor.
We often hear that crisis can be the doorway to opportunity. In the life of Elizabeth Ann Seton, this was certainly the case. We don’t know how much time she spent wishing away the year in which her husband died and her fortunes turned sour. What we do know is that she seized the moment to make a difference that would ripple through the country and across the years.
Learn more about the life of Elizabeth Ann Seton, America’s first native-born saint, by clicking here!
With the bright activity of the holidays behind us, the month of January can seem long, cold, and stark. Download January Psalms Reflection Cards for individual reflection or for class or family discussion.