Today, I had the chance to visit the nearby shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first canonized saint born in the United States.
About a twenty-minute drive from my house, I enjoy travelling down the country road to the sleepy town of Emmitsburg, where Mother Seton founded both a religious order and a girl’s school in the early 1800’s.
I love the fact that Mother Seton would have traveled on the same road I drove on all those years ago, except she was traveling in a carriage pulled by horses, and the road unpaved.
This wonderful saint (1774-1821) didn’t have an easy life. She was left widowed with 5 young children when she was 29, her husband’s company bankrupt. Coming down from New York at the request of Bishop John Carroll, she moved to Baltimore to start a school. A teacher at heart, the religious order she founded in Emmitsburg is still led by a group of nuns who continue her teaching mission all over the world.
What struck me today as I sat in the beautiful shrine dedicated to her, was the fact that we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that there are saints all around us, both living and dead. Answering God’s call to holiness, most live quiet lives of prayer and mission, trying to help people recognize God’s presence in their lives and striving to make the world a better place.
As we begin the New Year, let’s seek out these people and learn from them. Maybe a few reading these words might be already recognized for their saintly qualities. Ah, something to strive for 🙂