04 January 2007

Elizabeth Ann Seton

Why, I speculate, does not catholic.org mention that she was first a protestant and that she was a mother here: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=180

It seems to me that her conversion and her parenthood are essential to her story. But they are omitted. Emmitsburg, too, is not mentioned in the article. Emmitsburg was her home, the place where she loved at her best.

It seems to me that Mother Seton's first calling, as a wife and mother, is integral to her story. I don't know if much is known about her conversion, but I sure am have difficulty finding out more on the internet.

My family settled in Emmitsburg in the early 1800's and were part of that small Catholic community. I remember taking my grandmother up there to visit her childhood home. After Mother Seton's canonization we visited the Shrine. But the Shrine is merely the latest addition to a community that seethes of everything Catholic. One would expect this at the Churches. But I was taken aback when I walked into a local shop to buy a cup of coffee and the local folk were discussing Catholic art and architecture.

I wasn't a very religious man at the time. I was lost in materialism. I went on these little excursions to please my wife, mostly. One day we stopped at National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes. We stumbled into the chapel and there the Sacred Host was exposed, in the distance, on the altar. I wasn't aware of this, however, although my wife knew. I didn't realize it until I was standing right before Christ and trembling. I did not know what to do. My wife pushed me gently to my knees.

I am reluctant to say what happened next but I will share that it was a supernatural religious experience that my wife and I shared. From the looks on the faces of others as they left the chapel I suspect we were part of a communal experience. The usual chatter of tourists and the clicking of cameras that often annoyed me in the past at the Grotto was absent.

Today is the feast day for Mother Seton who is credited with the founding of the Catholic school system in the U.S.A.

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