November 1st is the solemn day we celebrate All Saints Day to honor saints, both known and unknown. One of my favorite reference sites for Roman Catholic Saints is at SQPN Saints that now list 7,274 saints. It is amazing there are so many saints, but all the people in heaven are saints too, and that number is far greater. The saints that are recognized by the church are our brothers and sisters who went before us and have shown us the way to live a holy and faithful life with Christ. Following is good video from Father Barron reflecting on All Saints Day.
There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories from our saints that help to guide us towards a life with in heaven with God, Mary, the angels, and all the saints. Last month, I had the honor of visiting the holy site of The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Elizabeth Ann Seton was born two years before the American Revolution on August 28, 1774 in New York and was raised in the Episcopal Church. Elizabeth married at an early age to William Magee and had five children. The family travelled to Italy, where her husband became ill and they both found a deeper faith during this time, but he unfortunately died. Elizabeth was comforted by a deeply devout Catholic Family during her mourning period and Elizabeth was so inspired it began her journey toward conversion. Upon her arrival back to New York City, Elizabeth struggled with family and friends about converting to be a Roman Catholic, but through support and strong convictions made her profession of faith in 1805 at Saint Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan.
Elizabeth Ann Seton went on to work as a teacher to many in education and faith. She eventually founded The Daughters of Charity near Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary. The Daughters of Charity were originally founded in 1633 in Paris, but brought to America through Elizabeth and they went on to work with Saint Vincent DePaul with the poor, and serve sick and wounded during the American Civil War. Elizabeth Ann Seton worked tirelessly her entire life to serve the poor and sick up until her death in 1821. Pope Paul VI canonized her as America’s first saint on September 14th, 1975, saying,:
“Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America. Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage. This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of a new and authentic riches that are yours. Your land America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness.”
Today, you can visit the place she founded where there is a wonderful Visitor Center, Shrine, original homes, and Basilica dedicated to this great saint. I think Pope Paul VI would be proud of the work done to help preserve the message and faith of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Basilica is adorned with beautiful mosaic images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Evangelists, and The Holy Family, and the she is venerated by many with prayers at the Seton Altar of Relics inside the National Shrine. Emmitsburg is worth the journey to see this shrine and also visit Mount Saint Mary’s University and the Lourdes Grotto nearby.
There are a number of links I list below for more information about the saints and Elizabeth Ann Seton:
LINKS FOR SAINTS
BOOKS ON SAINTS
Following is a great video from Busted Halo by Father James Martin about Halloween and All Saints Day:
A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms (Ave Maria Press) by Lisa Hendey
Following is the video for Lisa Hendey’s new book (I will be a writing review next week and excited that she will be answering a few of my questions for this blog–submit your name in comments for a random drawing for a FREE copy of her book)