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THÁNH ELIZABETH ANN SETON

Ngày 4/1

THÁNH ELIZABETH ANN SETON

Nữ Tu Hoa Kỳ (1774-1821)

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Ngày 4

THÁNH ELIZABETH ANN SETON

Nữ Tu Hoa Kỳ (1774-1821)

- Là người thứ nhất sinh tại Mỹ được phong thánh năm 1975.

- Là người đầu tiên mở trường học Công giáo cho giáo xứ,

- Là người đầu tiên lập nhà mồ côi trong giáo xứ.

- Là người đầu tiên lập  nữ tu viện cho phụ nữ Hoa kỳ

Trong 46 năm, bà vừa nuôi con vừa làm các việc trên.

            1. Thân thế: Thánh Elizabeth Ann Seton có cha mẹ theo đạo Episcopan (Anh giáo). Mẹ bà và mẹ nuôi đã dạy bà cầu nguyện và đọc Kinh Thánh. Cha bà là một bác sĩ đã dạy bà yêu thương và giúp đỡ người nghèo.

Khi còn là thiếu nữ, Seton thường đem đồ ăn cho những người nghèo gần nhà cô.

Sau khi lập gia đình, bà và người chị dâu thường thăm viếng người nghèo và người đau yếu trong xóm nghèo.

Lấy chồng lúc 19 tuổi là ông Wil Seton ở New york, con nhà giầu có. Hai người rất yêu nhau và sinh được 3 gái 2 trai.

Mọi sự tốt đẹp cho tới năm 1803, chồng bà bị phá sản (bankrupt) và yếu đau.

Ông đã qua đời khi đi thăm người bạn bên nước Ý.

Gia đình Ý này đã giúp bà Elizabeth và các con trở thành những người Công giáo. Bà tin Chúa trong Thánh Thể, lòng sùng kính Đức Mẹ, Giáo hội tông truyền từ các thánh Tông đồ. Vì việc này bà và các con bị họ hàng ghét bỏ.

Bà Seton trở thành bà góa chồng lúc 30 tuổi.

Để có tiền nuôi con, bà đã mở trường nội trú Công giáo cho các thiếu nữ tại Baltimore, bang Maryland. Mấy bà khác đến giúp đỡ và nhà nội trú phát triển.

Ít lâu sau, bà thấy tiếng Chúa gọi trong lòng, hiến mình cho Chúa, nên bà và mấy bà bạn cùng nhau lập tu viện, sau này trở thành Dòng Nữ tử Bác ái (Daughters of Charity).

Hai con trai bà nhập lính hải quân, 2 con gái đi tu, một người chết trẻ, một người làm việc cho tù nhân.

Ngày nay, hàng ngàn ngàn nữ tu Bác ái đang phục vụ trong các bệnh viện, nhà dưỡng lão, và nhà trường.

           

            2. Hoàn toàn phó mình theo ý Chúa, vui chịu đau khổ, tôn kính Mình Thánh:

Thánh Seton không có ơn khác thường như làm phép lạ, nói tiên tri, in dấu thánh...nhưng bà có 2 điều đặc biệt là: 

hoàn toàn phó mình làm trọn Ý Chúa, Vui chịu đau khổ: mẹ chết, chồng chết, con chết, họ hàng ghét bỏ...

Thánh nữ nổi bật về lòng tôn kính Mình Thánh Chúa, yêu mến Đức Mẹ...

---

Elizabeth Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the "cream" of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.

In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth's early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort; she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, "My own home at twenty-the world-that and heaven too-quite impossible."

This time of Elizabeth's life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was to suffer. Within four years, Will's father died, leaving the young couple in charge of Will's seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family's importing business. Now events began to move fast - and with devastating effect. Both Will's business and his health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy. In a final attempt to save Will's health, the Setons sailed for Italy, where Will had business friends. Will died of tuberculosis while in Italy. Elizabeth's one consolation was that Will had recently awakened to the things of God.

The many enforced separations from dear ones by death and distance, served to draw Elizabeth's heart to God and eternity. The accepting and embracing of God's will - "The Will," as she called it - would be a keynote in her spiritual life.

Elizabeth's deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church.

In Italy, Elizabeth captivated everyone by her own kindness, patience, good sense, wit and courtesy. During this time Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith, and over a period of months, her Italian friends guided her in Catholic instructions.

Elizabeth's desire for the Bread of Life was to be a strong force leading her to the Catholic Church.

Having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith. Elizabeth finally joined the Catholic Church in 1805.

At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. She and two other young women, who helped her in her work, began plans for a Sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.

On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, binding for one year. From that time she was called Mother Seton.

Although Mother Seton was now afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the Rule St. Vincent de Paul had written for his Daughters of Charity in France. By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two orphanages and another school. Today six groups of sisters trace their origins to Mother Seton's initial foundation.

For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was canonized on September 14, 1975.

 
from Wikipedia
Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821) was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church (September 14, 1975). She established Catholic communities in Emmitsburg, Maryland and founded the first American sorority while at Manhattan, known as the Sisters of Charity.

Biography

Elizabeth Ann was born on August 28, 1774 to Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton of New York City.[1] She was raised in the Episcopal Church. Her mother, daughter of an Episcopal priest, died when Elizabeth was 3. She was rejected by her step-"mother" and thus her dad, who both returned for England while Elisabeth and Mary Magdalene were raised at new Rochelle, NY by Sarah Pell (Peter) and uncle Richard Bayly.

At age 19 she married to William Magee Seton, a wealthy businessman in the import trade. Five children were born to the marriage: Anna "Annina" Maria(1795-1812), William the Second, Richard Seton, (Mary) Catherine Charlton (1800-1891) a Sister of Mercy, and Rebecca Mary (1802-1816) whom EAS called "my soul's sister"[2].


 

Although busy with raising a large family and the management of their home, Seton continued to show the concern for the poor of the city which her father and stepmother had taught her. She helped to organize a group of prominent ladies who would visit the sick poor in their homes to render what aid they could. This circle was informally called the "Ladies of Charity" due to their conscious inspiration by the work of St. Vincent de Paul in 17th century France.

Her home in Manhattan, New York City, was located at the site on which a church now stands in her honor, with the formerly matching building at the right (7 State Street) forming part of the shrine

By 1802, the effects of the blockade by the United Kingdom of Napoleonic France and the loss of several of her husband's ships at sea led to his bankruptcy. Soon after this, he fell ill and his doctors sent him to Italy for the warmer climate, with Elizabeth and their eldest daughter accompanying him. Landing at the port of Livorno, they were held in quarantine, during which time William died in 27th December, 1803[3]. Elizabeth and Anna Maria were taken in by the family of her late husband's Italian business partners. While staying with them, she was introduced to the actual practice of Roman Catholicism. After her return to the United States, she converted to the Roman Church, into which she was received on March 14, 1805, by Matthew O'Brien the pastor of St. Peter's Church, the only Catholic church open in the city at that time due to the recent lifting of anti-Catholic laws under the new Republic. A year later, she was confirmed by the only bishop of the new nation, the first bishop of Baltimore, the Right Reverend John Carroll.

After her return to New York, in order to support herself and her children Seton had started an academy for young ladies, as was common for widows of social standing in that period. After news of her conversion to Rome spread, however, most of the parents withdrew their daughters from her tutelage, due to the anti-Catholic sentiment of the day. By chance, around this time she met a visiting priest, the Abbé Louis Dubourg, S.S., who was a member of the French emigré community of Sulpician Fathers. The priests had taken refuge in the United States from the religious persecution of the Reign of Terror in France, and were in the process of establishing the first Catholic seminary for the United States, in keeping with the goals of their order. For several years, Dubourg had envisioned a religious school to meet the educational needs of the small Catholic community in the nation.

In 1809, after some trying and difficult years, Elizabeth accepted the invitation of support the Sulpicians had made to her and moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland. A year later she established the Saint Joseph's Academy and Free School, a school dedicated to the education of Catholic girls, due to the financial support of Samuel Sutherland Cooper. He was a wealthy convert and seminarian at the newly established Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary, begun by the Abbé (later Bishop) John Dubois, S.S., and the Sulpicians.

In July of that year, Elizabeth was able to establish a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland, dedicated to the care of the children of the poor. It was the first congregation of Religious Sisters to be founded in the United States, and its school was the first free Catholic school in America. The order was initially called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. From that point on, she became known as Mother Seton.

The remainder of her life was spent in leading and developing the new congregation. Today, six separate religious communities trace their roots to the beginnings of the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In addition to the original community of Sisters at Emmitsburg (now part of the Vincentian order), they are based in New York City, Cincinnati, Ohio, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Convent Station, New Jersey, and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Mother Seton was described as a charming and cultured lady. Her connections to New York society and the accompanying social pressures to leave the new life she had created for herself did not deter her from embracing her religious vocation and charitable mission. She established St. Joseph's Academy and Free School in order to educate young girls to live by religious values. The greatest difficulties she faced were actually internal, stemming from misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts and the deaths of two daughters, other loved ones, and young Sisters in the community. She died of tuberculosis January 4, 1821, at the age of 46. Today, her remains are entombed in the Basilica that bears her name: the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Dedicated to following the will of God, Elizabeth Ann had a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture and the Virgin Mary. The 23rd Psalm was her favorite prayer throughout her life. She was a woman of prayer and service who embraced the apostolic spirituality of Saint Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul. It had been her original intention — as well as of the Sulpician Fathers who guided them — to join the Daughters of Charity founded by these saints, but the embargo of France due to the Napoleonic Wars prevented this connection. It was only decades later, in 1850, that the Emmitsburg community took the steps to merge with the Daughters, and become their American branch, as their foundress had envisioned.

Statue in Saint Raymond's Cemetery, Bronx

"We must pray literally without ceasing—without ceasing—in every occurrence and employment of our lives . . . that prayer of the heart which is independent of place or situation, or which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him." -Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Sisters of Charity

Elizabeth Ann Seton founded the American Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph on 31 July 1809. The Seton motto, "Hazard yet forward" is carried by this organisation. Members of this sorority are today distinguished as D.C. or S.C., to denote "Daughter of Charity" or "Sister of Charity" respectively. The convent/sorority celebrated its bicentennial in 2009. It is the first sisterhood native to the U.S.

The Parisian Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, circa 1633, is the root organisation of the S.C.[4] Elizabeth Seton adopted the Quorum found in the European D. of C. when the Sisters of Charity began.

Canonization

On December 18, 1959, Elizabeth was declared Venerable by the Sacred Congregation of Rites of the Catholic Church. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963, and canonized by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975, making her the first native-born United States citizen to be canonized. Her feast day is January 4.

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