January 13, 2012
received a phone call from a father of seven children.
He was either en route to the store or inside with
several of his youngest. Before I knew it I heard the
oldest girl, now 5, say with excitement, "Mommy has a
new baby boy in her tummy!"
Her father said that while unwrapping presents on
Christmas, the girl stated in a serious tone, "Daddy, when the baby is born,
he’ll think that Christmas is about presents!" Her dad replied, "That’s
right; we will need to teach him everything." Not satisfied, she continued,
"We are going to have to teach him that Christmas is all about Jesus!" Out
of the mouth of babes… the greatest gift ever given to us by God the Father
is the gift of His Son.
On Jan. 4, the Universal Church celebrated the
memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975, she
is the first native born citizen to be canonized. She was born in 1774 to a
father who was a physician and to a mother whose father was an Episcopal
priest. At 19, she married William Seton, a wealthy businessman who
specialized in imported goods from Europe. She and her husband had five
children and experienced much prosperity early in their marriage. She and
her friends were part of the ‘High Society’ of New York City.
Soon tragedy struck. In the year 1802, because of
the naval blockade by Britain during the Napoleonic wars and the loss at sea
of several of his ships, William Seton was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Soon after this he contracted a severe case of tuberculosis. Before long, on
the recommendation of his physician, they found themselves in Italy because
of the warmer and dryer weather. It was there that William died and
Elizabeth was exposed to the truths of the Catholic faith.
After returning home she found herself sitting in
the pews of her Episcopalian church, gazing out the window at the Catholic
parish down the street with our Lord Jesus saying, "I’m over here, in the
Blessed Sacrament!" After her conversion, her friends disowned her.
The rest of the story is history. With the help of
Father Dubourg and Samuel Cooper, she started the Sisters of Charity, St.
Joseph’s Academy and a Free School for the education of poor girls. She
spent the rest of her life giving herself to them without counting the cost.
Shouldn’t we be saying to our Heavenly Father, "Abba, Father, when your
children are born, unless they are shown your Son, they will think life is
all about the things of this world that are passing away?" We should never
be satisfied until we follow in the footsteps of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and
be committed to teach people we come into contact with by our love that life
is all about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. Only He can lead us
to our true home. He leads us by His self-sacrificial love. Let us all be
imitators of this self-sacrificial love. Even before her conversion to the
Catholic faith, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was dedicated to helping the poor.
This only amplified after her conversion. Thanks to the self sacrificial
love of our donors, we are celebrating our 80th birthday this
year!! St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!
Father Christopher Kubat
Catholic Social Services