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The Soul of Elizabeth Seton

A book by Joseph I. Dirvin

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Mother Elizabeth Seton: A worthy example for religious emulation.

  • May 9, 2013
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Saint Elizabeth Ann Baley Seton is one of the most remarkable saints of the Roman Catholic Church, because of all that she-by God's grace-accomplished in her short life: wife, mother, convert, founder, superior and educator. Growing up as a child, Elizabeth Seton had a deep devotion to God while as a member of the Episcopalian Church. Early on, she had written of "passionate wishes that there were such places in America as I read of in novels, where people could be shut from the world and pray, and be good always." Pg 123. And it is amazing how the fruit of that desire became mainfested.

Before entering the Catholic Church in 1807, Elizabeth Seton had the vocation of marrage and family, and while in that union, as willed for her, she lived it out to the respectable hilt, living by a standard of service and sacrifice for others. That approach to life was fully embossed with a smattering of religious principles, fundamentals that were crucial to who Elizabeth felt herself to be. The pinnacle of Truth-Christ Jesus-was who she desired, but she did not fully feel Him until she was thrust into being a co-carrier of the cross, a calling for each and every one of us on this planet. That cross came, when, from a point of wealth and priviledge, she lost all. And it was finalized in Italy, when, for the hopeful recovery and convalescence of her husband, she lost him, too. Bereft and alone, her future religious husband was awaiting her.

The sacramental union that she had so longed for but could never feel in her own church was finally brought to her via the instruments of service-the Filicchi Family-and upon their gentle explanation of the true faith, Elizabeth, "...sank on my knees in the first place I found vacant, and shed a torrent of tears at the recollection of how long I had been a stranger in the house of my God, and the accumulated sorrow that had separated me from it." Pg. 67. Yet the Presence of Love, stole into her soul and made her "delight in seeing old men and women, young women and all sorts of people kneeling promiscuously about the alter, as inattentive to us and other passengers as if we were not there...everyone is so intent on their prayers and Rosary that it is very immaterial what a stranger does." Pg. 67.

As I am sure with a majority of converts and reverts to the Roman Catholic Church, there is a cup of suffering that one must drink in order to be a paltry imitator of the Crucified One, for whithout suffering, how do we become refined and evolve to being someone better? We suffer and we listen, and we go from there. And Mother Elizabeth fully obeyed that in the process of her arduous conversion, for those who bore witness to what was happening to her, felt that she was abandoning her past and those within it. And that is a common dread experienced by many families and friends: a relinquishment to the worldly here and now in order to accept a religious and supernatural ideal, not an easy thing to digest. She followed through, because she knew that God used people for a purpose, as she later expanded on while a religious mother: "What was the first role of our dear Savior's life? You know it was to do His Father's Will...I know what His Will is by those who direct me; whatever they bid me do, if it is ever so small in itself, is the Will of God for me." Pg. 160.

Out of all the histories and biographies that have been written about Saint (Mary) Ellizabeth Ann Baley Seton, I would have to echo what my fellow Amazon reviewer said in this spiritual portrait being one of the best. Though it does not directly focus on the American Sisters of Charity or the environment and times in which Mother Seton lived, it does-with good sincere intentions-delve deeply into the thinking, soul and consciousness of Mother Seton. Fr. Dirvin's book is a succinctly written, incisive and penetrating intellectual and religious homage, a work for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Mother Elizabeth Seton: A worthy example for religious emulation.

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More The Soul of Elizabeth Seton reviews
review by . June 03, 2006
Saint Elizabeth Ann Baley Seton is one of the most remarkable saints of the Roman Catholic Church, because of all that she-by God's grace-accomplished in her short life: wife, mother, convert, founder, superior and educator. Growing up as a child, Elizabeth Seton had a deep devotion to God while as a member of the Episcopalian Church. Early on, she had written of "passionate wishes that there were such places in America as I read of in novels, where people could be shut from the world and pray, …
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Joseph I. Dirvin, C.M. Elizabeth Seton is an important saint for our times: she was a convert, an American, a wife and mother as well as a widow, the foundress of an order (the Sisters of Charity) and an administrator. Fr. Dirvin, an authority on Saint Elizabeth Seton, takes writings, correspondence, and recollections of Seton to reveal her deep life of faith and prayer. A moving biography and an inspiring record of Elizabeth Seton's interior journey that gives us a profound spiritual portrait of a multifaceted saint. "This contemplation of a great Christian soul is the result of thirty years of research, study, meditation, writing and lecturing. We shall never know the glorious reaches of her perfection in God, but we can guess at them, at least, through her own unwitting revelations of heroic virtue. It is to authenticate these revelations that I have allowed her to disclose them in
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ISBN-10: 0898702690
ISBN-13: 978-0898702699
Author: Joseph I. Dirvin
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Ignatius Press
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