Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, Elizabeth Ann Seton. She was a wife, mother, convert to Catholicism, and founder of a religious community, the Sisters of Charity. She was a society debutante as a young woman and later in life lived extreme poverty as she founded the Sisters of Charity. I’ve always loved the excerpts I’d read from her writings, but only when I was researching her life for my book, Saints Alive! The Faith Proclaimed, did I realize what a prolific writer she was. A woman of her time, Elizabeth didn’t publish her writings, but she wrote many, many letters, journaled, and wrote spiritual guidance for her sisters. From these come many spiritual gems, including one of my favorite adaptations of the Anima Christi prayer, which you can read here.
Here is a lovely quote from St. Elizabeth for the Year of Mercy:
“The greater my unworthiness, the more abundant is his mercy.”
Elizabeth’s life was filled with tremendous sorrow and loss—from troubles at home in her early life, to the death of her husband, to the loss of her children—only one survived her. Perhaps because of her sufferings, her writing style is warm, simple, and practical. I have found many spiritual gems in her writings. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton uses beautiful and understandable imagery to describe the spiritual life—not an easy thing to do. Her writings have recently become freely accessible in PDF. Although she is not listed as a patron for writers, I’ve added her to my list as a patron saint for my writing. I think she is a wonderful patron for those who write about spirituality, women writers, letter writers, and those who journal.