Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Foundress and first superior of the Sisters of Charity in the United States; born in New York City, 28 Aug., 1774, of non-Catholic parents of high position; died at Emmitsburg, Maryland, 4 Jan., 1821.

Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley (born in Connecticut and educated in England), was the first professor of anatomy at Columbia College and eminent for his work as health officer of the Port of New York. Her mother, Catherine Charlton, daughter of an Anglican minister of Staten Island, N.Y., died when Elizabeth was three years old, leaving two other young daughters. The father married again, and among the children of this second marriage was Guy Charleton Bayley, whose convert son, James Roosevelt Bayley, became Archbishop of Baltimore. Elizabeth always showed great affection for her stepmother, who was a devout Anglican, and for her stepbrothers and sisters. Her education was chiefly conducted by her father, a brilliant man of great natural virtue, who trained her to self-restraint as well as in intellectual pursuits. She read industriously, her notebooks indicating a special interest in religious and historical subjects. She was very religious, wore a small crucifix around her neck, and took great delight in reading the Scriptures, especially the Psalms, a practice she retained until her death. Continue reading

Bethlehem: The Bosom of the Eternal Father, Part 1

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BETHLEHEM

Taken From Bethlehem
BY Frederick William Faber, D. D.
Priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri

Tan Books & Publishers

Bethlehem: The Bosom of the Eternal Father, Part 1

JESUS CHRIST yesterday, and today, and the same forever! These words of the Apostle express at once the noblest and the most delightful occupation of our lives. To think, to speak, to write, perpetually of the grandeurs of Jesus,—what joy on earth is like it, when we think of what we owe to Him, and of the relation in which we stand to Him? Who can weary of it? The subject is continually growing before our eyes. It draws us on. It is a science the fascination of which increases the more deeply we penetrate into its depths. That which is to be our occupation in eternity usurps more and more with sweet encroachments the length and breadth of time. Earth grows into Heaven, as we come to live and breathe in the atmosphere of the Incarnation. Jesus makes Heaven, wherever He is, whether it be in the tabernacle, or in the heart of the communicant, just as He took the Beatific Vision with Him into limbus when He died, and turned the pensive shadows of the patriarchs’ home into the full glow of Heaven.
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Octave of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

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Octave of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist
by Dom Prosper Gueranger, 1870

The Octave of the Beloved Disciple closes today: let us devoutly offer him our parting homage. We shall meet him again, during the year; for, on the 6th of May, when the Resurrection of his Divine Master is gladdening the Church with the Easter joys, we shall have the Feast of our Apostle’s Confession, made before the Latin Gate;–but his grand Feast ends today, and he has done too much for us this Christmas, that we should allow this Octave Day to pass without returning him our warmest thanks. Let us begin by exciting ourselves to a great reverence for our Saint; and for this end, let us continue the considerations, we were making this day week, on the favours conferred upon him by Jesus.

The Apostolate of St. John produced a plentiful harvest among the people to whom he was sent. The Parthians received the Gospel from him, and most of the Churches of Asia Minor were founded by him. Of these latter, seven, together with their Angels, were chosen by Christ himself, to typify the several kinds of Pastors; and probably, as some have interpreted this passage of the Apocalypse, these Seven may be taken as representing the seven Ages of the Church herself. Neither must we forget, that these Churches of Asia Minor, shortly after St. John had founded them, sent Apostles into our western Europe. Thus, for example, the illustrious Church of Lyons was one of the conquests made by these early Missioners; and St. Pothinus, the first Bishop of Lyons, was a disciple of the disciple of St. John– St. Polycarp–the Angel of the Church of Smyrna–whose Feast we shall keep a few days hence. Continue reading

The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents and the Value of Children

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The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents and the Value of Children
by the Rt. Rev. WM. Stang, D.D. Bishop of Fall River, 1905

Every year, as the Church commemorates the slaughter of the Holy Innocents on December 28, she repeats, with the Evangelist St. Matthew, the prophecy of Jeremias: “A voice in Rama is heard, lamentation and great mourning: Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” In the constant belief of the Church, these Holy Innocents were, at the threshold of life, plunged into a sea of suffering for the sake of the Blessed Redeemer, to be His martyrs and to receive, in one moment, their eternal palms and crowns. “We hear loud voices and shrill expostulations, as of women in misery talking all at once, like a jargon in the summer woods, when the birds have risen against the hawk, and then the fearful cry of excited lamentation, with the piteous moaning of the infant victims mingled with the inconsolable wailing of their brave, powerless mothers ” (Fr. Faber). 
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