Jan 04th - Elizabeth Ann Seton
It is interesting that the earliest declared American-born saints share such close feast days (John Neumann is tomorrow) but the time frame in which they live speaks to the development of the American Church and its center in Baltimore. While many priests and religions had devoted their lives to the establishment of the Faith in the Americas for centuries, Baltimore was within the newly independent and Protestant-dominated America. They are therefore just part of a line of Faith that continues on in the many more that arose to give it foundation and growth. The needs of the Church are great and the needs of the local Church are specific but both are continuous. We really do mission work wherever there is need - from the largest church to the tiniest mission - workers are needed for the vineyard.
...then trembling to communion half dead with the inward struggle, when they said the Body and blood of Christ - Oh Amabilia - no words for my trial - and I remember in my old Prayer book of former edition when I was a child it was not as now, said to be Spiritually taken and received, - however to get thoughts away I took the daily exercise of good Abbe Plunket to read the prayers after COMMUNION, but finding every word addressed to our dear Saviour as really present and conversing with it, I became half crazy, and for the first time could not bear the sweet caresses of the darlings or bless their little dinner - O my God that day - but it finished calmly at last abandoning all to God, and a renewed confidence in the blessed Virgin whose mild and peaceful love reproached my bold excesses, and reminded me to fix my heart above with better hopes - Now they tell me take care I am a Mother, and my children I must answer for in Judgment, whatever Faith I lead them to - that being so, and I so unconscious, for I little thought 'till told by Mr. H[obart] that their Faith could be so full of consequence to them or me, I WILL GO PEACEABLY and FIRMLY TO THE CATHOLICK CHURCH - for if Faith is so important to our Salvation I will seek it where true Faith first begun, seek it among those who received it from GOD HIMSELF, the controversies on it I am quite incapable of deciding, and as the strictest Protestant allows Salvation to a good Catholick, to the Catholicks I will go, and try to be a good one, may God accept my intention and pity me - as to supposing the word of our Lord has failed, and that he suffered his first foundation to be built on by Antichrist, I cannot stop on that without stopping on every other Word of our Lord and being tempted to be no Christian at all, for if the first church became Antichrist, and the second holds her rights from it, then I should be afraid both might be Antichrist, and I make my way to the bottomless pit by following either - Come then my little ones we will go to Judgment together, and present our Lord his own words, and if he says "You fools I did not mean that," we will say since you said you would be always "even to the end of ages" with this church you built with your blood, if you ever left it, it is your Word which misled us, therefore please to pardon Your poor fools for your own Words sake - I am between laughing and crying all the while Amabilia - Yet not frightened for on God himself I pin my Faith...
-- From a letter to Amabilia, January 1805
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