Litany of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Biography as the call to holiness (Lumen Gentium, par. 39):

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in New York City on August 28, 1774 to prominent Episcopalian parents and died in Emmitsburg, MD on January 4, 1821 a devout Catholic. She was educated chiefly by her father, a professor of anatomy at Columbia College. During her home schooling she showed a special interest in religious and historical subjects.

On January 25, 1794 she married William Seton with whom she bore five children. Mr. Seton's fragile health took them on a voyage to Italy. Following his death in 1803 and through the strong influence and witness of the Filicchi families she converted to Catholicism and received into the Church on Ash Wednesday 1805. Abandoned and left penniless by her family she opened a school for girls in Baltimore in 1808 with the guidance of Fr. Dubourg.

Shortly thereafter she formed a new religious community and took vows privately before Archbishop John Carroll. In 1809 the community was transferred to Emmitsburg, Maryland and the rule of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul was adopted in January 1812.

It is widely known that great spiritual desolation purified her soul during a significant portion of her religious life. But, she always cheerfully took the royal road of the cross.

She died on January 4, 1821, following a pulmonary affliction. In 1880 Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore initiated the cause for her canonization. She was beatified in 1963 by Pope John XXIII and canonized St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI. Her spiritual legacy remains alive in a religious community numbering 6,000 women.


God, who makes saints out of widows--------------------------------------------Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, who schooled followers in passing on the faith------------------------Christ, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, who inspires people for spiritual legacies------------------------Lord, have mercy.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley - a devout Episcopalian... ... inspire us to be devout. Elizabeth Ann Bayley - a virtuous student... ... inspire us to be virtuous.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley - a reader of scripture... ... inspire us to love the good news.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley - fond of the Psalms... ... inspire us to befriend the Psalms.
Elizabeth Ann Seton - wife & mother of five children... ... companion all mothers.
Elizabeth Ann Seton - caregiver to a dying husband... ... companion all caregivers.
Elizabeth Ann Seton - convert to Catholicism... ... companion all in the RCIA.
Elizabeth Ann Seton - evangelist to her sister-in-law... ... companion all evangelists.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - foundress of a school... ... school us in spiritual growth.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - foundress of the Sisters of Charity... ... help us model your spirit of charity.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - foundress of works of mercy... ... help us model your heart of mercy.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - foundress of a worldwide sisterhood... ... inspire us to nurture a culture of vocation.

Let us pray,
Almighty God, font of all charity, we praise you for the model of charity you nurtured in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. We bless you for the example of her kind and merciful heart. And, as a community of faith which bears her name, we pledge to keep her legacy alive through our parish mission statement: to draw closer to God and one another through worship, which nourishes us for service to our brothers and sisters. We choose to combine our many gifts to teach, celebrate, evangelize, help those in need and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in word and deed. Amen.

Composed by Rev. Paul Mast for the 35th anniversary year of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bear, Delaware (Diocese of Wilmington), 1978-2013.

Composed by: Rev. Paul G. Mast
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