Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

The Feast Day of My Patron Saint

on January 4, 2012

Today is a special day.  It is the feast day of my patron saint, Mother Seton.  An explanation of Patron Saints and five facts of Saint Elizabeth Seton’s life follow.

Patron Saints

Patron saint is defined by SQPN as:

  • Who by designation of the sovereign pontiff or by popular tradition are venerated as favoring by their intercession certain interests, countries or localities…
  • After whom churches, parishes or other institutions are named
  • After whom persons are named in Baptism or Confirmation [1]
Joan of Arc, slandered by Shakespeare, who pre...

For example, Saint Joan of Arc is the patron saint of the soldiers—she was a soldier herself.   St. Joan is also the patron saint of France, martyrs, captives, people ridiculed for their piety, prisoners, and the Woman’s Army Corps, just to name a few. 

It is thought that the saints are especially near and dear to the subject of their patronage and that they can understand their patrons the most because they have experienced that subject.  Since they can understand the most, they will know best how to pray for us in our need to Jesus, the one and true intercessor.  Choosing a saint as a patron of a church, cause, organization, institution, personal life, etc., gives the people the opportunity to learn more about the saint, model their lives after the saint’s,  and to ask the saint for understanding and prayer. [2]

Five (plus one) Quick Facts of Mother Seton

“What was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life?  You know it was to do his Father’s will.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) aka Moth...

  Well, then, the first purpose of our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.  We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life.  We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”  ~from the writings of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton [3]

 
  1. Saint Elizabeth was born to the Bayley family in August 28, 1774 in New York to a professor of anatomy and the daughter of an Anglican minister.  She married William Seton in 1794.  Together, they had five children. [3,4]
  2. William’s sister, Rebecca Seton, became Elizabeth’s closest friend and together they were dubbed the “Protestant Sisters of Charity” for their missions of mercy.  William became sick and died in 1803—a little over a year later, Rebecca died as well. [4]
  3. In attempt to save William, Saint Elizabeth and William made a trip to Italy.  When he died, Elizabeth stayed in Italy with some friends, and it was there that she fell in love with the Catholic faith. [4]
  4. Her loved ones passing away left her to care for her children on very little money.  Her conversion to Catholicism raised barriers between her and her Protestant family—they refused to help her as long as she was Catholic.  Saint Elizabeth prayed, “If I right, Thy grace impart still in the right to stay.  If I am wrong, oh teach my heart to find the better way.” [4]
  5. Saint Elizabeth accomplished many things in her lifetime.  She was an avid writer, known for her charity, established many catholic schools, and elected mother of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (three times before she finally accepted).  [3,4]
  6. She is the patron saint of against in-law problems, against the death of children, against the death of parents, Apostleship of the Sea, opposition of Church authorities, people ridiculed for their piety, diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana, Catholic schools, and widows. [3]
Signature of United States philanthropist Eliz...

I chose Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton as my patron saint for many reasons.  The foremost is that I felt especially connected to her life, what she experienced before she converted to Catholicism, the challenges she faced when she converted, and the way she applied her faith to her life.  Secondly, she was an average person with a strong love for the Father’s will and for his presence in the Eucharist.  She makes sainthood seem attainable to me.

Do you have a patron saint?  Share in the comments.

References

[1] “Patron Saints”.  Saints.SQPN.com. Web.  {1/4/2011}.  <http://saints.sqpn.com/patron-saints/>

[2] Parkinson, Henry. “Patron Saints.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 4 Jan. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11562a.htm>

[3] “Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton”.  Saints.SQPN.com. Web.  {1/4/2011}. <http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-elizabeth-ann-seton/ >

[4] Randolph, Bartholomew. “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 4 Jan. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13739a.htm>

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7 responses to “The Feast Day of My Patron Saint

  1. Jessica says:

    Bl. Angela of Foligno is my patron saint for 2012–her feast day is today, too! When did you choose St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as your patron saint?

  2. Jessica says:

    Wait… maybe it’s the 7th? Wikipedia may have failed me.

    • Pamalogist says:

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for joining in. Wikipedia is a troublesome site… The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia is a bit more reliable: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01482a.htm as well as SQPN: http://saints.sqpn.com/?s=angela+of+foligno

      🙂 Bl. Angela of Foligno seems to be an odd case– I wonder if its because the Church hasn’t declared her a saint yet– and being that she died in 1309, I’m surprised she hasn’t been– but it seems that her feast day is celebrated on March 30th by the Third Order of St. Francis. Looks like she also has a Memorial on January 4th… Wow, no clue… Perhaps someone with a bit more knowledge can chime in and explain… Anyhow, that’s really cool that you picked a patron for 2012. Its an excellent idea.

      I chose St. Elizabeth in 2009 when I joined the Catholic Church. 🙂 She’s my confirmation name. Do you have a confirmation name? Or one given to you at baptism?

  3. Pamalogist says:

    Jessica– I just realized that you may or may not know what a confirmation name is! I know that my Protestant friends who read this certainly won’t so I will go ahead and explain anyways. Briefly–

    Catholics baptize their children when they are just babies; however, following Christ requires an active affirmation of faith from the children once they are of the age to make that decision. I think it’s around 11 years old? I’m not sure yet. This is one of the reasons for the blog, as I am a convert to Catholicism and have so much to learn. Anyways, that active affirmation is called confirmation. My understanding is that when children are baptized, their parents choose a patron saint for them. Then when they are confirmed, they can choose a different saint or the same one. The saint they choose is considered their confirmation name.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04215b.htm

    I was baptized as a Protestant in 2005, and then confirmed in 2009 into the Catholic Church. Let me know if you have any questions.

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the explanation, I didn’t know that. I was baptized as an infant in the Presbyterian church but never really made a big deal out of it (I don’t even know what age I was or the date). Right now, I’m just starting to learn about Catholicism, and haven’t started RCIA or anything yet. There does seem to be a lot to learn, but you already sound like you know a lot!

  5. Pamalogist says:

    No problem. Please feel free to ask questions if anything is confusing or unclear or if you just want to know more about something. My target audience is new converts and non-catholics, so chances are, if its unclear to you, its unclear to everyone else. You are so sweet! I like to read a lot. I’m a bit of a nerd like that. 🙂

  6. Pamalogist says:

    Oh I meant to add (seems like I click that post button a bit too quickly), if you want to know more about saints, you can go back to my archives for November 2011. The theme for that month was communion of saints. In particular, this post on the process of the Church to determine if a person is a saint might interest you. https://growingapologist.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/to-become-a-saint/

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