Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

January 4: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, First American-born Catholic Saint

Posted by Jacob

“We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives - that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him.”

Today, January 4, we celebrate the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), Foundress and first superior of the Daughters of Charity in the United States. Elizabeth is regarded as the first American-born Catholic saint. Pope Paul VI said of her:

"Elizabeth Ann Seton is a saint. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with special joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American! Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage."

Elizabeth was born in New York, the daughter of Doctor Richard Bayley, a wealthy and influential Episcopalian man prominent in society. When she was only three years old, her mother died, and very shortly afterwards, her baby sister also died. Her father remarried a woman who was equally as devout as her mother, and despite their participation in the high society of New York, the family spent considerable time in prayer and Scripture. Elizabeth learned the importance of a daily examination of conscience. From her father, who spent a great deal of time in humanitarian efforts, Elizabeth learned the importance of charity and hard work. She was married at the age of 19 to a wealthy business man, William Magee Seton, whom she loved very much. Together, they produced five children, to whom Elizabeth was especially devoted.

Approximately ten years into their marriage, William’s business suffered—as did many during this period of newly independent America. He soon died of tuberculosis, leaving Elizabeth penniless, with five small children to care for. Elizabeth approached this latest setback with the cheerful optimism she had exhibited from birth. Finding her solace in church, she soon found herself drawn to Catholicism, feeling the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and acknowledging the lineage of the Church dating back to the Apostles. Moreover, while on a trip to Italy with her husband before his death, Saint Elizabeth had experienced a visceral and real encounter with Our Blessed Mother, to whom she devoted herself. When she converted to Catholicism in 1805, Elizabeth found herself cut off from her family and her society friends.

Elizabeth left New York, and moved to Boston, opening a school to support herself and education her children. She administered her school like a religious community, despite it being private and unaffiliated with a religious tradition. Soon, however, she was sought by the Archbishop of Baltimore to establish a Catholic girls’ school. This she did, ushering in the American parochial school system. To support this new educational system Saint Elizabeth founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first religious community for American women founded in America (those that proceeded it had come from Europe). The community, under her leadership spread schools throughout the region, as well as Catholic orphanages.

Mother Seton suffered criticism, ostracism, and great loss during her lifetime. Not only did she lose her parents and sister, she lost her husband, and eventually two of her daughters. Throughout the struggles of her life, she exhibited heroic sanctity, possessing not extraordinary gifts, but great devotion to the Lord and love of the Blessed Sacrament. Saint Elizabeth wrote to a friend that she would prefer to exchange the world for a “cave or a desert… but God has given me a great deal to do, and I have always and hope always to prefer his will to every wish of my own.” These are words that we can take to heart as we embark upon a new year!

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton died in 2821, becoming the first American-born citizen to become a saint. She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Selected Quotations by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton:

“The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.”

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

"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him."

"And in every disappointment, great or small, let your heart fly directly to your dear Savior, throwing yourself in those arms for refuge against every pain and sorrow. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you."

Selected Prayers by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton:

O Father, the first rule of Our dear Savior's life was to do Your Will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for its most full and complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing what You wish we will be pleasing to You. Amen.

Lord Jesus, Who was born for us in a stable, lived for us a life of pain and sorrow, and died for us upon a cross; say for us in the hour of death, Father, forgive, and to Your Mother, Behold your child. Say to us, This day you shall be with Me in paradise. Dear Savior, leave us not, forsake us not. We thirst for You, Fountain of Living Water. Our days pass quickly along, soon all will be consummated for us. To Your hands we commend our spirits, now and forever. Amen.

Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Ann Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers, may we, whose Faith Community is dedicated in her honor, learn to express our love for you in our love for all your children. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Year 2: Day 4 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Openness to the Will of the Lord
Requested Intentions: Successful employment (R); Reconciliation of a marriage (M); Successful marriage, employment, healing (J); For a family struggling with a difficult situation (M); For family intentions (I); Reconciliation of a marriage (S); For blessings upon a family (R); Permanent employment (N); Successful employment (M); Successful completion of nursing exam (M); For a daughter in an abusive relationships (J); For the consecration of a granddaughter to Our Blessed Mother (A); For a successful marriage (S); Restoration of a teaching job (L); Health and spirituality of family members (R); For a return to health for a friend (C); Healing from cancer of a brother-in-law (C); Healthy relationship; Joy in everyday life (J); Successful employment and financial assistance for education (M); For the return home of father and husband suffering from mental illness (C); Successful passing of examination; Employment for Son (J); Healing of a family and son (S); Successful marriage (G); End to husband’s addictions; Son’s employment (M); Freedom from financial burdens (M); Healing after a miscarriage (E); For healing of friend; successful resolution of legal matter (A); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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