Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

January 4 | Devotion

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

A.D. 1774–1821

We expect life to unfold in certain ways. We expect our relationships, careers, and personal finances to follow paths that we have constructed in our minds. We expect health, not sickness. We expect a long life, not a short one. We expect prosperity, not poverty. We expect to be respected, not disrespected.

So what do we do when life doesn’t go our way, and nothing makes sense anymore?

We devote ourselves to God, and let him give us direction. Slowly, things will start to make sense again, as they did for Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton lost her husband at a young age, and still had five small children to care for in New York City. Feeling lost, helpless, and desperate, she traveled to Italy in search of a new meaning for her life. She found God, and devoted herself totally to him. Elizabeth converted to Catholicism, returned home to found the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's, and established the first Catholic school in the United States of America.

Elizabeth found new direction and became the-best-version-of-herself precisely when her situation was most dire, at a time when American culture was openly hostile to Catholics. How did she do it?

Devotion. The virtue of devotion consists of loyal, loving, consistent, and enthusiastic desire to please God in all things. It is a specifically religious act, chosen deliberately and freely, and directed toward God.

In all her grief, stress, and poverty, Saint Elizabeth devoted herself to God, and in return, he gave her the grace to become a saint.

When life doesn't turn out the way we expect, it’s easy for nothing to make sense anymore. But devotion to God gives us direction again. Our direction becomes where God is pointing us.

What keeps me from turning to God when I am feeling my lowest? What direction is God leading me in at this season of my life?

I am devoted to God and his dream for my life.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Catholic Schools and Widows

Symbols: A Pink Flower, Book, and Rosary

Feast Day: January 4

Feast Day Shared by: St. Angela of Foligno

Canonized: September 14, 1975

Canonized by: Pope Paul VI

Image of mountain and man reflecting in the water below.

Get Daily Saint Reflections and More!

Start your day with Saint of the Day, Gospel Reflections, Mass readings, and other inspiration!

Image of woman holding the book the wisdom of the saints

Walk with the Saints

Gain wisdom from some of the greatest men and women who ever lived.