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Find strength in your battles with this reflection from Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton

Nancy Bauer | Shutterstock

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/04/20

A tender lamb can endure so little, but the Shepherd will not permit it to be harmed ...

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American saint, lived an intense and exciting life, filled with trials and challenges.

As a convert to Catholicism, she had to swim against the tide, even in her own family, as there were many who opposed her conversion.

However, through her testimony, she also was a channel of grace to others. One who benefited from her ministry was her young sister-in-law, Cecilia, who eventually converted to Catholicism through Elizabeth’s guidance (and despite opposition).

An excerpt of an 1808 letter from Elizabeth to Cecilia provides for us a meditation about how we are cared for in adversity. (We’ve retained Elizabeth’s characteristic writing style and punctuation.) Next time you feel that you are struggling to do what is right, remember that it is God who fights for you!


Yes my Cecilia favored of Heaven, Associate of Angels, beloved Child of Jesus – You shall have the Victory, and he the Glory. To him be glory forever who has called you to so glorious a combat, and so tenderly supports you through it. You will triumph, for it is Jesus who fights – not you my dear one – Oh no – Young and timid, weak, and irresolute, the Lamb could not stem a torrent, nor stand the beating storm – but the tender Shepherd takes it on his shoulder, casts his cloak about it, and the happy trembler finds itself at home before it knew its journey was half finished – and so my dear one it will be with you,

He will not leave you one moment, nor suffer the least harm to approach you/ not one tear shall fall to the ground nor one sigh of love be lost – happy, happy child – and if you are not removed to the sheltering fold that awaits you, he will make you one in his own bosom until your task is done – happy happy child, how sweet must be your converse with that divine Spirit which puts in your heart, yet so inexperienced, so untutored [in] the Science of the Saints-how must those blessed beings rejoice over you while walking so steadfastly in their paths, and their Sufferings …


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