Mt 4:12-17, 23-25
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, at the border of Zebulun and Naphtali.
In this way, the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, crossed by the Road of the Sea; and you, who live beyond the Jordan, Galilee, land of pagans:
The people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shone.
From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim his message, “Change your ways: the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.
The news about him spread through the whole of Syria; and the people brought all their sick to him, and all those who suffered: the possessed, the deranged, the paralyzed; and he healed them all. Large crowds followed him from Galilee and the Ten Cities, from Jerusalem, Judea, and from across the Jordan.
Today’s saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, is not very well known outside the United States because that is where she lived and died. And there she is known mostly as the foundress of a religious teaching community, the first American Sisters of Charity, who began the Catholic school system. Because of this, she is piously classified in the liturgical calendar as a “religious,” presumably because she pronounced the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at some time in her life. But is that the total picture? Far from it.
Elizabeth, born in New York City in 1774, was first an Episcopalian and a socialite. Eventually she married another Protestant, and from him had five children. After his death, she became a Catholic in 1809, and then went on to found a religious order of teachers. She died in 1821.
Now, we can piously ignore her five children (as the liturgical calendar does in such cases) and piously insist on the fact that she was a “religious.” Or—what seems preferable—one can think that God prepared this great woman educator to become an educator and the foundress of an education order by first helping her educate five children of hers. Does he not usually prepare us for our life mission in some such way?
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