John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,“Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Today the Church honors Elizabeth Ann Seton, one of the first American-born Saints. She is considered the founder of Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph and influential in establishing the American Catholic parochial system. Born into a wealthy New York Episcopalian family, she later converted to Catholicism after the death of her husband. I find Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s story fascinating. She experienced much suffering and prejudice but remained prayerfully faithful. The Catholic Church would not be the same without the positive influence of converts!
Conversion Jesus calls all of us to conversion. It’s not instantaneous. It’s anevolving process. Conversion never stops. Many times Our Lord calls us over and over again, but we fail to respond. Maybe we are burdened by situations in our lives that make us turn a deaf ear. For Elizabeth Ann Seton, it took immersion into Italian culture and the painful death of her husband to realize her calling to serve the Catholic Church. We all have our own unique conversion stories. God calls each of us differently.
What is your conversion story?
Personally, it took me years to decide to convert to Catholicism. I was baptized in the Methodist church. In high school, I played violin at the Baptist church. I always felt drawn to praise and worship but the Protestant church justdidn’t feel like home. I felt like something wasmissingin my faith journey. By my senior year of college, through the guidance of a dear sorority sister, I discovered I belonged in the Catholic Church! My mom recounts how when I was a little girl I told everyone I wanted to be a nun when I grew up. I think Our Lord planted a “conversion seed” in my heart at a very young age!
Following Jesus Following Jesus as his disciple is no easy task. It takes perseverance, dedication, strength, and humility. We can look to the Saints as role models. With great foresight, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton identified a need to establish schools dedicated to Catholic education. She saw the importance ofpassing on the faithto the next generation.
Acts of Righteousness In our own conversion process, Jesus desires us to act in ways that are righteous. We should love one another and avoid sinful temptations. The disciples recognized Jesus walking along a path. They described him as “Lamb of God” “Rabbi” “Messiah.” They didn’t hesitate in the least to join Jesus. They acknowledgedconversion taking place within their hearts. They didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do good for the community as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Let us recognize the conversion influence in our own lives!
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pray for Us!
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. In 2013, she celebrated her 15th year anniversary as a Catholic convert. Please follow her blog Jennifer’s Spectrum of Spirituality.