At 60th anniversary Mass, Archbishop Gregory encourages Seton students to emulate their patron saint
Sep 26, 2019
During an all-school Mass beginning their 60th anniversary on Sept. 17, members of the Elizabeth Seton High School community remembered the legacy of their patron saint and her commitment to the education of young women.
“Today we celebrate a legacy built when the Daughters of Charity joined with the Archdiocese of Washington in a faith journey, and born from that journey was Elizabeth Seton High School,” said Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, a Daughter of Charity and 1974 Seton graduate who now serves as the school’s president. With the encouragement of the Archdiocese of Washington, the Daughters of Charity founded Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, in 1959.
Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory celebrated the Mass. During his homily, the archbishop noted how St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is a fitting namesake of the school, as she epitomized the genius of the American woman.
“I wonder what Archbishop O’Boyle must have thought about naming this school in 1960,” he said, noting his predecessor, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, the first resident archbishop of Washington who served from 1948 to 1973. “Elizabeth Ann Seton was not yet a saint, although her reputation for holiness was already well established.”
Elizabeth Seton, who was raised Episcopalian and converted to Catholicism, shows how all are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, Archbishop Gregory said.
“Holiness is not limited to a particular culture or tradition or language,” he said. “The call to holiness is to grow out of all of our lives in response to the Gospel we just heard.”
Archbishop Gregory bade the women of the high school to carry on the tradition and zeal of the great American female saint.
“What I hope, and certainly what I pray for is that the young women who gather under the name of Elizabeth Ann Seton will be inspired by her way of life, by her tremendous witness of holiness (and) generosity,” Archbishop Gregory said, “and that, as you pursue your own lives, you can take some satisfaction in knowing you are a Seton lady.”
Mayor Takisha James of the town of Bladensburg, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. and other alumnae and Daughters of Charity were in attendance.
Both James and Bowser addressed the students, telling them to become involved in the community and to be guided by integrity.
“You can’t help but share the light you are given by being in this environment,” James said, “and the grace you are learning about and that God has bestowed upon you with your community.”
Sister Ellen Marie said it is in the education of young women and in service to one another that the high school’s true mission resides.
“When the archbishops go back to Eastern Avenue and the mayors go back to their offices… the real work of Seton begins,” she said.
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