Elizabeth Seaton is described as the first saint native to the United States, although of course many thousands of saints were living in the United States when the new nation first declared its independence. Raised as an Episcopalian, Elizabeth married and had five children before being widowed at the age of twenty-eight. After joining the Roman Catholic Church, she founded the American Sisters of Charity, dedicated to helping the poor and to teaching children.
Saints do not become saints by living better lives than other people. God is not content with “better than average.” He demands perfection. Saints become saints by faith in Jesus Christ. Through his perfection, we saints are seen as perfect by God the Father, because he sees us through his Son and therefore calls us his children. Having been forgiven and made holy by Jesus, saints now strive to live as children of God. We try to match the perfection of Jesus. We still fall short, of course, but we are also still forgiven. We remain perfect in the eyes of God the Father.
Like Elizabeth Seaton, we can dedicate our energies to helping the poor who live in our midst. Like Elizabeth Seaton, we can use our energy to teach others what they need to know—especially the victory of Jesus Christ and his promises to rescue us and claim us for his kingdom. If we are saints, then we should act like saints, bringing glory to God’s name and drawing our neighbors to learn more about the hope that we have in Christ. J.