Monday, September 21, 2009

All Creation Sings: Praying the Psalms with St. Elizabeth Seton

The Psalms are among my favorite writings in all of the printed word. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is among my favorites of all saints. How nice then that Sisters of Charity Regina Bechtle and Margaret Egan have put them together in this lovely 64-page volume.

All Creation Sings: Praying the Psalms with St. Elizabeth Seton will be a welcome addition for anyone’s individual devotions, as well as for retreat house libraries. The glorious color photos -- of oceans and flowers, skylines and shorelines, butterflies and other charming creatures -- on every page are meditations in themselves. This book would make a beautiful gift.

I love its simplicity. Just one short verse on each page, followed by one of the gorgeous photos and a quote from Mother Seton. They are comforting, uplifting, prayer and joyful, just like the Psalms. One example: “May our God respond to you in your darkest times. May you always feel his supportive, loving presence coming from the highest heavens.” Ps. 20: 1-2. Then a photo of the ocean at sunrise and, from Mother Seton, “Keep in mind that not the least thing can happen to you without the will of God with regard to you.” At the end of the volume are several pages for personal reflection.

Mother Seton was a convert to Roman Catholicism from the Episcopal tradition. She founded the American Sisters of Charity, which was the first sisterhood native to the United States. A wife, mother, widow, sole parent, educator, social minister and spiritual leader, she was the first person born in the United States to become a canonized saint, on Sept. 14, 1975. She was born on Aug. 28, 1774 in New York City and died Jan. 4, 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she founded her order and started what would become the Catholic elementary school system in America.

As an associate member of the Sisters of Charity of New York I am one of her spiritual daughters. Associates don’t take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as vowed sisters do, but we strive to live the charism of the order, which is charity, in our daily lives.

All Creation Sings is $10, plus $3 for handling. Checks should be made payable to the Sisters of Charity, New York and sent to Seton Book Order, Sisters of Charity Center, 6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY 10471-1093. For more information, contact Sr. Regina at

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