August 13 to 20, 1817In 1809, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her companions began the first community of women religious in the United States. Their primary ministry was the education of young women, a priority for the Catholic community in the early US republic. They opened an academy and then a free school and both prospered.

In 1817, Bishop John Connolly of New York wrote to Mother Seton begging her to send him three Sisters for a different kind of ministry: caring for the orphaned children of his city.

The reflections we offer during the next several days are invitations to go on a “spiritual journey” with the three Sisters as they prepare to start what would become a vast network of care for the poorest of God’s children in Mother Seton’s native city.

Each day we will use Scripture and our imagination to help us walk with these “valiant women.” The short reflections are meant to be a tool for individual or group prayer.

We have few recorded facts about the journey taken between August 13 and 20, 1817. The three Sisters, Rose White, Cecilia O’ Conway, and Felicity Brady, were too busy about God’s work to take time to record their thoughts and feelings.

But have we not all taken spiritual journeys of our own? Let us see what our journeys have in common with theirs and learn from them a new way of fidelity to God’s work in our lives.

Virtual Retreat prepared by Sisters Maria Iglesias, SC, and Mary E. McCormick, SC

New Beginnings—Leave-Taking, August 13, 1817

View 200th Anniversary Prayer by Regina Bechtle, SC