Presenter Information

Gertrude Foley S.C.


Elizabeth Seton did not have our contemporary understanding of spirituality and mission. Nonetheless, her writings and a consideration of her life in general offer a sense of her perspective on them. Gertrude Foley stresses that “spirituality is holistic, an integrating dynamic in one’s life” that motivates mission or action. Foley further defines mission as a life that is “a channel . . . of God’s love.” By identifying five obstacles to mission and learning how Elizabeth overcame them, we discover how she can guide us. The five obstacles are: being self-centered, being pious without putting faith in action, failing to recognize that it is not we but God who accomplishes all good, seeing activity and spirituality as being mutually exclusive, and believing that the concerns of daily life are opposed to a commitment to mission. Elizabeth’s spirituality enabled her to spread God’s love. She focused on God’s will and recognized that, as Foley puts it, “a spirituality for mission is a spirituality developed in mission.” Finally, Elizabeth saw opportunities to spread God’s love all aspects of her life and in all of her commitments.