Monday, April 8, 2013

We become saints and angels

Our church parish hosts a family faith formation evening each month. After sharing a meal with the community, the various age groups split up for the age appropriate topic presentations. Yesterday evening's topic was the Community of Saints and the younger children were invited dress as a favorite Saint. They were asked to do a bit of research and be able to tell their chosen Saint's story.

St. Marianne Cope, St. Francis (again)

Let's get a close up of the two on the right end....

Yep!  It's Jazz as Mother Marianne Cope and Irish Jig as St. Francis.

We more or less trained Irish Jig to say "I am Saint Francis.  I pray for peace."  I sewed a quick brown raglan sleeve gown and added pockets for her furry friends.  St. Francis is known for loving nature and animals, so it seemed right to let her carry a fuzzy bunny and puppy.  She loved being included but quickly forgot her line.  She improvised with things like, "these are my peace friends" and "St. Francis is a statue in our yard."

After discussing possible saints to research and present, Jazz and I decided on Mother Marianne Cope. She wanted St. Hermione (yes, there is one from the first century) but I vetoed that in favor of a more contemporary Saint with actual verifiable facts to use.  I used this opportunity to teach some basic internet research skills (which also fulfills a Girl Scout badge requirement) and helped Jazz put together a short biography of Marianne's life, works, and virtues.  As we researched and learned, we discussed her virtues of courage and faith.  She accepted the call to minister and nurse lepers long before the disease was fully understood, trusting that God wouldn't have called her if he couldn't provide protection for her.  If she succumbed to the disease, there would be no one to lead the leprosy settlement she and her fellow sisters had created.  She trusted fully and faithfully that they would be cared for - and they were.  She died of natural causes in her 80's.

Many of my non-Catholic friends have asked me about the Saints over the years.  I was especially questioned during my college years in the "Bible Belt" area.  The simple answer is that Saints are just those extraordinary people whose lives are an example to us today.  Their stories are meant to inspire us on our own faith journeys.  Admittedly, I tend to stay away from stories of extreme martyrdom for my younger children - the be-headings, stonings, and dismemberments are a bit off-putting, to say the least.  But the more contemporary stories, like Marianne's, are inspiring.

"Do you pray to the Saints?"  That's another question I get often.  If I say "yes", then I hear "but that's putting another before God and that's wrong."  Yes, it would be wrong - if a prayer to a Saint was for anything other than intercession.  Saints are invoked in prayer because their lives have shown special relationship to and with God.  Asking them to pray on our behalf is no different than asking your husband, best friend, or pastor to remember you in prayer during a difficult time.

The Communion of Saints, as we studied the term last night, is the whole Church community - the inclusion of the living and dead because we believe in life after death.  

"We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth,
     the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church."
Pope Paul VI

One of our current favorite hero saints is sweet Katie.  She's always ready to give of her time and love to play with, foster, teach and inspire our girls (and sometimes even our boys).  Her quiet grace proves to those around her that much can be accomplished with seemingly effortless work and determination.

So, do you have a current favorite Saint?

Today's post title from Sara Evan's Saints and Angels

1 comment:

  1. St. Francis is a statue in our yard. Oh so funny! Isn't it great to have good people to learn about with our children?


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