Sometimes, I go all out learning about and celebrating saints with my children. At other times, we go for simplicity. We did the latter today, incorporating eight simple ways to celebrate St. Francis into our day.
(1) St. Francis Honey-Almond Cakes
St. Francis was said to have loved almond cookies. So, for breakfast, we enjoyed sliced apples and pears along with a gluten-free adaptation of a recipe I found years ago.
To make our version:
Preheat oven with baking stones in it to 350 degrees F.
Stir 2 egg whites vigorously.
- 1/2 cup of raw local wild flower honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- 2 cups of almond meal flour or 1 cup of almond meal flour and 1 cup finely chopped almonds
Drop by teaspoonful onto baking stones and bake for about 15-25 minutes. Start checking at 15 minutes for light browning.
Catholic Cuisine has other recipes, too.
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(2) St. Francis Prayers
This year, we simply read the prayer from the St. Francis page in the Picture Book of Saints. In past years, we have used a variety of prayers. The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi has a useful collection to draw from.
(3) St. Francis Readings
There are so any fabulous picture books and saint book excerpts about Saint Francis that we've read over the years. Included in our St. Francis day readings have been:
- Dragon Slayers: The Essential Training Guide for Young Dragon Fighters
- Loyola Kids Book of Saints
- Brother Sun, Sister Moon
- Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy
- Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi
- Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi (The Life of a Saint)
- Saint Francis and the Wolf
- Brother Wolf of Gubbio: A Saint Francis LegendHandprint Books
- The Song of Francis
(4) Video Time
We so love our CCC of America collection of kids videos. A favorite from them, The Knight of Assisi, was our post-breakfast viewing this year.
(5) Church Building - Physical
Ever since we played the Build a Church like St. Francis game that I created for an All Saints Day party several years back, it's become a tradition for us to talk about how St Francis first thought he was to rebuild a physical church, but then realized it was a spiritual church he was called to rebuild. We give the kids blocks, Legos, toothpicks and marshmallows, or whatever and have handy and challenge them to design and build a church structure. Then, we think of ways we can make the spiritual church strong, such as... (Read the next numbered idea.)
(6) Church Building - Spiritual
This year, the children opted to give to the poor as St. Francis did at the beginning of the the CCC of America video we watched. They were so eager to place food donations into the food pantry basket at our church's entry that they ran to the door.
St. Francis wrote canticles. Cat Chat wrote a catchy tune about St. Francis. So catchy, in fact, that my kids were singing it as they built with blocks this morning, so we had to dig out our Amazing Angels and Super Saints CD after Mass to listen to Go Francis. Love that song and the CD it comes from.
(8) Visit St. Francis
These days, we may not be able to visit with St. Francis in person, but we can certainly go to chapels or churches named after him, spend time meditating on his life and works, pray for his intercession, and, as my kiddoes did, find a statue of him to go say hello to.
Of course, there are many, many other ways to celebrate St. Francis' feast day, too. Nature walks. Zoos. Blessings of the animals. Works of Mercy. Adoration. Mission work. Arts and crafts. The list goes on...
Praying you had a wonderful St. Francis Feast Day. I'd love to hear how you celebrate!