Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sensing the Saints from Divine Mercy Sunday through St. Catherine of Sienna's Feast Day

This week is chock full of fabulously famous feast days - as well as a few lesser known ones - which make it easy to weave plenty of sensory-smart faith experiences into life and learning.

Since learning about and celebrating the saints is an avocation of mine, I was excited to take time over the past few days to browse books and websites about saints whose feast days are this week and, then, to brainstorm ideas for sprinkling saint-connected activities into each and every upcoming day.  In case you like doing the same, I thought I'd share the fruits of my labor.  (Not that it was really labor to put these ideas together.  For me, it is fun, fun, fun to do!)

Divine Mercy(the Sunday after Easter) and St. George (4/23)

Without question, Divine Mercy Sunday is a day to spend some extra time before or after Mass chatting about Divine Mercy and, perhaps, praying the chaplet

In our family, it is also a time to get our taste buds in on the celebration.  This morning, my daughter helped us make a simple breakfast to remind us of the Divine Mercy image:  a heart-shaped piece of french toast with red and blue berries streaming from it.

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Over breakfast, we prayed and 
read "St. Mary Faustina Kowalska: A Hero Finds Hope in Mercy" in our Loyola Kids Book of Heroes. We also chatted a bit about the Divine Mercy image that St. Faustina saw and about the history of the original painted image.

Later, we followed up on our breakfast chat by letting the children choose between beginning to listen to The Neces
sity of Divine Mercy or 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy in our minivan while on the way to an event.  They chose the former, which will be our travel time listening for the early part of the week.

Then, this evening, viewed the trailer for The Original Image of Divine Mercy: A Documentary (and all want to see the whole thing!)

Before that, though, we took a side step into honoring today as the traditional day for celebrating St. George.

For dinner, my daughter helped me create a reprise of some of 
dishes we enjoyed last year with friends.
This year, our table looked like this:

After grace and reading "St. George" from the Picture Book of Saints, the children dug in with their sword picks.  Meanwhile, I continued reading "St George, Martyr" from In His Likeness and "Saint George" from Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year - of which give more factual accounts of St. George than the typical St. George and the dragon legend.

I particularly liked how in
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year, the dragon story was explained symbolically with the dragon standing for wickedness and the lady for holy truth.  There was also a reflection which stated:

We all have some "dragon" we have to conquer.  It might be pride or anger or laziness or greediness or something else.  Let us make sure we fight against these "dragons", with God's help.  Then we can call ourselves real soldiers for Christ.

Since my children were all busy stabbing our food dragon when I read this reflection, we gave it only cursory thought.  Later in the week, I think we may revisit the idea, then.

Speaking of revisiting, we will also likely revisit some other St. George readings we've enjoyed in past years as reading later in the week, since we opted to read some American history at bedtime.  So, ready in our book basket are:

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (4/24)

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen is a new-to-us saint, so we'll likelyread excerpts about him from
In His Likeness and Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year.  We may also listen to brief audio about him on the Franciscan Media website or view this short homily about him on YouTube:

Then, after reading about St. Fidelis in Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year, we'll think about this idea, from page 182 of the book:

It is a great honor to be able to help others come back to Jesus, back to the Church.  Let us try, by prayer, good example and kind words, to be real apostles.

Most likely, we'll then pause to pray for the conversion and reversion of specific friends and family and will also chat about ways we might proclaim our faith without fear

We may also consider what Pope Benedict XIV said at St. Fidelis' canonization about how he:

"...practiced the fullness of charity in bringing consolation and relief to his neighbors as well as strangers... comforted widows and orphans... was always helping prisoners...showed constant zeal in visiting and comforting the sick..." and tirelessly preached the Catholic faith.

Undoubtedly, this will inspire proprioception and vestibular input as we move about the house gathering things for the needy or take a walk to go visit and help some neighbors.

We may also do some copywork using quotes from St. Fidelis:

It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.

Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.

St. Mark (4/25)

St. Mark's feast day will bring more prayer, reading, learning, picture study, and reflection to our home, as well as gustatory delight!  Much like last year, we'll likely enjoy eating a vegetable dip winged lion.

We may even share a luncheon with friends, to include a "quill" penne and "martyr red" tomato dish inspired by one described at Catholic Cuisine and a gluten-free recipe at Vega-licious.

Among our readings may be:

Our Lady of Good Counsel and Venerable Nano Nagle (4/26)

We received a cute little Our Lady of Good Counsel peg doll in a Marian Peg Doll Swap I participated in, so she will grace our table from the earliest hours of the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel along with an Our Lady of Good Counsel prayer card. 

Then, in the evening, we'll add some blue
 and white candles and a blue and white breakfast-for-dinner meal to the table (in honor of Our Lady), which we will enjoy as I read about Our Lady of Good Counsel in Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and, perhaps, online at  Augustinian Friends and Tradition in Action.  A picture study or art creation may be in order, too, depending on how exhausted we are from a busy day we already have scheduled.

If we do happen to have energy, we may also focus on another new-to-me Venerable Nano Nagle, who you can hear about here if she is new to you, too:

If that happens, for fun, after reading about Nano as a child, we might just go outside for some great "heavy work" climbing trees and take some late lessons outside, too, as inspired by hearing about hedge schools.

We also might pray a prayer I found in a pdf at Presentation Primary Listowl's site and chat about the idea that "the pattern of (Nano's) life was the movement from action or service to contemplation and back again to action or service" as described at the Nano Nagle website.

St. Zita and St. Peter Canisius (4/27)

Thursday is previously scheduled to be a busy day here, too. However, it won't be too busy to do some housework cheerfully and prayerfully, to set aside alms for the poor, and to have some bread (and maybe even make some ) in honor of St. Zita, who we will read about in More Once Upon a Time Saints and, also, perhaps in the story The Saint-Maid of Lucca at the Baldwin Project and the pdf at The Real Presence.

We might also read about St. Peter Canisius in 
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and at Aquinas and More, along with seeing if the children can figure out which line from the Hail Mary is not from the Bible, but is attributed to St. Peter Canisius and also, perhaps, reviewing some extra catechism together in honor of the saint.

St. Peter Chanel and St, Louis de Montfort (4/28)

On Friday, the kids have their final parkour class for this school year, where they will be facing literal challenges to hurdle over. After that, we will read about St. Peter Chanel in 
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year and/or watch a clip about him on Catholic Online.  Then, we'll chat about how seeming failures, hurdles, and challenges can turn out to be huge successes with God's good graces.

I may also have the children color an image of St. Louis de Montfort as we talk about  Marian Consecration and begin reading St.Louis de Montfort: The Story of Our Lady's Slave

St. Catherine of Sienna (4/29)

Finally, the week will close with learning about St. Catherine of Siena.  

I may ask my oldest to follow St. Catherine's example by writing to political leaders, as inspired by Church Pop.  Likewise, I may have the children color an image from Catholic Playground while we listen to any one of the following readings in whole or in part:

We might also 
go through items to find some more to donate as St. Catherine was known for giving things away to the needy.

Most certainly, as our week unfolds further, my children and I won't get to every idea I have listed here and may also end up hopping down different saint-inspired bunny trails.  However, I am certain that we'll enjoy sensing the saints in one way or another every day.

I pray you have a richly blessed week and can enjoy some of these ideas, too!  I'd also be grateful if you'd share favorite resources, recipes, and readings related to any of this week's saints or any upcoming ones.  Thank you and God bless!


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