Sunday, November 12, 2017

Answering a Request for St. Angela of Merici Activities

Three weeks ago, a woman who follows this blog asked me in a Facebook group if I might develop some activities about Saint Angela de Merici for her to use at a Junior Catholic Daughters for girls aged 6-18.  Since I knew nothing about St. Angela de Merici before that request was made, I got to work educating myself and, then, spent some time in thought and prayer before formulating the collection of ideas I am sharing here for that woman and for anyone who might wish to learn more about  St. Angela of Merici or to celebrate her feast day, which will come up on January 27.



I hope my ideas help engage the girls at the Junior Catholic Daughters Court and also bless others with learning about St. Angela of Merici, who:

  • was founder of the oldest teaching order for women in the Church.
  • is patron to bodily ills, disabled people, handicapped people, illness, loss of parents, physically challenged people, sick people, and sickness. 
  • was a saint ahead of her time in pioneering education for young women and seeking a way for women to consecrate themselves to God, but not be required to enter a convent, instead "blooming where they were planted".

Learn About St. Angela of Merici

 
If you know little about St. Angela de Merici, this video from Catholic Online offers you a quick overview of her life:



You might also enjoy this longer video which will take you on a   virtual sightseeing tour while learning about St. Angela of Merici:



Five Activity Stations for Celebrating St. Angela of Merici

As I understand the Junior Catholic Daughters is an organization for girls ages 6-18 that falls under the umbrella of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas who seek to:

...participate in the religious, charitable and educational Apostolates of the Church... in creative and spiritual programs... (embracing) the principle of faith working through love in the promotion of justice, equality and the advancement of human rights and human dignity for all.

Thus, in response to the request I received to formulate activities for a Junior Catholic Daughter court, I aimed to pull together some that tie religion, charity, and education together with St. Angela Merici's life and work, balancing ones that younger girls might enjoy with ones that might offer older girls purpose and reflection.  In doing so, I came up with:



  • Make a Craft to Remind You of St. Angela of Merici's First Vision In the 1490's Angela had a vision of a procession of singing angels and young girls, including her deceased sister, who had not received last rights.  This vision assured her that her sister is safe in heaven with the saints.  In connection with this, make paperclip angels like those found at the Crafty Mummy.  For an extra special touch, tuck a small slip of paper with the Eternal Rest prayer printed onto it into the angel's body.  Consider gifting these to a local funeral home or keep them as a reminder to pray for All Souls.


  • Recall St. Angela of Merici's Second Vision, Helping Girls and Women:  Around 1494, St. Angela of Merici had a second vision of several virgins climbing a ladder to heaven.  This was God's way of showing her that she was to help girls and women.  In memory of this, bring a new or like-new item to be donated to a cause for women and girls - a shelter, a Respect Life charity, or the like.  At your event, set up a ladder with a heavenly blue and white box at its top and climb the ladder to offer your donations.


  • Go on a Blind Walk like St. Angela of Merici:  A "fun fact" about St. Angela Merici is that, in 1524, she was temporarily blinded while on a pilgrimage in Crete. When she was struck blind, her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going on and visited the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. Then, before going home, while praying before the very same crucifix where she went blind, her sight was restored.  In memory of this, partner up.  In front a crucifix, have your partner put on a blindfold, then, guide your partner that circles back around to the crucifix.  Once here, you become the blind one and have your partner guide you on a trust walk.  After your walks, chat about what it felt like to be blinded, to trust, to guide, to regain sight, etc.  Liken your experience to our dependence on trusting God to guide us. 

 

  • Create a Tool to Teach:  In 1535, St. Angela founded the Company of St. Ursula which had a mission for educating girls. Create a teaching tool for sharing about St. Ursula and her mission with others.  Using cardstock, scissors, glue sticks, tape, markers, colored pencils, images of St. Angela of Merici, some quotes from her, and a host of decorative items such as stickers, ribbons, etc.,   create a scrapbook page about St. Angela's life.  A pdf of The Life of St. Angela Merici from the Ursuline Sisters website might be helpful to you as would the free St. Angela Merici coloring page from Catholic Playground.



  • Pray at the Feet of Jesus Christ:  St. Angela of Merici once said, "Let your first refuge be at the feet of Jesus Christ." She also had  a miracle happen to her when praying in front of a crucifix.  Modeling after her devotion to praying at Jesus' feet, pray the  Litany of St. Angela of Merici found at Catholic Culture at the foot of a statue of Jesus or at the foot of a crucifix.  Or, choose a much shorter prayer, like the Prayer to St. Angela Merici found at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church.

Saint Angela,
you were not afraid of change.
You did not let stereotypes keep you from serving.
Help us to overcome our fear of change in order to follow God's call and allow others to follow theirs.
Amen.

Curriculum Connections

I also fell upon some free resources online that could be used for more "academic" pursuits.



  • Copywork or Studied Dictation:  The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph also offer a brief biography and a 52 week collection of words of wisdom from St. Angela.  The wise words could be ideal for creating copywork, practicing studied dictation, making graphic word art, or decorating scrapbook type pages about St. Angela Mercici.  There is also a 43-page printable of the Saint's writings taken from he book "Commentary on the Writings of Saint Angela Merici" by M. Ignatius Stone, OSU.

  • Picture Study/Art:  There is an iconic image of St. Angela Merici on the Saint Angela Merici Catholic Church website in which a "ladder represents a vision she had of heaven opening and angels traveling between heaven and earth," an arrow symbolizes St. Ursula's martyrdom, and a cluster of "grapes are symbolic of the eucharistic blood of Christ and also of her family's vineyard. Even more it symbolizes the cluster of women she drew together in such a unique and progressive way."  The image could be sued as the basis of a picture study or could inspire an art project where everyone creates their own image of St. Angela using symbolism to represent aspects of her life and work
     
Online Biographies

These were some of the online resources I drew information from:

I enjoyed learning about St. Angela of Merici and putting this post together to honor the request of a Training Happy Hearts reader.  I pray that my work will bring fruit for her, her Junior Catholic Daughters Court, and for you should you choose to use any of the ideas here.  If you do use them, I'd love to hear how things went.  I'd also welcome you to add your own St. Angela of Merici links and ideas in the comments to benefit others.

If you have requests for ideas about other saints, do let me know.

St. Angela of Merici, pray for us!

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