Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31: Saint John Bosco

St. John Bosco

History

Beginning at the age of nine, John Bosco started having dreams that told him what God’s will for him. His family laughed at him when he told them about his dreams. But in time, John found the dreams coming true as he worked with a group of poor, loud, naughty boys. Trying to help them was really hard work and sometimes it seemed like John wasn’t doing any good at all. When priests and other friends gave up on John’s work, God would send him an encouraging dream. 

Activity

When Saint John Bosco was young, he learned how to juggle and do magic tricks to catch the attention of children. Once they were listening to him, he would teach them about Jesus and take them to Mass. Here’s a magic trick that you can learn – a rope is cut in half and then knotted together, and then it becomes perfectly whole again. It’s a lot like when Jesus saves us from our sin and makes us whole again. Here's a video of another one that shows how Jesus washes away our sin (and here are instructionsfor recreating this magic trick at home). 

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30: Saint Aldegundis

St. Aldegundis

History

Saint Aldegundis was from Flanders (Belgium). Her parents were Saint Walbert and Saint Bertila, and her sister was Saint Waldetrudis. Imagine having four people in your family become saints! They were a royal family, and everybody expected Aldegundis to get married to an important man, but she chose to be wed to Christ. She became a religious sister. One day, Aldegundis heard God calling her to start a new convent across the river Sambre. As the story goes, she walked on the water across the river to choose the site.


Activity

Saint Aldegundis died of breast cancer, so she is a patron for those who suffer from cancer. Be sure to ask Saint Aldegundis to pray for anybody you know who is fighting cancer today. 

Saint Aldegundis, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29: St. Dallan

History

Dallan was born in Ireland in the 6th century. He loved to study and read, but he went blind when he was still young. After St. Columba died, Dallan wrote a poem to honor the great saint, and then his sight was miraculously restored. Dallas wrote many other poems to honor God's holy saints. 

Activity

Poetry is a wonderful way to help people remember important things about God and His people. Do you ever sing the hymn, "Be Thou My Vision" at Mass? St. Dallan wrote that! Today, choose a story about Jesus from the Bible and write it as a poem. Maybe your poem can be turned into a hymn, too. 

Saint Dallan, pray for us!


More reading for parents: 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas

"The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas
Over the Heretics"  by Filippino Lippi

History

Thomas was a bright student and a quick learner. He joined the Dominicans when he was 17 years old. He studied under Saint Albert the Great, but everybody called him the “dumb ox” because he was so quiet and such a big man. He wrote many important books that taught people to love Jesus and to love each other, which is why he is a Doctor of the Church. 



Activity

The symbol of Saint Thomas Aquinas is a star, which represents all the help God gave him in showing him the way he should go. Today, mix up some sugar cookie dough (or purchase pre-made dough) and make star-shaped cookies. If you like, decorate them with yellow sugar for a little extra shine. 

Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27: Saint Angela Merici

Statue of St. Angela Merici
in Desenzano, Italy
Photo by Luigi Chiesa

History

Angela Merici became a Franciscan because of her love for God. In 1524, she took a trip to the Holy Land because she wanted to be where Jesus had been while He was on earth. On the way, she suddenly became blind. She didn’t let that stop her from making the trip. She decide to “see” the Holy Land with her heart. On the way back, Angela was cured while praying in front of a crucifix. This taught her to see what God wanted her to see. So when Pope Clement VII asked her to lead an order of nursing sisters, she told him quite confidently that what God wanted her to do instead was provide poor girls with an education at a time when education was only for the rich. 

Activity

Saint Angela Merici was one of the first people who wanted poor people to get a good education. That might sound strange today, particularly in the U.S. and other countries where there is free public education, but it was a new idea when she was alive. Next week is Catholic Schools Week in the U.S. Please make a donation to your parish school’s scholarship fund to help a poor family give their child a Catholic education. Any amount will help. (If your parish does not have a school, contact your diocese to find one in an area where they may be people in need). 

Saint Angela Merici, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26: Saint Timothy

St. Timothy
Dordogne, France

History

Timothy was Saint Paul’s helper, and the two of them became so close, Paul would call Timothy his son. In the Bible, we have two letters that Paul wrote to Timothy. Both encouraged Timothy to take a stand against false teachers. Timothy learned a lot from Paul and actually became the first bishop of Ephesus.

Activity

Today, memorize a very powerful verse, 2 Timothy 1:7 (Older kids and adults should read the whole chapter as well as memorizing this.) “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power of love and self-control.”

Saint Timothy, pray for us!




More reading for parents:

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25: Saint Dwynwen

History

Dwynwen was the daughter of a king. She wanted to be a nun, but she was also in love with a young man named Maelon. It was really difficult for her to decide what to do, so she prayed for help. Then she had a strange dream. She dreamed an angel gave her a sweet drink that would make Maelon fall out of love with her. But instead, when she drank it he turned to ice. She prayed that Maelon would be returned to life, that she would get rid of her desire to marry him so she could become a nun, and that all lovers would find happiness.

Activity

In Wales, people celebrate Saint Dwynwen Day just like we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the United States. You can celebrate today by making a classic Welsh sweet drink -ginger "beer!" There's no beer in it, and it may not be the same "sweet drink" that Saint Dwynwen dreamed of, but it's delicious. Here's an easy recipe for ginger beer from Jamie Oliver. Also, since Saint Dwynwen always said: “Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness,” do your best to be cheerful no matter what happens today. 

Saint Dwynwen, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Saints SQPN

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24: St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales
Dordogne, France
Photo by Pére Igor

History

When Francis was a priest, a lot of people left the Church and started their own versions of Christianity. Francis decided it was his job to get about 60,000 people in Switzerland to come back to the Church. Nobody but his cousin would help him. For three years, people slammed doors in his face and threw rocks at him. Even his cousin gave up on him. Finally, Francis wrote out sermons by hand and slipped them under doors. That’s the first time anybody wrote a religious tract to teach people the truth. Francis didn’t win back all the people, but he did convince 40,000 of them to come back to the Church. 

Activity

Saint Francis de Sales wrote a book called “Introduction to the Devout Life.” In that book, he told people that prayer was the key to loving God. "By turning your eyes on God...” he wrote, “your whole soul will be filled with God.” Today, color a picture of the Lord and hang it in your room where you can “turn your eyes” on it all the time as a reminder to pray. Here’s a simple one, here’s one of Jesus ascending into heaven, and here’s one of Jesus praying in the Garden

Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23: St. Ildephonsus

"Presentation of the
Chasuble to St. Ildephonsus"

History

Even though his father objected, Ildephonsus became a monk when he was a young man. He studied under St. Isidore of Seville and later became the head of his monastery. Ildephonsus wrote books, hymns and prayers. He did such amazing work that once the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and gave him a chasuble (cloak to wear at Mass) from heaven. 

Activity

Today, pray this beautiful prayer that St. Ildephonsus wrote:
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer: 
through the Holy Spirit 
you became the Mother of Jesus; 
from the Holy Spirit may I too have Jesus. 
Through the Holy Spirit your flesh conceived Jesus; 
through the same Spirit may my soul receive Jesus. 
Through the Holy Spirit you were able to know Jesus, 
to possess Jesus, 
and to bring him into the world. 
Through the Holy Spirit may I too come to know your Jesus.
Imbued with the Spirit, 
Mary, you could say: 
"I am the handmaid of the Lord, 
be it done unto me according to your word"; 
in the Holy Spirit, 
lowly as I am, 
let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. 
In the Spirit you now adore Jesus as Lord 
and look on Him as Son; 
in the same spirit, 
Mary, let me love your Jesus

Saint Ildephonsus, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22: St. Vincent Pallotti

St. Vincent Pallotti
by Don Lorenzo

History

Vincent was born in 1795. All his life he believed in worshiping the Lord and helping the poor. He only 16 years old when he knew God was calling him to be a priest. Father Vincent did a great deal to help poor people and orphaned children, and he also made the Holy Family and Magi figures in the Vatican’s outdoor Nativity scene. 

Activity

Saint Vincent really wanted priests and laypeople to work together to bring all people to Christ. Today, the society he started – the Pallottines – have an international prayer network of people who pray every day that God will help them show His love to the world. It only takes a few minutes a day to pray these prayers, and membership in the network is free. Make your commitment to pray and sign up today in honor of Saint Vincent Pallotti. 

Saint Vincent Pallotti, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21: Saint Agnes

St. Agnes of Rome

History

Agnes was just a little girl in Rome when she promised herself to God forever. Maybe it was her deep love for Jesus that made her look beautiful, because many men wanted to marry her, even when she was only 13 years old. In fact, the governor’s son, Procop, tried to get her to change her mind about Christ by sending her expensive presents. Finally, he brought her to his father and turned her in for being a Christian, which was illegal in those days. The governor promised Agnes presents if she would deny God, but she wouldn’t. Then he had her arrested, but she still wouldn’t deny Him. Finally, he condemned her to death. But Agnes was so in love with Jesus, she didn’t mind dying for Him. 

Activity

Because Anges’ name sounds a lot like the Latin word for lamb (“agnus”) and because Agnes was as innocent as a lamb, paintings and statues of Agnes often show her holding a lamb. Make a batch of cupcakes today and use white frosting, marshmallows (regular size and mini) cut into thin slices with kitchen sheers, chocolate chips and pink sprinkles or decorating gel to turn them into lambs. 

Saint Agnes, pray for us!


More reading for parents: 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20: Saint Sebastian

History

Sebastian was a Christian in the third century. He joined the Roman army to encourage and protect other Christians during a time when it was illegal to worship Christ. After helping a number of people convert to Catholicism, he was discovered. Emperor Diocletian had Sebastian tied to a post and used for target practice by Roman archers. Miraculously, he did not die. A Christian lady helped him recover. Sebastian went looking for Diocletian and publicly scolded him for persecuting Christians. Diocletian was very surprised to see Sebastian still alive, but instead of recognizing the miracle, he once again ordered Sebastian's execution. This time, he died and went to heaven. 

Activity

St. Sebastian is the patron saint of Sicily (in Italy), and there is a huge celebration on his feast day every year. One of the most fun activities for children is the tamborrada, a huge parade of thousands of children playing drums. Today, make your own drums  and have a little parade to celebrate St. Sebastian's brave faith. One of the easiest way to make a drum is to cut the neck off a balloon and stretch it over an oatmeal canister, plastic jar or tin can. Secure the balloon with a rubber band. 

Saint Sebastian, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19: Saint Fillan

St. Fillan

History

Fillan was a young monk who left Ireland to move to Scotland. He traveled all around the country, teaching people about Jesus so that they would become Christians. People said that he could pray for miracles to happen, and God would grant his prayers. Once, when he was driving a cart full of building supplies for a church, a wolf attacked his ox and killed it. Fillan prayed, and the wolf took the ox’s place and pulled the cart to the building site. 

Activity

Entrance to St. Fillan's Cave
Saint Fillan lived in a town called Pittenweem in Fife, Scotland from time to time. In fact, the cave where he lived has been found and preserved, and the local church made a little chapel inside of it. Watch this (amateur) video of St. Fillan’s Cave to see it.  

Saint Fillan, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18: St. Margaret of Hungary

St. Margaret of Hungary

History

Margaret’s father was King Bela IV of Hungary, so she was a princess. But she loved Jesus more than her fancy clothes and castle, so when she was 10 or 12 years old, she became a novice at a Dominican convent for women from noble families. Even though Margaret outranked all the other nuns, she refused to be treated as if she was special. She always took the worst chores and the most difficult cases at the hospital where the sisters worked. 

Activity

In every home – just like in every convent – there are disgusting, dirty chores that nobody wants to do, like scrubbing toilets, cleaning up after pets or taking out the trash. Today, honor Saint Margaret of Hungary by doing what she would do: choose the worst chore available and do it yourself so that nobody else has to. 

Saint Margaret of Hungary, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17: Saint Anthony the Abbot

Saint Anthony the Abbot
Tormented by Demons"
by Joan Desí

History

Anthony didn’t want to just learn about Jesus – he wanted to do what Jesus taught us to do. When Anthony heard a priest teaching about Jesus telling the rich young man to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor, that’s what he did. He sold his belongings, donated the money and went to live in the desert alone with God. Even though Anthony had never been to school, lived in a cave wearing only an old animal skin, and never took a bath, people from all over came to learn from him. He would teach people that to be holy, they must stay close to God. 

Activity

Read the story of the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-30. That rich young man became very sad and walked away. Anthony was a rich young man who did what Jesus said. What was the difference? Read verse 26 again and think about how God can make a difference in your life, too. 

Saint Anthony the Abbot, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 16: Saint Fursey

"St. Fursey & the Monk"

History

Saint Fursey was born in Ireland, the grandson of King Finlog. His mother was a Christian and gave him a Christian education. Fin log became a holy priest, traveling all around Ireland and England with his brothers Foillan and Ultan to tell people about Jesus. Sometimes, he saw visions of saints and angels, who taught him how to be a better preacher. Many people became Christians after hearing Saint Fursey’s teachings. 

Activity:

Here is a beautiful prayer that Saint Fursey taught people. Pray it as a family today. 

Prayer of St. Fursey
The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ's cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven's company in my eyes, 
The conversation of heaven's company on my lips,
The work of God's Church with my hands.
The service of God and my neighbour in my feet,
And a home for God in my heart,
And to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit my entire being,
Amen
  

Saint Fursey, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

January 15: Saint Paul the Hermit

St. Paul the Hermit
by Jusepe Ribera
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

History

Paul was an Egyptian who was orphaned at the age of 15. Because he was a Christian when the emperor was trying to get rid of all the Jesus followers in Egypt, Paul went into hiding. Seven years later, his sister’s husband wanted to get all the land that Paul had inherited, so he told the soldiers where to find him. Paul escaped to the desert and found a cave to live in. But rather than feeling lonely, Paul found Jesus was with him all the time, and he grew in holiness. 

Activity

Many of us are so busy, we don't even notice that Jesus is with us all the time. Set aside some time to day to be silent and alone with Jesus. Open your heart to his and just be quiet, listening for the "still small voice." What would your life be like if you started to do this every day? 
 

Saint Paul the Hermit, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14: Saint Felix of Nola

St. Felix of Nola
(See the spider web?)

History

Felix was the son of a Roman soldier, born in the third century. After his father died, Felix gave away all his money to the poor and became a priest. But it was hard to be a Christian in those days, because Christianity was against the law. Felix was taken to jail, but God sent an angel to set him free. Felix had to hide from soldiers so that he could be a priest to the people. Every time he hid somewhere, spiders would spin webs over the door so that soldiers would think that nobody had been through it for a very long time. 

Activity

Isn’t it interesting how even one small spider can make a big difference by doing God’s will? Today, make your own spider web to hang in the doorway of your bedroom. All you need is a paper plate, some yarn (white or any other color), a hole punch, black construction paper, and some tape. 

1.   Cut out the center of the plate (an adult should do this part, or at least get you started), leaving a rim about 1”-2” wide. 
2.   Punch holes all around the outer edge of the plate.
3.   Cut a piece of yarn about 3 feet long. Tape one end to the back of the plate, and then wrap the other end with a piece of tape to be your “needle.” 
4.   Thread the yarn into a hole across from where you taped it to the plate. Keep working back and forth across the plate, threading the yarn as you go. When you run out of yarn, tape the end to the back and get a second piece if you want to. When your web is finished, make a small loop of yarn for hanging up your web. 
5.    Cut out a spider shape from the black construction paper and tape it to the web. (Alternatively, you could use a plastic spider). 

Saint Felix of Nola, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13: Saint Hilary of Poitiers

St. Hilary of Poitiers

History

Saint Hilary was not raised to be a Christian. He knew instinctively that his life was a gift, but he wondered who the Giver was. He began to search for the Giver of Life by talking to people and reading books. He was told a lot of confusing ideas, but none of them seemed right. Then he found the sacred Scriptures. When he read what God told Moses about Himself — “I AM who I AM” — Hilary knew he had found the Giver of Life. When he read the Psalms, he was comforted in knowing that God cared about him. And when he read the Gospels, he learned God loved him enough to send His Son to die for him. Hilary became a Christian, and then a priest, and then a bishop, and he preached about God to people all over Europe and Asia. 

Activity

The Gospel of John gave Saint Hilary the final key he needed to become a Christian. Today, read John 1:1-5. What do you learn about God in this passage?

Saint Hilary of Poitiers, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

Saint Hilary’s book, “On theTrinity”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
by Pierre Le Ber

History

Marguerite had a very average childhood in France until she watched a procession for Our Lady of the Rosary when she was 20. Marguerite then knew she wanted to give herself completely to God. She became a religious sister and went to Montreal, Canada, to start a school for the Native children. However, when she arrived in Montreal, she found out that hardly any of the children lived long enough to go to school. She worked with the lady who ran the hospital to nurse the children through every illness so that they grew up strong and happy.

Activity

The congregation that St. Marguerite Bourgeoys belonged to is still in Canada, but they also do important work all over the world. For the last 10 years, they have been working to ensure the people of Kumbo, Cameroon, have enough clean water through a partnership called OK Clean Water Project. Today, in honor of St. Marguerite, make a donation of any amount to this project. 

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us!


More reading for parents:

The Holy See