Friday, November 2, 2007

Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In...


We recently celebrated the Feast of All Saints. For the entire month of October, our family has been preparing for this special feast by studying the lives of several saints. It has been quite inspiring and often humorous to hear the kids retell various stories of these beloved Christians, now in heaven.

Clara's patron is, of course, Saint Clare of Assisi. We thought it would be a good idea for her to learn more about this amazing woman of God who loved the poor and gave all she had to serve them. We commissioned Brendan's sister, Allison, who currently works in the costume shop for the theater department of Catholic University, to make a Clara-sized St. Clare costume for her to don on the eve of the feast day. (Our parish has a gigantic All Saints' Party to replace Halloween festivities.) It was, of course, appropriate to also learn about the life of Saint Francis and find a costume for Aidan to wear so the two of them could be a team just like Francis and Clare. I found a wonderful website that features costumes for biblical and saintly characters (a BIG relief since I can't sew a stitch!) The Franciscan costume is perfect as Aidan could be Francis this year and in future years other children could wear it for other saints of the Franciscan order, namely Maximilian Kolbe!

We found lots of children's literature about Clare and Francis and I was quite impressed with what the kids picked up. Aidan, being a typical boy, loved to retell the story of the wolf of Gubbio and often yelled, "and the wolf had BIG TEETH!" The duo memorized a short poem written by Saint Francis:
"God came to my door and asked for charity and I fell on my knees and cried, 'Beloved, what may I give?' 'Just love," he said. 'Just love.'"

When the packages arrived on our doorstep the two of them put on their costumes and immediately started reenacting some of the stories they knew. Eleanor was to be a ladybug at the All Saints' party, so she, too, got into character and followed the kids around, barely able to move her head from side to side in her bulky costume. Not wanting to be left out, she would often run up to me and shout "I a wadybug!"

As I was preparing dinner early this week, Max was yelping in his saucer. Suddenly, his cries stopped and I looked to see what had happened. There were Clare and Francis, both hands laid on Max's head and a prayer of healing being uttered from their lips. (Not that Max was anything more than annoyed, but they knew that Clare and Francis had the gift of healing the sick.) Clare then turned and said, "C'mon, Saint Francis. Let's go back to Assisi." What a stitch!

The Eve of All Saints' finally arrived and after losing the girls in the procession into Mass we experienced once again the powerful prayers of those Christians who have gone before us. I always get a little teary during the Litany of the Saints. After Mass, we enjoyed hot dogs (Brendan, especially, as hot dogs are in his top three favorite meals, yuck) and popcorn with the others gathered for the festivities. We played a few games and took a hayride around the church grounds. On the way out, we collected our "one bag of candy per kid." I think next year I'll make our own family rule of "one bag of candy per family" as we have enough miniature candy bars to last us through the year.

I hope our readers will enjoy the photos!

Here we have Saint Clare of Assisi

Aidan would make a lovely Franciscan

And the famous duo: Francis and Clare

And here's our little ladybug

And here's the family (notice the ladybug dodging out of the photo)
Max was a little skunk and just a riot!
And no, that's not some scary mask. Brendan grew a goatee.


Molly said...

Good for people to know.

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