Below are a few suggestions of activities aiming at helping students learn about Saints, identify with them, and reflect on the role of saints.
Have the students do a bit of research on one of their favourite saints.
Ask them to make a Saints Day Card using either a 8X11 sheet of paper or construction paper folded in half.
The top part of the card could contain the name of the saint with a picture or drawing representing the saint.
Inside, there could be a brief biography of the saint and/or a prayer to this saint written by the student. They could also explain why they have chosen this saint - what do they find appealing about this holy person.
On the back of the card, ask them to draw a symbol that represents this saint. Under the drawing, they could explain why they have chosen this particular symbol.
One option is to print out and distribute the Patron Saints Quiz answers. Follow the link above and scroll down below. Below the 100 questions, you will find short biographies of each of 100 patron saints.
Students can read through these and select one saint for this assignment.
If students have access to the Internet, you can direct them to some of the web sites containing biographies of saints on our Site Reviews - Saints page
If they do not have access to the Internet, you could simply print a copy of the biographies needed and hand them out to the students.
Saint Trivia Game
Copy, paste onto a word processor and print the short biographies that constitute the answers to the Patron Saints Quiz - (Follow the link above and scroll down below. Below the 100 questions, you will find short biographies of each of 100 patron saints.)
Divide the class into groups of 3-4. Tell them that they will be getting information on 100 patron saints and that they will participate in a trivia game as a team. They will have 5-10 minutes to go through the information before the game starts. Point out that because time is limited, teams that co-operate in going through the information will do better during the game.
Distribute the patron saints biographies to the your students. When time is up, tell them to put away their sheets and proceed with the game.
You could ask questions from the Patron Saints Quiz to each of the teams in turn, or you could take the first student who lifts his or her hand. If you take the latter option, you might want to give one point for right answers and take one point away for wrong answers.
Patron Saint Row Race
Copy, paste onto a word processor, and print the short biographies that constitute the answers to the Patron Saints Quiz - (Follow the link above and scroll down below. Below the 100 questions, you will find short biographies of each of 100 patron saints.)
The teams will be made of rows of students - this could be done according to the natural seating plan you have or according to one that you make up for the occasion.
Tell the students that they will be getting information on 100 patron saints and that they will participate in a race to answer questions on these saints afterwards.
Give the students 5-10 minutes to go through the information before the game starts. Point out that because time is limited, teams that co-operate in going through the information will do better during the game.
Copy, paste onto a word processor, and print the 100 questions of the Patron Saints Quiz. Hand them out to the students face down on their desks. Tell the students to wait for your signal to turn the quiz over and to start doing it.
At regular intervals of 30 to 60 seconds, ask the students to pass the sheet they were working on to the student in the desk behind them. The last student walks up to the front and gives his/her sheet to the student in the front desk. If students spot a mistake made by one of their team mates, they can correct it. If need be you can adjust the time between switches to extend or shorten the total time.
Determine before you start the race how many times the students will switch sheets. Once the race has started, keep track of switches by making tally marks on the blackboard. When you have reached the predetermined number, tell the students to put down their pencils
Ask the students in each row to write the number of their row on the back of the quiz sheets (count the rows off so the students know what number to write).
Have the students exchange copies with the row beside them. If there is an uneven number of students in rows, some students will be marking 2 quizzes. Uneven numbers of rows will also require that one row exchanges copies twice.
Go over the answers so that the students can mark the papers they have. Each correct answer is worth 1 point. Students then tally the number of correct answers. Quickly go down each row asking students to give you the score of the quiz(zes) they marked. Write these scores on the board. Add the total score for each row and divide by the number of students in that row (ask students to do the math). The row with the highest average is the winner.
The advantage with this process is that it is both non-threatening for individual students and yet appeals to their sense of competition.
A Saint for the 21st Century
Explain the following points to your students:
- God is the one who calls people to become Saints;
- Saints are people who love God and others - you can't seperate one from the other;
- Saints show their love for God by loving others;
- the love that Saints have for others is an echo, a reflection of the love that God has for others;
- Saints find out how God is calling them to love by being attentive to the needs of of people in the world they live in;
- the lives of Saints tell us something about God: when God calls certain people in certain situations to love in certain ways, God is telling us what is important in God's eyes.
For example, mother Teresa of Calcutta served the poorest of the poor, the dying, the children who would otherwise have been abandonned or aborted. If God called her to do this, what was God telling the whole world through Mother Teresa? Possibly that even though the society of the 20th century did not put much value on life, especially the life of the most vulnerable and the most powerless, God did value their lives. The ministry of Mother Teresa proclaimed this love of God in the midst of what Pope John Paul II called the "culture of death". The ministry of Mother Teresa was therefore both a sign of God's love and a message to the world.
You could obviously look at the lives of other Saints in this light. What was the "message" of God to the world given through a Therese of Lisieux? a Saint Francis of Assisi?
Each generation needs to hear God saying "this is what I care about" - "this is what I find important". One of the ways God does this is through the persons God calls to sainthood.
If this is true, God is calling people in our present time to be Saints. These 21st century Saints will be God's answer to the needs of 21st century people. What does our world need to hear from God today? What will 21st century Saints look like. What will these Saints do to love others and to be a sign of God's love in our world?
Ask your students to jot down possible answers to these questions? Ask them to share their answers with the rest of the class.
"Saints in the Supermarket" - a feature in the online edition of the Saint Anthony Messenger - has a more extensive reflection on sainthood which is similar to the one described above. It also provides a number of links to online resources to facilitate this reflection.
Depending on the level of maturity of your students, you could
extend this by asking them to answer the following questions:
God calls all of us to become Saints, to become signs of his love to a world that has special needs. What can I do to start answering that call? What can I do today to start loving the people around me, to meet their need?
For this purpose, you could print, photocopy one or the other of the reflection cards available here.
- Meet the Saints - Name tags with brief biographies of some of the Church’s most beloved and well-known saints. Match the name tags containing biographies with the saint names. There are three more saint’s names than there are biographies. In the blank name tags provided, write an introduction for each of the remaining saints.
- Ideas for Helping Students Celebrate All Saints' Day by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, IWBS - Ideas for discussions, for activities and for prayer.
©Gilles Côté, 2001
If you copy information from this Catholic Religious Education Webzine please acknowledge your source
Calendars and Indexes of Saints ~ General Information on Saints - Individual Saints
Saint Therese of Lisieux ~ Maximillian Kolbe ~ Mary ~ North American Martyrs (Canadian Martyrs)
Canonization & Beatification ~ The Wisdom of Saints ~ Reviews of Web Sites Focussing on Saints
Posters - Quotations of Saints ~ Saints Coloring Pages - Books on Saints