The Saints and How They Help Us
by Sheila M. Coyle
M. Coyle was a Suite101.com Contributing Editor/Writer for
Catholic Religion/Saints. She is the mother of three grown sons,
one teenage daughter. She taught fourth and fifth grade at a Catholic
School for one year, and was a substitute teacher in public schools.
Sheila is also the author of a recently published book: Katie
Marie and St. Therese's Website .
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my early years from first to fourth grade I attended the Academy of
The Sacred Heart in Providence, Rhode Island. I was taught by the Mothers
of the Sacred Heart. Their goodness and dedication left deep impressions
in my mind and memory. It was in those rooms smelling of freshly waxed
floors, board chalk and erasers that I learned tender devotion, mostly
by example, to the Saints.
In fact, I spent a good part of those years bowing to statues in the
classrooms, in the black and white-checked hallway and chapel. I firmly
believed that one day they would speak to me. I could be coming around
a corner clutching books, hurrying, but I would screech to a halt and
stand there, staring up at them. Open-mouthed, I may add. I cannot tell
you what I was thinking except they seemed to speak, bending down towards
me like they did, smiling. One day a nun said, "You can't stand there
forever. Do you think they're going to say something to you?" she asked,
a smile tugging the corner of her lips. Of course at that time in my
life I said whatever was on the tip of my tongue, as children do. I
turned my head flipping my red-ribboned braids and said to this nun,
"I'm gonna see her someday, I am!" I ran down the stairs glancing back
at Mother's wry smile.
I was fascinated by the Blessed Mother dressed in the softest blue and
cream white gown, a crown of stars circling her head and her sweet smile.
When looking at St. Joseph carrying the Infant Jesus, I thought there
was more to that story as well.
I made my First Holy communion in the school chapel, the door closed
to the Saints standing in the hallway and parents peeking through the
keyhole at a private ceremony reserved for seven little girls, the officiating
priest and one nun. And who was the first person to smile when I emerged
from those closed doors? The Blessed Mother, of course!
The point is that first impressions last. And these are the impressions
I brought into my writing later on in life, in particular, in my book
Katie Marie and St. Therese's Website. Katie's experience is similar
to mine, with the good nuns teaching her, and the spiritual atmosphere
of her everyday existence coloring the happenings in her life. And this
is what fiction is, based on fact, yet mostly made up. Katie, a student
at St. Mary's listens to the Saints whispering their secrets into her
Katie Marie is the only child in St. Mary's Star of The Sea Over The
Hill church choir. She writes her prayer petitions in a computer notebook
called "St. Therese's Website," similar to a prayer site on her fourth
grade classroom computer. Katie writes about her aging Aunt Aggie, Sister
Frenchetta fiesty choir director, and kindly Sister Margarita, Jimmy
Marcone Katie's tormentor, and friends Heather and Judy whose parents
won't let them play with Katie anymore. Her prayers are answered in
an EXTRA ordinary way when Padre Parone, Patron Saint of the world sits
next to her in choir changing her life forevermore.
struggles, raised by an aging aunt, and forced to attend daily choir
because her family cannot afford daycare. It seems to me that there
are more children today struggling with one thing or another, regardless
of their economic situation. But Katie's faith brings her the help she
needs in the form of spiritual assistance, one of God's Saints, no less,
helping her to live with and solve her difficulties.
And I believe this is how the Saints help us. Not by glorified versions
of their life and miracles, but by their daily overcoming of obstacles
in their pathway to God. How did they learn to deal with troubling situations
or people? They learned and then they taught, the lessons of love.
You may want to read Katie's version of her story to younger children,
leaving the narration for older children further along in spiritual
development, or those who can understand how prayers of intercession
to the Saints work. The book can also teach lessons about kindness,
struggling with forgiveness, and God's mysterious ways. Children can
relate to the goodness of the Saints. Your children will see that the
Saints work in quiet ways, and through example. Children like to practice
following that example in their own lives.
All books really, are interpreted according to an individual's perspective
and experience. Do your children like Katie and the other characters
and situations in the story? Online reviews at Amazon.com are truly
appreciated by Katie, and of course the author. And best of all if you
read her book, Katie Marie and Padre Parone, Patron Saint of the world,
will pray for you, honest!
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts about the Saints with you!
Katie Marie and St. Therese's Website
is available at:
Permission is granted to use this article for non-commercial purposes.