Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A New Take on An Old Parable {A Mapelle Film and Book Review}

I'm always on the look out for wholesome family movies with strong faith-connected messages, so I was excited to receive a Trust Fund DVD from Mapelle Films for review and was even more pleased to have an opportunity to read Love Was Near, a companion book to the film.

Since film is rated PG for “mild thematic elements and brief smoking”, with a suggested audience is 12+, and the book is directed towards girls ages 12+, I initially thought I would watch the DVD with my husband, before deciding if we would share it with our children and, then, would read the book myself. before saving it for my daughter to read in a couple years.  But, you know what they say, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans."

As life unfolded, my husband and I never found time together without the children for a just-us movie time.  So, finally, one night, when my husband was working a late shift and I needed to unwind after reading my children a bedtime story, I popped the
Trust Fund into my laptop to watch on my own.

Ha!  I should have known better.  I was just beginning the film when my daughter's feet padded up next to me.  She could not sleep, and the next thing I knew, she asked if she could cuddle up to watch the movie with me.  I knew she was tired and might just fall asleep if she had a chance to snuggle into me to watch the film, so I said, "Sure, but this movie really meant for older children and grown ups, so if it gets to be too much I may ask you to leave."

A minute or two later, both my other children came into the room. Everyone wanted Mama and Mama just wanted to unwind.  So, we my children and I ended up viewing
Trust Fund together.

A Little About Mapelle Films

Once all my children were settled in next to me, before turning the movie back on, I shared two things with them:

Trust Fund is a family movie, but it is meant for families with older children, so we might have to turn it off.

(2)  One interesting thing about the movie is who made it:  a homeschooler and his wife!  Isaac Alongi, the producer and cinematographer of the film was homeschooled through graduation began making videos when he was just 11(my oldest child's age).  Now he makes feature films, documentaries, and more.  Sandra Marin, his wife, is a writer, director, and producer.  She teamed up with her husband to make this movie.

All of my children - who are super creative and imaginative and who like to dabble with stopmotion animation and making film clips with our camera on occasion -  thought these facts were cool.

(If you'd like read more about Isaac Alongi's story, take a look at this article from Midwest Parent Educators.)

A Faith-Inspired Romantic Drama

Trust Fund Movie

Then, it was onto watching the film, which was engaging enough that none of my children fell asleep and tame enough that I did not have to turn it off, although I definitely think an older crowd of teens and above would have made a better crowd for
Trust Fund than my children did, since the film had a lot of romance (which is something my children are definitely not into) and a storyline that involved theft, shady dealings, running away to live with a boyfriend, entitled adults,and examples of a number of mature topics, such as family dysfunction, promiscuity, deception, and jealousy.

Of course, the storyline was not all vice.  For the film is actually inspired by the popular Bible parable of the Prodigal Son, and, thus, contained strong messages of love and forgiveness.  In it, a young woman named Reese discovers that her late mother has left her and her sister a 10 million dollar trust fund that her father - who owns a profitable publishing company - has not told them about.   Unhappy with her life, and wanting to fly off to Italy to write a book and meet up with a love interest, Reese hacks into her father's company accounts using her Type-A sister Aubrey's computer in order to transfer half of their inheritance to her own bank account.  Promptly after that, Reese packs off for Italy, where she immerses herself in writing and romance, rekindling a relationship with an Italian man who is not what he seems to be and who ends up taking Reese's inheritance and using it for illegal dealings.

From there, the film takes off with mild suspense, plenty of drama and romance, and, of course,  heightened needs for forgiveness between family.  By the film's end, Reese (the dreamer and prodigal daughter) returns to the United States and has to face her judgemental, jealous sister Aubrey (the hardworking doer who is chagrined by her sibling) and her patient, loving father Grayson (the epitome of almost unbelievable unconditional love).

You can get a flavor for it with this trailer:

The characters' lifestyle - with multi-million dollar bank accounts, private jets, international excursions, gala parties, and more - may not be something many folks (myself included!) can relate to, but the moral of the story is one we can all use learning (or reminding) about.  Further, many will recognize aspects of Reese's and Aubrey's personalities among people they know in real-life and all should appreciate some of the camera angles, beautiful scenery, etc. in the film.

The Children's Reviews

Since my children watched the film with me, I asked each to dictate a review to share, thinking it might help others with younger children decide if this movie - meant for ages 12+, but said to be okay for younger children with moms and dads present,  would be a good fit for their families.

My ten-year-old daughter said:

I watched this movie because my mom was watching it, and I asked her if I could, and she said, "Yes." 

It is about a girl who figures out that her mom, who had died, had saved money for her in her father's name.  So, she took the money and left to Italy.  She dated someone there and gave all the money to him.  He used it to smuggle diamonds.

She escaped Italy and went back home.  Her dad had a little party, and her older sister, who was mad at her did not come.  She understood the sister was mad.

So, what does this story remind you of?  It's from the Bible....  The prodigal son!  But, it's a daughter.

The movie was okay.  It was filmed nicely, but I did not like it that much.  Too much romance.  I think it would be good for teenagers and stuff like that. 

My seven-year-old son said:

I thought it was okay.  I liked the scenery and the train. 
Some people did bad things in it, like steal diamonds and steal 5,000 million katrillion dollars.

Some good things were that the girl came home and her dad forgave her.  It was like the story in the Bible with the two sons and the father.  One of the son's left and spent all his money.  Then, he came home and they had a party for him and the other son was upset because he had not had a party and the other guy had done wrong.

The movie teaches forgiveness and love.

My eleven-year-old on said:

It was okay, but I don't like the romance.  I watched it anyway,  because it was a movie that was on, and I like watching movies. 

I liked the way they filmed Italy from above, but I would not recommend this movie to kids.  I'd recommend it to teenagers, like 14-18 year olds, because they like that stuff. 

After Mom told me the movie was like the prodigal son, I thought, I am the dumbest person in the world.  It is so much like it! But it has romance...

As you can see, my children appreciated the beautiful scenery, lighting, and angles in the film, liked part sod the storyline, and gleaned the overall theme of forgiveness.  They were non-plused, though, by all the  romance, which, in truth, is in balance with family relationships.

A Clever Companion Book and A Free Study Guide

Love Was Near Book

In the film
Trust Fund, the main character Reese writes a book called "Love Was Near".  Thus, as a companion to the movie, Sandra Martin wrote  Love Was Near, which allows readers to dive deeper into the themes of the movie by giving them background on Reese's life and thoughts in a clever package that weaves excerpts of the fictional Reese's diary together with insights written by her and journaling pages for the reader to examine her own thoughts on topics that the narrator of the book - Reese - brings up.

Basically, the book encourages readers to use the film as a jumping off point for taking a deep look at themselves and how they think while also examining love from different angles (as a part of our human nature that seeks approval, acceptance, companionship, and, of course, forgiveness and also as something that is always near - given as a gift from our Father in Heaven.)

Within the book, readers are prompted to reflect upon how:

  • family relationships affect us
  • we should not let desires rule our lives
  • dishonesty affects us and those around us
  • we should be grateful for what we have
  • needs and wants are quite different
  • we must be discerning
  • we sometimes fail to see truth
  • not everyone is deserving of our trust
  • some people's opinions really do not matter
  • forgiveness is healing and healthy
  • we never have to earn God's love

As a 40-something year old woman, I found the book to be a quick read with interesting background on the film's storyline (like how Reese's mom had died), strong messages of love and faith, and thought-provoking prompts I could absolutely see my 12-16 year-old-self having quite liked this book, for I was a tween and teen that read loads of romance novels, dated, was immersed in pop culture, etc.

That said, I cannot see myself handing this book to my daughter at 12. For, at 10, my girl leans towards the innocent and selectively unworldly.  She considers boys peers and playmates, not potential romantic interests, and she knows history and politics, but not a whole lot of pop culture.  Thus, even in two years, I would guess much of the book would still not be a good fit for my daughter.  That said,  I can think of plenty of tween and teen girls who would like - and even benefit - from the book as it would provide a safe-space to reflect while pointing them to God-centered truths.Additionally, for those that seek something more concise, 
Mapelle Films offers a free downloadable study guide that families and small groups can use in conjunction with the film.   It is 12 pages long, has video clips that are accessible online, includes Scripture references, and gets right to the point of the movie. 

Who I'd Recommend This Film-Book Duo To

Trust Fund and Love Was Near are worthy of a look for families with tweens and teens that like romance and could use an "in" for thinking about or discussing unconditional love and forgiveness between humans as a reflection of God's merciful love for us.  I can also see some young women or moms getting together for a movie night or book club chat with Trust Fund and Love Was Near.
Faith-centered families may wish to know that the movie has no overt Christian content, but is clearly inspired by the Bible and
prompts thoughts on relationships (romantic, familial, and divine).  It is wholseome in overarching theme, and contains no profanity, sex, nor nudity, but it does contain some content that could be confusing or provide bad examples for younger children.

The book picks up where the movie leaves off in the way of reflection and faith connections.  In fact,
Love Was Near seaks directly of God and His word.

Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}

Ninety Review Crew families
reviewed the film and many reviewed the book as well, so if you'd like other takes on either, check out what they had to say.

Connect on Social Media

How might you exercise unconditional love?  Have you ever needed forgiveness?  Where can you turn to experience love and mercy?  Mapelle Films gets you thinking about all this.

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Enjoy S'more of the Liturgical Year with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

I nearly forgot that today, July 16, is the Memorial of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and, so, did not plan ahead for honoring Our Lady with my children.  Then, by the time I did, we were off to an event we'd previously planned, so now I am finally sitting down to put together some ideas while my children take a transition-to-home break.  I thought I would share them in case anyone else ever needs some semi-spontaneous feast day ideas for honoring Out Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Since I've been planning all week to surprise my children with gluten- and casein-free s'mores after dinner as a Sunday treat, I've decided to transform s'more fun into"snacking with the saints" tonight.

The Setting

Since Our Lady's colors are typically blue and white, I will cover our outside table with a blue tablecloth and add a white candle atop it.  On the candle, I will tape a printed version of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Saints by
Pietro Novelli.

Next to the candle, I will place our Our Lady of Mt. Carmel peg doll from the Marian Peg Doll Swap I participated in some time ago.

{Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}

In front of that, will be placed a brown scapular

If you want to know more about scapulars, the International Marian Research Institute offers a succinct explanation about scapulars in general as well as one about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Brown Scapular.  Free Brown Scapular offers a helpful Q & A, as well as scapulars for free and at reasonable prices.  You can also purchase scapulars at religious stores and on Amazon.
I will also put out whichever of these books that that I can uncover from our piles when I go to set up:

A Year with God (page 156 on St. Simon Stock and the Scapular)

The Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions (to read part of pages 93-94 on this feast day)
Catholic Traditions in the Home and Classroom (page 179-180 with the short, meaningful quote, "Keep Mary in mind, and Jesus will grow in your heart.")

A Saint-Inspired Snack


Using a brown scapular with gold cross as inspiration...

... my plan is to break gluten-free S'morable Graham Style Crackers and Theo Pure Dark Chocolate into rectangles.


Then, I'll fashion crosses out of cut and rolled Smash Mallow Cinnamon Churro pieces atop of them.


If I can find some brown yarn in our house, I will use that to connect pairs of rectangles in order to make edible brown scapulars.  If not, I may dribble maple syrup on the plate as the cords.

Nearby, of course, will be our marshmallows, to remind us of Mary's pure love for Jesus and how we might model after it and, also, reminding us of the sweet promise of Heaven, which will be ours if we stick with our Lord.

A simple snack - and summer s'mores - will remind us of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


There are many beautiful prayers related to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  I have chosen to use one found at The Catholic Company tonight:

Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel – Be our constant hope.
Mary, perfect disciple of the Lord – Make us also faithful to him.
Mary, Flower of Carmel – Fill us with your joy.
Virgin Mary, Beauty of Carmel – Smile upon your family
Sweet Mother of Carmel – Accept me as your child.
Holy, Mother beyond compare – Remember your children forever.
Holy Virgin, Star of the Sea – Be our beacon of Light.
Protecting Veil – Shelter us in the mantle of your love.
Mary, conceived without sin – pray for us who have recourse to you.

While the children make their s'mores and enjoy them, I will likely read selections from the aforementioned books and, possibly, this succinct description from Holy Spirit Interactive Kids.  We might also read or listen to Franciscan media's brief account about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and share what we know about the Carmelite saints it mentions.

If the children wish to color or paint, we might also print out some free coloring pages from St. John the Baptist Religious Education or ones
from My Catholic Source (here and here) for them to use.

I would love to hear about how you honor the Memorial of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Time Travel to the Civil War {A Home School in the Woods Review with FREE Discount Code}

If you're looking for history resources that can engage across a variety of ages and learning styles, take a peak at Home School in the Woods, whose Civil War Time Traveler American study has has recently been taking my children and I back to the Civil War era.

For visual folks, I am including a preview video about theTime Travelers studies below before I describe what we received and what we think about jumping into the Civil War with Home School in the Woods.

Like all
Time Traveler American studies, the Civil War one is recommended for children in grades 3-8 (but in our experience, suitable for even younger children to join in with!) and comes either as a CD or digital download.  My family received the digital download version which allowed us to easily download a zip file which we placed in a folder on our computer and, then, used by accessing a start.htm file which brought up as easy-to-navigate online menu with clickable icons. 

These brought us to other pages where we could access specific lessons:

From the folder on our computer, we could also access other automatically organize folders that allowed us to access pdf's offline.

From that, we could also easily access specific files.

Like many
Home School in the Woods studies, this one requires some initial prep - all at once when beginning the study, or little-by-little as you make your way through the study. 

Basically, you need a lot of ink and paper to print projects, as well as text and directions if you wish.  You also need to gather items for crafts and projects
, such as

At first, the preparations may seem off-putting, but, honestly, everything is laid out so well that it comes together relatively quickly and easily, and, since each necessary printable item comes as its own pdf you can pick and choose what you wish to print and what you wish to read onscreen.  (Admittedly, this has a drawback, too.  I do not like downloading loads of separate files to print and would love a second option on each lesson or set of lessons where what is currently offered as separate pdfs would be grouped into larger ones to expedite downloading and printing files all at once.)

To get you acquainted with the study, the first items in its menu include:

  • Acknowledgements / Copyrights and Usage / Bibliography 
  • Introduction 
  • Tips to Consider Before Starting
  •  Teacher Helps (which guides you in preparation and organization, gives you a Lesson Planner schedule to help you see an overview of the things being taught, offers a list of Additional Resources to pull from, and includes printables for 3-Ring Binder Covers and Teacher Keys for the timeline.

Then, come 25 lessons worth of Text Pages, Project Pages, and Masters, grouped in sets of five by lesson.  The Text Pages offer the "meat" of the learning, and are easy to read to self or, as we did, to read aloud. Project Pages give directions, lists of supplies needed, printing instructions, and illustrations for each project and activity. Masters include all necessary printables for projects.
There is also an Other Resources section at the end of the main menu which includes some visuals and directions to help you with the projects, activities, and lapbook. Included are:
  • a Gallery of Project Photos (final photos of what projects should look like at the end) 
  • All Master Pages in numerical order
  • Lap Book Instructions
Catch up days for projects are built into lessons 5, 10, 15, and 20, and the entire study concludes with the assembly a a lapbook on Day 24 and a Jamboree on Day 25 to celebrate the end of the study.

Completed as directed, the lessons will provide a complete, engaging and memorable study.  The study, however, can also become flexible for those that wish to pick and choose which parts and projects will work best for their families.  I know one of my children prefers the text,  Another likes cutting.  Another likes creating hands-on manipulatives like open-the-door maps.  And, I like that I can pace the study around whatever comes up in life, some days reading text and doing projects as directed, other days just working on projects or doing a copywork sheet for handwriting, and still other days just cuddling on the couch to read text as a quiet time or bedtime story.

Items you will often need for lessons include:
  • white printer paper
  • transparency film (or acetate)
  • colored printer paper
  • colored file folders
  • white card stock
  • lamination sheets (optional—for protection of game boards)
  • colored card stock
  • a 1- 1/2" or 2", 3-ring binder (per child, or family in our case)
  • glue sticks and liquid glue
  • a larger binder for the teacher
  • double-sided sticky tape
  • colored pencils
  • corrugated cardboard

Other items are sometimes called for, too, like tin cans, a nail, and a hammer.

Nothing, I found, is too hard to come by.

We've Been Enjoying Traveling Back to the Civil War with Time Travelers

Time Travelers American History Study: The Civil War

As I already explained, I appreciate the flexibility of the 
Civil War Time Traveler American study.  I also appreciate how well written it is.  I do not get bored at all when reading the included text to my children and I actually learn some things alongside them.

Further, I like the variety of projects included in the study as different ones appeal to each of my children and their learning styles.  Plus - praise God and the graphic designers at
Home School in the Woods - some of the projects even surprised me by getting my reluctant writer and my child with dyslexia excited about writing.  That's right , while focusing on history, I found I had to quell an near argument about who got to write the first article for the newspaper project.  My children vying to write?  That's a big win!

Another win for me is how easy it was to tie this resource into prior learning and recent activities.  Just before we began the study, my youngest two children and I went to an annual Civil War encampment and drill.  This had my children's appetites whetted for more Civil War learning, which the
Civil War Time Traveler study readily provided.

The ideal timing of the study was not lost on my children.  They even mentioned it when giving their thoughts for this review.

My just-turned seven year old said:
"We went to a Civil War reenactment recently, and I wanted to learn more about the war. 

I have been learning more, like the Confederates won a battle that no one actually died in at Fort Sumter.

I like cutting things out while Mommy reads to me.  I want to finish the whole thing."

My recently 10-year-old said:

"I really like this review.  We had been to a Civil War reenactment recently, so this was a good reinforcement and perfectly timed.

These are some things I have learned, liked, and done so far:

We've been doing the timeline when my mom is reading to us, and it was really fun to do that, because we got to color and cut while she was reading to us about what we were coloring and we got to figure out what everything was as she did.

I really liked the pull out map with the flip doors.  It's fun to hold, open things, and review.  I kind of like just doing that.

I like the newspaper, too.  I like how it shows you the form of what it would be like, but then you can write what the newspaper says in it.  I don't usually like writing, because it is boring and I am not good at it, but I wanted to do more of the newspaper.  There's even a picture of 12 runaway slaves in the newspaper.

A little fact I re-learned is that they called Harriet Tubman "Moses", because she was freeing her people.

I want to continue doing this study.  It makes it so you can actually imagine you are in the time period with all the things."

My oldest, at 11, said:
"I have listened to CD's, been to reenactment things, and read books about the Civil War before, and this study is good, because it is both teaching me and reminding me of things I have already learned.

I liked the story part, because I am more into stories than hands-on stuff.  My mom reads the story to us from the computer, and I like how it tells stuff that I didn't know before, like that Stonewall Jackson owned a valley before and the only time that anyone died at Fort Sumter was not actually during the battle.  I wish my mom would just print the story out so I could read it myself without waiting.

I also like the newspaper.  It is easy to do. 

I would recommend this to other people, because it has both hands-on and reading things.  Some of us like some things, and some of us like other things."

We have all agreed that we will continue to use this study since we are not yet done with it as we've been working at a slower, but steady summer pace.

After hearing my oldest's comments, I am going to show him how to navigate the menu to access all the texts in the study, so he can read ahead as desired without waiting for me to read to his siblings when they are enjoying hands-on projects.  For, as my son said, he quite enjoys the way the text portions narrates history, and I want him to keep enjoying it at his own pace.  Likewise, sine my younger two are enjoying cutting, coloring, pasting, and creating, I will leave those portions of the study to them.  Games, however, will be for everyone when we get to them - as will any portion of the study that all my children say, "me, me" to.  The beauty of this Time Travelers study is the depth of learning it encourages along with breadth of included projects which make the learning more accessible and memorable for children of multiple ages and learning styles. Without question, this resource is one we'd recommend to others who like history, flexibility, and hands-on learning options that require prep, but also ensure pay off.

Get a FREE Project to Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Erie Canal

Home School in the Woods now offers handy A-La-Carte projects, which are super if you'd like just one or two things (not an entire unit) to go with something that you are already studying. Currently, there are 50 A-La-Carte projects available and more will be coming.

You can get a taste of these projects for a limited time by ordering the Erie Canal one FREE using the code alacarte at checkout. 

Learn More

Home School in the Woods also offers a wide variety of supplementary and stand-alone studies.  For a peak into he superb hands-on lapbooking and project-based learning that these studies provide, take a peak at the opinions and photos of 100 Review Crew families.

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Each family reviewed a study from one of the following series:

Time Travelers American History Study: New World Explorers
Time Traveler American studies, like the Civil War one we are doing, each include include a brief introduction, informative text, engaging project pages, a helpful lesson plan schedule, and more.

Other titles in the series are:
  • New World Explorers
  • Colonial Life
  • The American Revolution
  • The Early 19th Century
  • Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
  • World War II

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State

Activity-Paks provide a meaningful, hands-on supplement to your curriculum that can give your children a better understanding of specific areas, such as:
  • Make-a-State
  • The Old Testament
  • The New Testament
  • Composers and Artists

Each pack includes Lap Book pages, projects and extra activities.

Hands-on History K-2 Lap-Pak: Knights

Lap-Paks can be used as stand alone studies or as supplements to other studies and cover topics such as:
  • U.S. Elections
  • 20th Century in America
  • Wonders of the World
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Knights

HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections  is one of these that we reviewed previously.

Timeline Trio is for all those who want to easily create beautiful timelines to make history come alive while seeing the big picture.  The bundle  includes:
  • collection of history figures
  • a “Record of Time” timeline notebook
  • a placement guide.

You can find Home School in the Woods on:

Home School in the Woods 
Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pray, Play, and Learn with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Last week, we enjoyed our Saint Elizabeth of Portugal S.K.I.L.L. T.I.M.E. + and snacks, so this week, I am planning to focus on another saint:  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be declared a saint.

Saint Kateri's feast day is July 14th and her story is told simply by Franciscan Media with a brief reflection following (in case you don't already know it.) 

I am still not certain how my children and I will honor St. Kateri's feast day this year, but I have spent time thinking and researching in order to collate a host of ideas that will have us praying, playing, and learning this feast day and, likely, for several years coming.  I thought I'd share my brainstorm in case you are looking for prayers, activities, or resources for the feast day.

Praying with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri was known to love prayer and the Rosary, and it is said that she placed pebbles on the ground to count her prayers for the Rosary.  Thus, will may collect pebbles and use them for the same purposes.  Or, perhaps we will get bigger rocks and leave a reminder to pray somewhere for others to happen upon as my son spontaneously did on a beach a couple years ago.

Also, since an article at FSSPX says that St. Kateri's last words were, "Jesus, I love you,"  I may use these words for copywork or dictation and, also, lead my children in using the simple, but heartfelt words as an aspiration all day!

This brief prayer related to St. Kateri and found at Holy Spirit Interactive will likely be introduced by me to my children, too:

Let us pray today for those who experience difficulty at the hands of others in their desire to live their Christian vocation more fully.
during a quiet moment - or when we need to make a quiet moment! - I may pull up a brief Saint Kateri retreat offered free online from Loyola Press to read to the children, reflecting and praying with them.
{Disclosure:  Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}


Alternately, or in addition, I might lead us in a more in-depth meditation using the Saint Kateri portion of Little Lessons from the Saints.
For longer prayer and reflection, after reading the Lily and the Cross at Catholic Culture, we may make our way to Adoration for some quiet time with Jesus.

We may also pray this prayer, found on Catholic Culture, at some point during the day:

O God, who desired the Virgin St. Kateri Tekakwitha to flower among Native Americans in a life of innocence, grant, through her intercession, that when all are gathered into your Church from every nation, tribe and tongue, they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Or, we could pray this prayer found on the National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha  Shrine website:

God of all creation, goodness and love, our hearts are filled with gratitude and praise for you. In our beloved St. Kateri you have found gentleness and peace. In her you have heard once more “Jesus, I love you”. In St. Kateri Tekakwitha you have given your Church a new maiden of the Gospel for your Son.

As the indigenous peoples of North America celebrate her goodness and as all the Church honors her holiness we raise our voices in praise and joy. You have given us a gift beyond all measure and we ask you to help us celebrate this treasure as we live holy and peace-filled lives in your name.

Please continue to grant our request and the needs of our brothers and sisters through St. Kateri’s intercession in her heavenly home. -Amen.

The Litany of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
and Novena to St. Kateri Tekakwitha are other options.

Playing with St. Kateri Tekakwitha

As is described in an article from NWHM, when St. Kateri was four:

...smallpox spread through her village and took the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother.   She survived, but was left weaker, scarred, and partially blind.  Thus, she was named Tekakwitha, which means “The One Who Walks Groping for Her Way.” 

To help us empathize with the condition of bring partially blind or blind, we might do blindfolded walks or poor water into cups blindfolded.  We might also play Blindman's Bluff or Marco Polo for fun.

Plus, I read at FSSPX that "in
her daily life, Kateri learned how to sew and embroider and became an expert at sewing beads, belts, moccasins and leggings. She was a good, obedient and happy girl."  Thus, we might break out our sewing and embroidering materials or play Mother May I.

Likewise, as Catholic.org says, "
Despite [St. Kateri's] poor vision, she also became very skilled at beadwork," we may break out our beads for some crafting.


Keeping with the crafting idea, it is said in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms that St. Kateri used to fashion wooden crosses with sticks and place them in her path as "stations" for prayer, so, perhaps, we will get creative fashioning our own crosses, or, better yet, check out some YouTube videos on lashing and learn how to lash sticks together to make crosses.Related,
we might also use our camping multi-tool to carve crosses into found wood pieces or wood scraps that we already have, recalling how, when the winter hunt took Saint Kateri far from her village and prevented her from visiting the mission church, she carved a cross into the rough park of a tree and would kneel before it in the snow, head bowed, praying in her own little secluded woodland oratory.
Ahike or canoe jaunt may also be in order to honor St. Kateri, since a USCCB.org Fortnight of Freedom pdf explains that St. Kateri escaped the hostile environment she lived in and
"traveled the 200 miles by foot and canoe to Canada".  Certainly, we cannot travel 200 miles, too, but we can definitely make a shorter trek, thinking about St. Kateri.

Then, keeping with the outdoors theme, if I am feeling adventurous and find the feast day offers us a lot of downtime to experiment, I might get a fish so the children and I can try making a fire roasted fish (traditional of native cultures), sagamite (a traditional corn soup), some Mohawk Cornbread (with thanks to the recipe at Catholic Culture), a corn, beans, and squash recipe (sicne these foods were traditional to St. Kateri's people), something with wild edibles (since St. Kateri, I have read, would have foraged for wild roots), lily-themed foods (since Kateri is associated with lilies).

Art could include making portraits of St. Kateri after viewing some online and reading about the oldest portrait of her.

It might also include designing and painting pegs after re-reading the St. Kateri page in the
Encyclopedia of Peg Saints or coloring or painting on these FREE printables: Catholic Playground's free Saint Kateri coloring page and Drawn 2B Creative's one.

Finally, aling the lines of Mohawk learning and play, we might also break out our old corn husk dolls or make new ones.
Learning about St. Kateri Tekakwitha

We will likely re-listen to our Holy Heroes Glory Story about St. Kateri (which is paired with a story about St. Cecilia and selling for half-price through the Friday of this week!)

Plus, since my children have always been fascinated by the interview with Jake Finkbonner on the Glory Stories CD, we might also view the following ABC News clip I found online, so my children can see the young man whose miraculous healing led to Saint Kateri's canonization.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Then, we will expand our understanding of St. Kateri's story by reading and chatting about St.. Kateri using personal and library books in our book basket, to include:

a book that has some dated language, but is thorough and engaging

a new-to-us family read together (or perhaps assigned reading for my oldest if he's done with his current saint book)

Jackie's Special Halloween, which may be out of season, but is cute and includes St. Kateri

 Loyola Kids Book of Saints, which has wonderful child-friendly bios of the saints

Perhaps we will also read the Reader's Theater playlet about St. Kateri Tekakwitha FREE from Loyola Press.

Then, if we want to hop bunny trails, I may poke around with the children on the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs website, to take a virtual tour and read in depth about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

In Her Footsteps, which is a documentary that I noticed in our interlibrary loan system, may round out our prayer, play and learning.  (I cannot recommend or caution against it yet because I have yet to see it.  We are waiting for it to come in at the library.)

As always, I hope these ideas are helpful to you and would welcome hearing about how you honor this feast day.  Resources, recipes, prayers, traditions - all are welcome!

St. Kateri Tekawitha, pray for us!


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