Two Saints Who Help Our Children Embrace the Passion of Catholicism: St. Catherine and St. Therese
G.K. Chesterton once said, “Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions.” And I have to admit, in raising kids, one question perpetually on my mind is this: How do we raise them to understand, embrace, and act upon their passion for their faith? How do we raise them with conviction?
Learning about St. Catherine (1347-1380) will teach our children many things. It will teach them conviction, because she wrote to public and political leaders about the underbelly of sin and crime in her Italian city. She took action, did a lot of writing during her lifetime, and this effort at being an ambassador of the faith definitely reaped great rewards! She brought the papacy back to Rome, many believe, through her scorching correspondence with Pope Gregory XI. Second, in learning about St. Catherine our children can learn compassion, because time and time again, she took mercy on the sick. She nursed back to health several people with such repulsive illnesses, no one else would come to their aid! Finally, learning about St. Catherine will teach our children passion. She was constantly using her gifts for evangelism to be a living apologetic to the young leaders and noblemen in her city.
Learning about St. Therese of Liseux (1873-1897) will teach our children many things, as well. First, this saint can help our kids to really seek Jesus, as we can see from her family life that they had a deep friendship and living faith in their Lord. Her own parents are the second from a family to be canonized as a couple! This will show them how to seek first his Kingdom, just as St. Therese did when she accepted the call at a very young age- 15 years old!- to enter the convent! Second, it will help our kids on the journey to deny apathy, and to embrace forgiveness and faith in their daily life! The relationships we saw flourishing at the monastery in Carmel, with her fellow nuns, teach us about this life of friendship and living faith. Thirdly, by engaging in daily devotion, our children can learn from the Little Flower about living her “little way”~ to do the will of Jesus and God! In this they will embrace the daily mortification, accepting aspersion without regret!
My intention for this year is to meditate upon some of these virtues with my children: faith, conviction, passion, devotion, forgiveness. I hope to teach them to pray special rosaries with intentions of the adherence to these virtues. I hope the novena of the Little Flower will be of some help in their journey of faith.
It is profound that these two women, who sought to be last in the Kingdom of Heaven, are both canonized saints, and Doctors of the Church!!!
May God bless you as you journey with your children toward the love of faith in Jesus Christ!