Catholic kids and the REAL St. Valentine

Image of St. Valentine

Necessity is truly the mother of invention!

Here is my story!

In an attempt to spice things up a bit in our family homeschooling I was planning on doing all things St. Valentine! So off to the library I went. Only to find that practically EVERYTHING I found was about the cute (sometimes creepy looking) cupids with love arrows, hearts, flowers, chocolate BUT nothing about the real saint!

Just to paint the picture , here is a small sampling of titles you will find if you do a library or book search: Hugs and kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug by famed author Eric Carle, Groggle Monster’s Valentine (yes, that is a real book recommended on a popular teacher website), Valentine’s Day Jokes for Kids, The Secret Life of Squirrels – a Love Story, Little Ant’s Valentine, do I need to go on???

Needless to say I was dismayed and horrified at the same time!!

Who is the saint that causes us to be wild about hearts ♥, the color red and send friends and family messages of love every February 14?

The secular world is CLUELESS.

So I made it my mission to learn the real story behind this Catholic feast day!

Step 1:

I began our little evangelization journey/project towards reclaiming the REAL St. Valentine from the jaws of the secular world by first learning several prayers attributed to the saint, to ask him to intercede for our family and friends.

Step 2:

Next I went back to the library and scoured the shelves and on-line catalog, I took out a bunch of books that looked promising and eventually found a few good books to use for our nightly read aloud time. There are not many I would recommend but these definitely passed the mustard! Each one added different facts and historic details.

  • The Story of Valentine’s Day by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda
  • Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert
  • Hearts, Cupids and Red Roses by Edna Barth

Step 3:

The next thing you knew I was immersing myself in the transition from the pagan rituals and the symbolism of the symbols and colors surrounding this feast day! Naturally that then brought me to the history of the feast day and story of how a Pope helped to Christianize this day, his name is Pope Gelasius. So cool right?

In true form it was the Catholic Church elevating a pagan feast day and its symbols by celebrating the feast day of an early martyr of the Church, St. Valentine. 

Thus became our family tradition, to make cards that included sacred and beautiful images of the real St. Valentine, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary! We use Scripture verses that speak of REAL love.

Step 4:

I designed it to counts as school work, by adding notebooking sheets for our narrations, mini-book templates of various shapes and designs to have the kids write about all they learned from the history I had written for them on several reference sheets. We also added the mini-books to lapbooks too!

Handwriting practice lessons for the week included Scripture verses I had collected with God’s unending love for His children! Coloring sheets of St. Valentine, were super handy for my little ones during nightly rosary or quiet time.

And I also had holy cards designed so we could print/color and share. This collection has something for everyone in the family!

My talented daughters helped me put all of this together in a 50 page printable packet ! It is well loved by family and friends who use it year after year, as their family tradition and more importantly as an evangelization tool to tell the REAL story of St. Valentine.

For that we are grateful!

Leave a comment on your family’s journey towards evangelizing the culture by reclaiming the saints!!

You too can invite a family you know from your homeschool community or from your parish and make beautiful St. Valentine Cards or postcards to exchange or bring to neighbors! Immerse yourselves in all thing St. Valentine!

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

We’d like to offer you this St. Andrew Christmas Novena holy card, at no charge, as a token of our appreciation for you to help get ready for our Lord’s birth as we enter the season of St. Andrew novenaAdvent! This two-sided holy card features classical artwork on the front side and the Christmas Anticipation Prayer on the reverse.  Just save,  print and pray!

… And have a blessed Advent this year!

Christmas Anticipation Prayer, also known as the St. Andrew Christmas prayer starts November 30, the feast of St. Andrew and continues through Christmas Eve, December 24th!

This meditative prayer is traditionally said 15 times each day to help us reflect on the TRUE meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

 Click on the picture….to get your free download!


Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings
This Thanksgiving Day share with family and friends the original proclamation from President George Washington that, in 1789, proclaimed this holiday a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to God:
Thanksgiving Proclamation
George Washington
President of the United States of America
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and
Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness”:
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we many then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have enabled do establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for the great and various favors which He has been please to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York,
the 3d day of October, AD 1789
George Washington

Transformed by “The Hidden Power of Kindness”

Have courage and be kindLast Mother’s Day I received a lovely necklace from my children that had a hand stamped medal with the inscription “have courage and be kind,” the words and theme from the recent Cinderella movie.  The kids know how much kindness means in this world and in our families.  They know how I hold it to be preeminent in all their words and actions. Long ago I was introduced to the prolific writer, Fr. Lawrence Lovask. The same priest who wrote the dear little children’s booklets, St. Joseph Picture Books, that we all know and love, wrote with clarity and a mind to the practical for adults too!

kindness-1Transform yourself — and the world — through kindness! Kindness counts. If you have trouble acting with the consistent kindness our Lord expects, your relationships with God and those you love may be suffering. Probably you just can’t find the time — and can’t ever seem to develop the patience — that you need in order to be consistently kind amid the irritations that afflict you daily. That’s why this book is such a godsend. You’ll learn how to be kinder, even in difficult circumstances.

kindness-boys-on-path

There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindness that creeps — undetected — into the behavior of even the most careful souls. You will grow towards holiness with these beautiful and practical step-by-step instructions for overcoming all forms of unkindness and meanness.

You’ll learn:

Four ways you can become more considerate . . . immediately!

Sympathy: why it’s your spiritual responsibility to show it to others — and five ways you can start doing so.

Three things to do — and three things you must not do — in order to grow kinder quickly.

Four surprising reasons why it’s spiritually dangerous to criticize others.

Three sure-fire remedies to eliminate sinful anger from your life.

Seven ways you can turn to your own spiritual benefit the wrongs that others do to you.

Six ways you can find and root out the hidden envy that may be choking your spirit right now.

And much more to help you grow kinder — and holier!

Also includes a 67-question self-examination you can use to monitor your progress in growing kinder and holier! (.epub, 256 pages, high school+)


“This work cannot fail to influence for the good all who are indirectly or directly touched by it.” – Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln “This wonderful book increases our insights into the wonders of the message that speaks so powerfully to us: ‘Love is patient, love is kind . . .’ ” – Sr. Mary Rose McGeady, Covenant House

Speaks passionately about the nature of true kindness.” – Publishers Weekly

Fr. Lovasik’s book on kindness clearly shows that kindness is love put into practice, and traces how kindness must begin in our thoughts, be communicated in our words, and reach its fullest expression in our daily actions. This book is made to order for anyone seriously wanting to respond to the present movement of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth for Christ!” – Rev. Andrew Apostoli

Celebrate Shakespeare’s 400

Begin by checking out any local functions. In our area the local Shakespeare company is hosting a special one hour event whereby over 50+ people are going to recite famous lines, one by one, from ALL of his plays and do so in just one hour…noon today!  
 
If there is nothing local…you can take your family to England virtually and visit his family homes, farm and gardens. Just watch the video below for a sneak peek into his daily life!

You can also register for a FREE virtual tour for the 400 celebration  which will be broadcast today at 9:30am BUT don’t worry if you miss it, all registered viewers will be notified by email for the archived video…we just registered our family homeschool:
You can watch In Search of Shakespeare by Michael Wood on YouTube over several nights. It is a fairly balanced program that our family has seen several times and really enjoyed.  The author goes to great pains to show how he uses primary sources for his quest and ultimately presents a strong case of a Catholic man living and writing in a persecuted and dangerous time for Catholics.

Totally immerse your family in the rich language of his plays with these amazing editions that contain fabulous essays that restore a traditionalist viewpoint …celebrate Catholic Style with a few of the Bard’s most notable plays available for download, no shipping from the Ignatius Critical Editions library at Emmanuel Books.

 




Thank you Giveaway

The Ultimate Catholic Homeschool Giveaway

Homeschool Connections

Our good friends at Homeschool Connections are hosting a giveaway. Not just any giveaway but the ULTIMATE Catholic Giveaway!  They love giveaways and so do we!  We are thrilled to be included and hope you will take some time too to look at their offerings this upcoming semester!

They have put together several great prizes for 5 winners (1 prize per winner) including a $50 gift certificate from us…YEAH!!
Here are the prizes you can win:

Free iPad Mini 

Free Kindle Fire HD

Free $50 Gift Certificate Emmanuel Books

Free $50 Gift Certificate Behold Publications

Free $50 Gift Certificate American Chesterton Society

Just click on the picture below to get to the giveaway entrance form! 

Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Get extra entries by entering daily.

Contest ends Monday, January 4, 2016 at midnight.

Please use our SHARE buttons to share this special offer from Homeschool Connections!

Questions for the Thinker Study Guides

By Fran Rutherford

Truly this is an answer to a prayer. Ordinarily I eschew study guides for they tend to limit discussion and understanding by providing ready answers! However, Questions for Thinkers Study Guides are very DIFFERENT simply because of the wonderful idea of listing questions for the student to answer as they read through key classical texts.

Questions for Thinkers Study Guides questions too are different in that they are thought provoking and lead the student to a deeper understanding of these difficult readings. The readings are ones they will encounter for the first time in high school, if they use a classical curriculum and then later explore at an even deeper level at college. Use of each guide  ultimately provides the student with their very own wonderful resource to take with them to college. The written answers also provide the necessary material needed to develop essays and papers on each of the books as well as guiding a student in the process of HOW to ask questions as they read, an important aspect of true understanding!

Vocabulary development, research topics and frequent “Questions for Further Thought” are some of the hallmarks of Fran Rutherford’s Questions for Thinkers Study Guides, and are included throughout. Each study guides contain every question found within the Student Book along with a complete answer key for mom. We encourage you to try at least one of these wonderful individual title study guides. This is a great way to see how remarkable Mrs. Rutherford’s guides are and how invaluable they will be to your student in helping them read for deeper understanding. (High School, .epub)

The available titles are as follows:††Confessions††Early History of Rome††The Aeneid††Anabasis††The Iliad††The Odyssey††The Histories††The Inferno††Purgatorio

Click here to obtain copies: Questions for Thinkers Study Guides

Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit

by Maryanne Patterson

This Grandparent Activity Kit is an additional kit from the author of Family of God that is a great way to sample her amazing history program as well as creating a treasure of family history.  In her words, “Living relatives are a treasure trove of information and memories. Their recollections are important, not just in the gathering of data, but in getting to know more about them and the lives they have lived. Grandparents and other older living relatives almost always want to share this information so that it can be passed down and enjoyed for many years.”

Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit  will help you keep those memories alive with your children. The purpose of this kit is to have the children send questionnaires to their grandparents (or extended older family members) and get them back in the relatives own hand.  Not only does this provide a tangible keepsake, Granny’s own handwriting, but it is so personal and to top it off they learn the art of writing letters, addressing envelopes and enclosing cover letters too!

Each kit contains interview questions that each child can choose from to ask their grandparents,  several blank templates that can be easily printed and used such as lined paper, cover letter template and clear directions for the entire activity. In addition, there samples from the authors own kids. Great add on for Family of God, which can then be added to a family history scrapbook or as part of your primary history education. (All ages, 12 pages, PDF)

Click here to obtain a copy: Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit

The Ireland of Our Ancestors: A Collection of Discovery Activities

by Maryanne Patterson

What better way to begin the study of history or enhance your current history program than to study our ancestors. The Ireland of Our Ancestors packet contains a wealth of information and activities that could be used with a variety of ages too! Within the download are various sections and all the necessary craft materials and instruction sheets together, with each in its own envelope, so everything is literally right there and ready to go. For each section, there is a summary of the main points you may want to cover with your children, with several online references for further study. (All ages, 43 pages, PDF

Download contains the following sections:
• Alphabet and Language• Apparitions of Mary (with stories)• Agriculture & Economy• Blessings, Prayers and Proverbs• Calligraphy and Penmanship Practice• Currency• Flags of Ireland; • History• Maps• Music• Patron Saint and Other Saints• National Landmarks and Other Attractions• Recipes• Crafts (Celtic Cross Christmas Ornaments, St. Bridget’s Cross, Claddagh Friendship Note Cards, and an Emerald Isle Plastic Canvas Needle Craft).

Click here to obtain a copy: The Ireland of Our Ancestors