in the Supermarket"
Resource Page for Teachers
by Lynn and Bob Gillen
Please see our links disclaimer located at the end
of this document.
Curriculum Connections -
This classroom resource guide will support curriculum in:
- ReligionChristian life-styles; liturgy; sacraments as signs
- Englishcontemporary poetry
Glossary of Basic Terms
Your students may find it helpful first to create a glossary of names
and terms relating to this month's article. Definitions can be researched
from the article itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout
the resource guide.
Litany of the saints
All Saints Day
Idea One Are There Saints Among Us?
A. Where are todays "living saints"?
This months article celebrates saints who walk our earth, saints
who often encounter many of us as we go about our ordinary, day-to-day
business. The author describes these "saints" as people who
do their jobs with concern, good will and dedication. These "saints"
are those who populate the service jobs we often take for granted: the
supermarket clerks, fast-food workers, medical aides, bus drivers and
Your students may want to discuss who in their own lives, or in the world
around them, exemplify this living sainthood. Who are the people, the
positions, who service teens in their day-to-day lives?
For help in finding examples of living saints, your students can try
these Web sites:
This is the Web site for Channel One, which comes to many high school
classrooms by satellite transmission. Channel One offers message boards
where teens can talk among themselves; your students can ask other teens
who their heroes and saints are.
Also on this site, in Channel Ones archive of news stories, youll
find an historic example of a family who lived out their beliefs. The
Mendez family, from Westminster, California, helped integrate Los Angeles
schools for Hispanics in the 1940s. Their 1945 lawsuit fought educational
segregation of Latinos, and led the way for the Supreme Courts landmark
1954 Brown vs. Board of Education, which in turn opened up for African
Americans Southern schools which were previously segregated.
In the same vein, youll find on this PBS site Chicano!: the
History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. PBS broadcast
this series several years ago. The site includes brief biographies of
the ordinary people involved in achieving civil rights for Mexican Americans,
as well as teacher resources supporting the series.
This is the site for the newspaper The Kansas City Star. Look
at "Teen Star" in their home page menu for articles about and
interviews of ordinary teens who share their thoughts and beliefs. Your
students can find similar features in their own local papers.
This is the site for the magazine World Around You, aimed at deaf
teens and adults. Your students may profit from reading "Deaf Teens,
Heroes and Adventures." Individuals living lives of challenge are
often ordinary people who work hard at living by convictions and beliefs.
How Can I Become a Living Saint?
After your students research and discuss where saint-like people may
intersect and influence their lives, they may then find it profitable
to discuss how they themselves can be a "saint" to others. How
can they themselves be saints in the supermarket, in the ordinary events
and circumstances of their lives?
To begin, ask your students to develop a list of 10 desirable qualities
they have seen in the lives both of canonized saints and living saints.
Starting with an open brainstorming session, they should easily identify
a number of saint-like qualities. With further discussion they can narrow
the list to 10, focusing on the qualities that would enhance an "ordinary"
Christian life (as opposed to the extraordinary circumstances such as
martyrdom in the face of extreme adversity or persecution).
When they have shared their lists with one another and have a good understanding
of what qualities a saint embodies, they can move to reflecting more personally
on their own lives. In discussion, direct them first to identify the different
jobs they hold, the situations they find themselves in at school, the
interactions they have at home with parents, stepparents, siblings, even
grandparents. Are these circumstances similar to some of the service and
interpersonal situations described in this months article?
This discussion can begin on a lighthearted note, perhaps talking about
the humorous situations where teens have "lost their cool" or
embarrassed themselves with inappropriate (un-saint-like) behavior. You
can then direct them to move to a more reflective, even prayerful, discussion
by celebrating/praising the good qualities they already possess and demonstrate
in their lives.
The celebration of the good qualities in our teens is important. As adults,
we work hard to demonstrate Christian behaviors and attitudes that we
wish our young people to emulate. We want very much to pass on this faith
we so much believe in. But all too often, we overlook praising and thanking
our youth when they do emulate our faith behaviors. Adult recognition
of teens "saintly" behaviors will reinforce these behaviors
and encourage further growth.
Lastly, move the conversation to a discussion of growth by encouraging
the teens to talk about how some of the 10 qualities may still be lacking
or underdeveloped in their lives. Bring the talk around to identifying
specific obstacles to growth, obstacles that are within their control.
They may profit from picking one quality they wish to develop, identifying
one obstacle to growth, and putting together an action plan to follow
through on practical applications. Periodic review sessions may also help
the teens in maintaining commitment to their growth.
B. Liturgical Applications
November is the month in which we celebrate all the saints who have gone
ahead of us. Your students might connect the idea of sainthood with the
Eucharistic Prayer of the liturgy, where the congregation calls on the
intercession of Church saints. If you have opportunity to celebrate liturgy
with your class, you can ask the celebrant to include the names of saints
special to them. Perhaps you can even include names of other Christians
whose lives exemplify a living sainthood.
Your students may enjoy writing a Prayer of the Faithful (petitions),
focusing on those who serve them and the world in quiet, unsung ways.
If there is no opportunity to use the petitions in a liturgical celebration,
perhaps a classroom prayer service would be appropriate.
You can also make a connection to the sacraments. A sacrament is, first
of all, a sign of Gods presence in our world. The seven sacraments
are the most familiar of these signs. But there are others. Those who
lead lives of service are certainly signs of Gods presence. Referring
to Section A above, direct your students in discussions, which will connect
their own instances of saint-like behavior with sacramental signs of Gods
life among us.
C. Formal Sainthood
In this same Web site (http://www.AmericanCatholic.org),
see the October 1998 online teacher guide for reference material on the
process for achieving sainthood within the Church. And see also the October
1998 reference to ABC News Web site (http://abcnews.go.com/)
for a good outline of the process. Also, the October 1998 issue of Catholic
Update ( "Saints: Holy and Human" ) provides further
Idea Two - The Poetry of Living
Commitment, acceptance, decision, often characterize people who live
lives of service, especially in ordinary tasks. They live fully a chosen
life role. Poetry often captures both ordinary and significant life moments.
One good source your students may enjoy reading is Bill Moyers The
Language of Life, a collection of interviews with poets who attended
the biennial Waterloo, New Jersey, Dodge Poetry Festival.
See Naomi Shihab Nyes interview with Moyers for thoughts your students
may relate to. Nye believes that teens are very aware of the fragility
of life and the precariousness of relationships. In the poem, "The
Art of Disappearing," Nye describes feeling like a leaf that could
snap off at any moment. Decide what to do with your time, she says, because
life is fragile. Live as you need to live while you have the opportunity.
Nye heralds "the dignity of self-affirmation" in her poem "The
Man Who Makes Brooms." She believes the most splendid moments are
often the tiniest ones. And see her poem, "Famous," a light
treatment of what is really famous in our ordinary lives and circumstances.
Both are also in Moyerss book.
Again in Moyerss book, see Linda McCarristons interview,
where she talks about the capacity for joy in daily life. McCarriston
grew up dealing with domestic violence, and writes poetry which attempts
to bring this difficult topic out into the air, where others can learn
to talk about it. She describes her role as that of a housewife speaking
not with the authority of a judge, psychiatrist or priest, but with the
simple words of a poet.
Further Online Resources
Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference. Be
aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles
contained within the sites archives.
- The New York Times
- Los Angeles Times
http://www.time.com/ - Time
http://www.cnn.com/ - CNN
http://www.msnbc.com/ - MSNBC
- This site will take you to a number of online publications.
http://wire.ap.org/ - The Associated
- The Chicago Tribune
The Washington Post
http://www.herald.com/ - The
http://www.closeup.org/ - The
Close Up Foundation
http://abcnews.go.com// - The
web site of ABC News
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