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October 14, 2009
A Few Heroes
Faith Formation Update continues to offer free monthly encouragement and direction for catechetical ministry within the classroom and beyond. I’m Jeanne Hunt. In each issue I offer a brief starter and my “ Every Family” column. My co-worker and fellow religious educator Joan McKamey offers media resources and ideas in her “ Seen and Heard” column. Our co-worker Angela Glassmeyer suggests other faith formation resources for adults in her column, “Sowing Sampler.”

These fall days bring the liturgical focus on saints for our considerations. For young people, the heroes of faith are touchstones with a better way to live. In this issue we offer a few of these heroes for the classroom.
—Jeanne Hunt
My Hero!
The feast of All Saints is a teaching moment for the catechist. Catholics have a wealth of wonderful saints to fill our souls with inspiration. “To inspire and connect” is the mission of St Anthony Messenger Press. Nothing does that better than a real-life person who shows us the way to holiness.
This is a great opportunity to invite some of the communion of saints to teach for us: tell the story of St Thérèse of Liseux and teach her “little way,” create a birdfeeder and share St. Francis’ “Canticle of Creation,” or make halo crowns for the first graders and march them to “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
We need to help children realize that sanctity is possible. It isn’t just a goal for those holy old ones; rather, every baptized member of God’s family is called to sainthood. Who knows: Someday there might be a “St. Marissa of Buffalo” or “St Liam of Chicago”! 
Online Catalog
And let's not forget Halloween
As Halloween (“All Saints Eve”) rounds the corner and ghost stories abound, I offer another kind of tale that might be just the remedy for a frightful night. My own childhood was filled with still-treasured stories of the saints. Effective faith formation includes these stories.
I offer two great resources for saint stories. The first are two hands-on books for children, Francis of Assisi, by Justin Lang, and Francis of Assisi, Activities and Coloring Fun for Children.
If you would like to treat yourself to a great teaching resource, Saint of the Day, edited by Leonard Foley O.F.M. and newly revised by Patrick McCloskey, O.F.M. fits the bill. More than 200 entries offer a short biography of the saint, a comment linking the example relevant to daily life and a quotation for reflection.
These daily entries serve both teacher and student. Saints’ feast days can be included in your curriculum using this resource. Saint of the Day also is a wonderful support to teaching what devotion to a patron saint means to a young person. After all, the heroes and heroines of the Church are meant to be talked about. A good story can inspire!
Online Catalog
DVD About Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa’s is one of the most recognized faces worldwide. Yet she didn’t aspire to fame. Her concern was “dedicating her life totally to God and serving the poorest of the poor, doing small things with great love and recognizing the dignity of a child of God in every person,” says Sister Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa.
If she were still alive, Blessed Mother Teresa would turn 100 on August 26, 2010. The Missionaries of Charity are honoring her through a year of programs celebrating the centennial of her birth. This year of celebration began on August 26, 2009.
We can honor Blessed Mother Teresa in our parishes. Make sure that children and adults have an opportunity to grow in knowledge of her, the work of the Missionaries of Charity and the call each of us has to treat every person, especially the poor, with the respect and care due to a child of God.
Women Who Inspire is a DVD containing two programs: one on Mother Teresa, the other on St. Katharine Drexel. These two women reached out to the marginalized: Mother Teresa to the poor and sick in India; St. Katharine to Native and African Americans in the United States. I’ve selected a clip from Work of God’s Hands: A Video on Mother Teresa to share with you (RealMedia | Windows Media).
Adults may find a new audiobook Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” a meaningful companion on a long car trip, the commute to and from work or simply during periods of reflection at home.
We all can learn from this holy woman who treated every person as Christ. May we learn to do the same.
Franciscan Radio
Saint of the Day
The electronic age is here in full force. With a click of the mouse or a glance at the handheld device you can connect with a world of knowledge. I used to drink that first cup of morning coffee with the daily newspaper. Now, I turn to my flat screen PC to catch up on news and inspiration.
One of my favorite early morning bites (or is it bytes?) is the digital version of Saint of the Day. This is an daily e-newsletter, with an audio version attached. Get the e-newsletter by signing up at, or just visit the site to read or to listen.
Saint of the Day, which all started with the classic book from St. Anthony Messenger Press, is also available, in a different audio form, from Franciscan Radio. Here it’s a weekly 90-second audio feature heard on Catholic stations around the country, and on the Catholic Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio.
So whether it’s on your computer or in your iPod (or in the book that started it!), Saint of the Day offers a wealth of insight for those of us who need a little inspiration with that cup of brew.
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