Middle schoolers celebrate the lives of the saints
Story and photo by Sharon Roulier
HOLYOKE -- Middle school students in grades 5 through 8 at Blessed Sacrament School in Holyoke brought the saints “to life” today as they presented reports on various saints in the Catholic Church to their classmates.
The presentations were the culmination of a month-long project assigned by religion teacher Sister of St. Joseph Jeanne Branchaud, in conjunction with The Year of Faith.
“During this Year of Faith, we’re really pushing for more activities so that children can deepen their faith and understand that they are not alone in this, that they are part of the Communion of Saints,” said Sister Jeanne.
Caitlin Rachmaciej, a seventh-grader from Holyoke, dressed up in a blue dress with a white bonnet as she portrayed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She said she chose the saint because she did not know much about her and thought it would be interesting to learn more about her life.
“She loved caring for the poor people, especially as a teenager,” said Caitlin. “And she always wanted to open up many hospitals, which she did do.”
Holyoker, Connor Norton, also a seventh-grader, said his middle name is Stephen, so he chose St. Stephen the Martyr as his saint to research.
He donned a white t-shirt and red blanket draped over his shoulder to symbolize the robe that a deacon wears.
St. Stephen was one of the first deacons of the church. He was stoned to death because of his beliefs.
Connor said that even though many of these saints lived a long time ago, one could still relate to them today.
People speaking out for what they believe in are often ridiculed and sometimes “killed for speaking out,” he said.
Young people “often see saints as people who were way out there. That behavior was beyond what they could possibly imagine when it really isn’t,” said Sister Jeanne. “They too can become saints.”