In two short days, hundreds of little saints will fill Saint Benedict Classical Academy’s classrooms and hallways. If this year is anything like years past, there will be no shortage of Saint Michaels wielding swords or Saint Lucys bearing crowns of candles.
November 1st is always one of my favorite days of the year. I love watching the younger students proudly parade by the older ones, smiling from ear to ear. I watch from the sidelines as a five-year-old Saint George tightly grips a stuffed dragon under his arm. I smile as a little Saint Gianna Beretta Molla carefully holds a beloved baby doll in her arms. And I can’t help but laugh at the hundreds of stuffed animals that accompany the Saint Francises and John Boscos who scatter across the turf as we attempt to take a school picture.
As my first-grade class prepared for the Feast of All Saints this year, we read the book I’m a Saint in the Making
by Lisa M. Hendey. The story follows the lives of various saints, starting with their childhoods. It especially highlights saints who never lived to see adulthood, such as Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The purpose of the book is to teach the children that God is not waiting for them to be adults to do something amazing with their lives – they are all saints in the making at this very moment.
I spent a few days reading and discussing the book with my students. My first graders asked great questions and commented on the illustrations, but I was left wondering if the deeper message of the book would really stay with them. I prayed that these children would understand that they are all called to be saints. That day, I received an email from a parent that read, “My son jumped into the car today with great joy, exclaiming, ‘Mom, guess what, you won’t believe this. I am a saint in the making! And you are too! Everybody is!”
Celebrating the Feast of All Saints at school brings us all joy. The parades, the class parties, the costumes, and the treats are all wonderful ways to honor this great Solemnity. But the delight of recognizing our heavenly friends doesn’t end when the sun sets on November 1st. For all of us at SBCA, it continues every day when we remember that we, too, are saints in the making.
So I will smile as I see the costumes on Wednesday, but I will have an even greater happiness to carry with me every day of the school year. My students know that they are called to a life not of perfection but of holiness. They know that they were created for sainthood, and this is what fills us all with a joy that can only come from God. What a gift it is to be striving for sainthood together.
AUTHOR: Emily Ortiz, First Grade Teacher