The Interior Castle

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St. Teresa of Avila is a Doctor of the Church who led many people to build a relationship with Jesus through a very special type of prayer. She taught people to build an interior castle. The interior castle is inside of each of us. We each have our own interior castle. Consider using the time in Lent to discover it and make it strong.

Written for children ages 7 and up, "The Interior Castle," by Judith Boulloc will be enjoyed and will inspired readers of all ages. Based on St. Theresa of Avila’s classic work, "The Interior Castle," it is a beautifully illustrated book that engages the reader in the treasure to be found in a personal conversation with God. The story follows a boy who journeys through the steps of contemplative prayer. 

Illustrated by award-winner Eric Puybaret. 

Posted by Jill Fischer

Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace, and Courage

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Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace, and Courage by Carey Wallace and illustrated by Nick Thornburrow is a unique saint book that brings to life many Catholic saints that young readers will be familiar with, as well as others that will be introduced to them for the first time, through dramatized yet realistic retellings of their life stories. 

Proceeding chronologically from Polycarp to Mother Teresa, each saint’s humanity and faith become tangible in a very real way in the space of just a few pages.  Coupled with the dramatic and mythological illustrations of Thornburrow, this book is different from most every other book on the lives of saints. Boys and girls alike will find new heroes or a new understanding of favorite saints, as well as find themselves captivated by the beautiful illustrations. 

While some parents may be uncomfortable with the honesty that Wallace treats the hardships the saints have endured, from early Christians’ martyrdom to the plague, I found it to be refreshing and a great conversation starter with my children on the trials and tribulations of the Christian life, especially those prior to modern times.

This is an excellent book to breathe life into the saints for children so they are able to vividly imagine the heroic faith of those good Catholics whom the Church has canonized. 

in Kids

Children's Spirituality

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We have spent much of our energy on teaching children the things of our faith; having them know the Sign of the Cross, and common prayers. Little do we appreciate them as spiritual beings just like us grown-ups. I often think about the growth of God in their souls.

All human beings are spiritual. We have a “spirit- receiver,” and can use our conversations with children to stimulate their affinity towards God. Rather than worry about memorizing Bible stories, it is more important a child comes away from the Gospel stirred into thought and troubled into compassion, than if he or she is able to repeat back a lesson or moral.

Rebecca Nye, in her book "Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters," tells us it is in fact the power of Godly play when we simply share the story with children, difficult parts and all, and then get out of the way allowing for the Holy Spirit to act. She gives us a method to encourage a child’s spiritual life. Here are her steps for sharing stories:

  1. Simply sharing the story as it is written.
  2. Get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work.
  3. Offer to let them retell the story and play the story out to understand the meaning in their own way.
  4. Encourage them to “wonder about it”. There is no right way of understanding. Every response is respected, even honored.
  5. Address each wonderment with, “I’ve wondered about that too…hmmm.”

She encourages us to “facilitate wonder.” Facilitating wonder can be an attitude that is applied to a wide range of encounters with children. It is very helpful in nurturing spirituality. In this facilitation there are no “rights or wrongs’ but only, “I wonder.” Is that not where all our encounters with the divine leave us? I wonder.