As a cradle Catholic, I’m a collector and admirer of saints. I have an envelope brimming with holy cards depicting these faithful followers of God, and I often turn to myriad saints during certain situations in my life. I’ve, of course, whispered a prayer to St. Anthony when I’ve lost something. I’ve prayed often to St. Monica, being a mother married to a non-Catholic. I chose St. Francis of Assisi as my Confirmation saint to be my own personal protector and guide. His love for creation drew me in even as a child. Now that I’m a preggo, I find myself praying to St. Gerard Majella, the patron saint of expectant moms. Like many Catholics, I’ve always had a special devotion to the Queen of All Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mother.
My fondness for the saints is one reason I love the idea of celebrating All Saints’ Day with children. It’s fun and teaches kids that they have friends in Christ who they can turn to for personal encouragement.
We had our homeschooling co-op’s All Saints’ Day party today (the Church officially celebrates All Saints’ Day on November 1st). The amazing women in my group did a great job of costuming their children as saints. One of the older children kicked off the party by giving a brief speech on the arduous process of canonization within the Church. Then each child stood up and gave some clues about their saintly altar ego. Then we had to guess what saint they were. We had a whole cadre of saints represented, including St. Catherine of Bologna, the Archangel Michael, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony, and St. Maria Goretti among others.
From the above photo, you might have guessed that Madeline chose to be Saint Lucia, or Saint Lucy. On December 13th (St. Lucy’s Feast Day) it’s custom in Norway and Sweden for the oldest daughter in the house to wear a white dress, a leafy crown with candles (usually nine, but Mommy was involved in a skirmish with the glue gun and the glue gun was winning, so she quit at four), and a red sash to symbolize her martyrdom. The child then brings treats to the other family members as a symbolic gesture of bringing the Light of Lucy to others in the dark of December. St. Lucy is the patron saint of eye patients.
Aside from guessing what saints everyone was dressed up as, I also wrote a saintly treasure hunt for the kids that was supposed to get them thinking about how we’re all called to be saints and that our true treasure is eternal happiness with God in heaven. One of my fellow moms and the mastermind behind this great party prepared goody bags for the kids. When they made it to the final destination in the hunt, she called out, “Welcome to heaven! Here’s your treasure.” During the hunt, we encouraged the kids to remember that getting to heaven is not a race and that we want to bring as many people to God as we can (in other words, don’t run around like made men and women and knock down the smaller kids just to get to the next clue!).
I’ve included the clues below. Feel free to edit them to fit your needs (you could even do a version of this hunt in your own home with just your kids). I used to love to write (bad) poetry as a kid and still find myself talking like Dr. Seuss sometimes, so this was actually fun to me. I plan to make it an annual tradition with my homeschooling co-op or at least with my own kids.
Saint Treasure Hunt
St. Paul the Apostle is his name,
And praising Christ wasn’t always his game.
He once persecuted Christians until he heard the Lord’s voice.
Then he was faced with a life-changing choice.
He was struck blind until a Lord’s servant made him see –
Not only with his eyes but with his soul, he would come to be
A great apostle of the Lord for Christians both far and near.
As Catholics, we’re currently celebrating his special year.
Now you, too, must use your eyes
To find another saintly surprise.
Look in a room where little ones have played.
And think of St. Paul and how fervently he prayed.
[Hide clue in nursery or playroom.]
Here we are now at clue number two.
Let me tell you about a saint who wears lovely blue.
Her name is Mary, and she is the mother of God’s son.
She said yes to God when it would have been easier to run.
We hail her as the Queen of all Saints, Morning Star, and Cause of our Joy,
But she’s also our Holy Mother – whether we are a girl or a boy.
So let’s say a quick Hail Mary in her honor before you search for the next clue,
Which is hidden beneath Our Lady in her mantle of blue.
[Hide clue by a Mary statue.]
We are all humans, imperfect, it’s true.
But you’ll soon find from the saint of this third clue –
It’s never too late to change your ways and to follow God with all of your heart.
See, the beloved, St. Francis of Assisi got off to a rocky start.
As a young man he liked to have a good time and spend lots of cash.
But Francis heard the call of the Lord and gave up his old ways in a flash.
He devoted his life to serving the poor and living a simple life.
He bore the stigmata and suffered other forms of difficult strife.
Yet, his faith remained strong, where there was once hatred, he sowed love.
And he had respect for all living things from the tiniest ant to the whitest dove.
God, help us to love all of creation as St. Francis did with his entire soul.
Now run along to a spot where people can eat pancakes or a dinner roll.
[Hide clue in the kitchen.]
This final saint in our treasure hunt here –
May not be as familiar as some of her saintly peers.
St. Dorothy was a young girl who suffered a martyr’s death.
She refused to marry or worship idols so she took one last breath.
But before dying an unbeliever said, “Be sure to show me something from paradise that is as lovely as here.”
“I will,” Dorothy promised with a voice filled with great love instead of any trace of fear.
When she had died, what should appear but an angel bearing fruit and flowers –
Leading to a conversion of a man who now believed in Christ’s powers.
Legend has it that Dorothy was beautiful with sparkling eyes and lovely hair.
But her true beauty was her unwavering faith and her trust in God’s care.
In honor of St. Dorothy and all saints who died,
Go search for something big, silver, and wide.
Hint: It’s a minivan and it may need a key.
From Mrs. Wicker, that blond, blue-eyed lady.
[Edit to fit description of your car and hide clue there.]
Time to search for your final clue, my friends.
But even as this fun, little game ends –
Always remember the communion of saints with Christ as their Head,
All of these friends you can pray to when you’re sad, happy, or bored in bed.
Let us rejoice in the saints and try to be more like them in all that we do.
Remember the saints were ordinary people just like me and you.
We are all called to be saints and to live a life of faith and love,
And to always keep our eyes and life focused on God above.
With God in heaven is where our true treasure will be,
But for now we have another type of treat for our party attendees.
So head to the classroom where you’ll have to find one last clue –
But this one you can eat, but before you do –
Give thanks to God and all the faithful saints, too.