We have a wonderful tradition for All Saints Day where each fifth grader chooses a Saint and then researches the life and virtues of that saint. On All Saints Day, all the ‘saints’ process into Church at the beginning of Mass. They are part of the planning of the Mass. After Mass, each saint talks to the younger students in classroom presentations. Learning the life of saints is an important part of the Catholic education and formation that teach at OLW. Here are a few of the fifth grade Saint reports.

Saint Faustina
I chose St. Faustina because her story really shows that with determination and faith anyone can reach their goals. The virtue that I learned from St. Faustina is determination. She knocked on the doors of many convents but they all turned her away; yet she kept going until one of them accepted her. Also, nobody wanted to paint her famous vision of Jesus, yet again she kept going until someone agreed to paint it.

St. Faustina was born as Helena Kowalska on August 25, 1905 in Głogowiec, Poland. From a very young age she was astonishingly interested in prayer, obedience, and sensitivity to the poor. Her parents opposed to her going to a convent but finally she convinced them. Then, when she was 20, she joined the convent called Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy where she had small jobs like a cook, gardener etc. Faustina had many visions of Jesus but her most famous one is the image of divine mercy. In 1934 she had Michał Sopoćko paint her image. A few years later she got tuberculosis and then moved to Krakow where she spent her last 2 years of life praying. She then died on October 5, 1938. She was canonized on April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II. Her feast day is October 5. Her legacy lives on by the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday every year.

Learning about St. Faustina affected my life because she put all of her trust in God and now, I try to do that, too. She taught all people that God is merciful and loving. Also, she teaches us that we need to be determined to overcome our obstacles.

Saint Gemma Galgani
I chose Saint Gemma Galgani because my great grandma is from the same town as St. Gemma and she is considered our family saint. I thought it was really interesting how she took care of anybody in need no matter what it took. She was always kind and helpful to others. She was faithful, hopeful, trustworthy, kind, and responsible. I learned to put others before myself, and have faith in God.  

Saint Gemma Galgani is the patron saint of students because she loved school and always worked hard at her studies. She was known as the Flower of Lucca. Saint Gemma was born in the town of Lucca, Italy, on March 3, 1878. When she was young her mother became very ill and was not able to go to church one morning. Gemma’s siblings were asking why their mom wasn’t able to go to church but Gemma said, “I’ll ask God to cure you, mama.” So Gemma went to church with her family and God asked Gemma “Will you give your mom to me?”  Gemma said yes because her mom told her to always say yes to God, but it was a hard decision. After Gemma’s mom died, she helped her dad take care of her siblings because she was the oldest child.

Gemma went to school like anyone else. She loved school but she had to quit school because of an injury to her foot that became badly infected; she was so sick she was in bed for months. Her illnesses stopped her from becoming a nun when she got spinal meningitis. She almost died but prayed to God and a miracle soon was granted to her and she was completely healed. Through her illnesses, she regretted the trouble she was causing her relatives that were helping her. On June 8, 1899 Gemma got warnings that unusual grace was to be granted to her. She felt pain and blood coming from her hands, feet, and heart. The pain was marks of stigmata, the same marks that Jesus had when he was nailed to the cross. No one else would want stigmata because the marks are painful but Saint Gemma did because she always said yes to God and wanted to be like Jesus Christ. This happened to Saint Gemma every Thursday evening and it would stop every Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. When the bleeding stopped, the wounds would close but the marks remained in place of the deep gashes. Once the stigmata ended she lived peacefully until she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Unfortunately she died at the age of 25 from tuberculosis on April 11, 1903.      

Learning about Saint Gemma Galgani will affect my life because she taught me why it’s important to say yes to God no matter what, to always be kind and helpful to others even if I am hurt, sick, or suffering, to fight through tough things, and always take care of my family. I will be like Saint Gemma Galgani by helping others in anyway I can, by listening to Jesus and having faith in God, just like Saint Gemma Galgaani did.

St. Vincent de Paul
I chose Saint Vincent de Paul because because I wanted to learn more about him and the life he lived. Some lessons, values, and virtues I learned are that helping the poor is very important and that you should always help people in need.

Saint Vincent de Paul is the patron saint of charity. He is known for his charities and compassion for the poor. Saint Vincent de Paul was born on April 24, 1581 in a small village named Puoy in the southwest of France. Saint Vincent had three brothers and two sisters and he was the third child in his family. He showed talent for reading and writing during his childhood. At a young age, Saint Vincent was interested in the priesthood. After Saint Vincent finished his studies at the University of Toulouse, he became a Priest in 1600 at the age of nineteen. It has been told that he was captured at sea by Barbary pirates and sold as a slave.  He eventually escaped and went to live in Rome for a year and then moved to Paris where he stayed. That is when Saint Vincent dedicated himself to serving the poor. He founded the charities called the Congregation of the Mission in 1625 as well as the Confraternities of Charity. These charities fed and helped the sick and poor. The wealthy women of the church helped Saint Vincent establish many charities and hospitals. Saint Louise de Marillac also helped Saint Vincent create another charity called Daughters of Charity in 1633. It was the first charity that involved regular women, and not just nuns, helping serve the poor. This charity still exists today and is now called Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  Saint Vincent de Paul died on September 27, 1660.

Learning about Saint Vincent de Paul has taught me to be grateful for the life I have. I am going to help those who are less fortunate as me. I will do that by donating food and clothes to shelters that help the poor. But in my everyday life, I will help people who need help. I will do this by being kind and helping my friends and family whenever they need help.