It’s Sister Aloysius’s first day of teaching! She leads the children in a discussion of what it means to pray ceaselessly. One of the students asks a question that many adults have, “How can we pray ceaselessly and have time to eat, sleep, work and play?” Sister Aloysius shows them that by adopting short daily prayers at mealtimes, bedtimes, and at special moments like Mass and the hour of mercy, you can lead a life defined by prayer. The children also discuss actions that they can offer up in prayer to Jesus, like doing their chores.
If you have already read some of the other Sister Aloysius books, you will appreciate how this one shows that the sister’s words are backed up by how she lives and goes through her day. It also sums up a lot of the major themes of the whole series: living mindful of God; praying with an active mind and heart; offering up sufferings; giving young minds an authentic picture of what a vocation to religious life is all about. But even more importantly it shows children that holiness is not reserved just those people pursuing a religious vocation.
The back page has scripture and catechism passages related to prayer, along with excerpts from the letters of Joan Carroll Cruz who wrote about the mystics St. Josepha Menenedez and Gabrielle Bossis. These references provide an easy-to-follow lesson plan for families seeking to teach their children theology in terms they can understand.
The author also has free activity sheets she will send to any parent who requests them. The activity sheets reinforce themes in the stories and provide thought provoking activities and vocabulary reinforcement for terms which might be new to them. They include a variety of levels of activities including fill in the blanks, matching, coloring, writing, drawing, crosswords, word searches, sentence scrambles, and others.
Parents can contact the author to get free activity sheets through this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Plumlee-Tadlock provides hand-painted illustrations that give us a diverse picture of the church militant. Though the previous volumes have mostly white characters, this volume does a great job of showing the wide range of peoples who are part of the Church. The large font makes this a great book for a beginning reader. The passages are also a lot shorter than in the other Sister Aloysius volumes, so it can work as a bedtime story for young readers.
When the books arrived at my house, my one year old immediately demanded to see them and spent a full ten minutes turning the pages and pointing at things in the pictures (a whole ten minutes for my one year-old is like an hour!). Whenever he does this I must give all the credit to the artist.
If you are a convert to Catholicism seeking for a way to raise Catholic children when you didn’t have an example in your own life, or if you just want to make sure your children get catechesis at a young age, the Sister Aloysius books are a must-have on your bookshelf. With the lesson plans at the back, it’s easy to adapt these stories to fit the needs of children between the ages of three and nine.