Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Every wonder if a Saint Patrick ever existed? Or, if he did, what made him so famous? We asked the same questions and today we found our answers while reading Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert. Saint Patrick was one of the most famous and beloved saints, born during the fourth century in southwest Britian. His mission was to take Christianity to the Irish people. One of his greatest tools of evangelism was the three-leafed clover, the shammrock, with which he explained the Trinity. Now the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is the reason we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.

Author Ann Tompert uses information from Saint Patrick's letter "Confession" to answer the many questions children (and their parents) have about the saint. The picture book was selected by Booklist as one of the top ten religious books for children in 1998. Ms. Tompert has written a bookshelf full of children's books including two other titles we have enjoyed.

Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert

Today as we read Saint Patrick and Saint Nicholas, we compared the saints, their missions, the locations of their homelands and their journeys. We used a globe to track the saint's travels. We discussed the similarities and differences between the saints and subtracted their birthdates to find out how far apart they were born. If we had clover in our yard, we would have wandered outside to pick some. We settled for cutting out a few we had traced on green construction paper. The shammrock shape is symmetrical, in case you wondered. I also went online to find out more about the author's personal story, as many times the life of the author brings depth to his/her writing. By the end of our reading, we had been emersed in the stories of two saints that impacted world history and answered questions about why we celebrate a current event, Saint Patrick's Day.

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