Tiffany Walsh shares a treasured custom of "saint storytimes" with her son, realizing how this practice helped prepare him for Confirmation.
Anytime a spring rolls around in which one of my children will be making a sacramental milestone, I experience a rush of All The Feelings: excitement (I love seeing them all dressed up and receiving these special graces), nervousness (have I done enough to prepare them?), and contemplation (how has the time passed so quickly?!).
This year, my son will be making his Confirmation, and as our diocese administers this sacrament at the end of 10th grade, I can hardly even believe that somehow, we are already at this point of our lives.
When my son Henry was a younger child, he was fascinated by the lives of the saints. Each night before he went to bed, we would engage in a beloved ritual that he coined “saint stories”: we would sit beside his bed and pull out a few saint selections to read aloud. Over the years, we acquired quite a few different books featuring the lives of the saints, so that we had new fodder for our saint story time.
He was most drawn to those books that had colorful illustrations accompanying the story (St. George and the dragon are particularly impressive in this regard), but as he got older we tried out some new volumes with lesser-known saints, and they often contained shorter blurbs with no illustrations. No matter, we always still had a good time looking for new saints to learn from.
When he got much older and aged out, if you will, on stories with mom before bedtime, I mourned that pretty deeply. I still think about that time fondly and reflect on it often. Touchingly, he has left our saint books and the candle we would light in the spot I kept them, ensconced on a shelf of his nightstand.
Now, this is suddenly my “baby” that will be confirmed into the Church next month. The one who grew so much last year that he is by now the tallest person in our family! To be honest, I feel fairly emotional about him being at this milestone. It does not seem possible that he is this close to adulthood and being out in the world on his own.
The one thing that gives me comfort is that I do feel he is ready for this sacrament via the instruction he has received at his wonderful Catholic schools and through me. Our saint story time has well prepared him to select a Confirmation patron, and I even purchased a new saint book to aid him in his decision-making process! I also pulled out our nostalgic childhood favorite:
A Catholic Child's Illustrated Lives of the Saints has lots of colorful illustrations and contains his favorite saints from back in our saint story days: St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Isidore the Farmer, and St. Dominic Savio. I know that he has outgrown this particular book, but it brings back memories that are very close to my heart. I am hoping that he feels the same way. He has yet to select his saint, and I cannot to find out who it will be!
Are any of your children making a sacrament this spring? How have you worked with your children to prepare for sacraments that are coming up soon or in the years ahead? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.