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Jake Frost describes an easy way to make the saints part of our daily lives, and some of the fun surprises that can happen when we do.

Our family has found a fun and easy way to tune in to the aid offered by our Heavenly helpers. But be warned: simple though our method may be, it does have a downside, albeit a rather sweet downside (literally, more on that later).

Our simple method is this: we have a saints calendar that lists the saint feast days for every day in the year. Each morning when we gather at the table for breakfast we first say grace, then our Guardian Angel prayer, and then we open the calendar and read aloud the saints for the day. As each name is read we all say in unison, “Pray for us.”

So using today, Tuesday, March 9, for an example, on opening our saint calendar I’ll read aloud: “Saint Frances of Rome,” and everyone at the table will say, “Pray for us.”

And here’s where it gets fun (but also where the calorie hazard is introduced). Because often times when we see the saint for the day someone will exclaim: “What a great saint! I love Saint _____!” (fill in the blank).

Stories are likely to ensue about the saint and why we love them so much. Or the saint may even, as with Saint Francis of Rome today, inspire a quick dash to the bookshelf to retrieve a book of poetry I wrote, because: “I wrote a poem about Saint Frances of Rome!”

So I’ll bring the book to the table and read the kids my poem about Saint Frances. aloud to the kids.

(Saint Frances of Rome is near and dear to my heart because she was a mother and homemaker who’s path to sainthood was through service to her family in making a happy home and raising her children — I’ll include the poem, from my book Victory!, below).

Seeing the feast day of Saint Francis of Rome, and being reminded of her example and prompted to ask her intercession for my family, are the sorts of little surprises that can happen when the saints get to be part of your daily life.

Not all the names are so familiar. Oftentimes when the saints for the day are read aloud we’re all left wondering: “Who are they?”

But that’s okay, too. It’s a chance for all of us to meet new saints! A quick internet search can introduce us all to a new Heavenly friend.

Either way, it’s a win-win: we get to share with each other about saints that are important to us, or meet new saints who become a part of our journey!

And then come the “Cupcake Alert” days — the sweet downside alluded to earlier (which is actually pretty good). Because some days when we open the calendar we discover that it’s a really big feast day, either for the church at large (such as a Marian feast day), or for us personally, because it’s a saint like Frances of Rome who holds a special meaning for one of us.

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When one of those days comes along everyone gets excited, because we know we’re going to celebrate! And for my family, a part of celebration is food.

An unexpected trip to the grocery store for a box of gingerbread mix or some ice cream may be required, but it’s worth it.

That evening, after dinner is over and the dishes cleared away, we’ll gather back at the table again to honor the saint we’re celebrating. We say a prayer to the saint, then share a tasty morsel while we tell the saint’s story.

Our family uses the TAN Saints Calender and 16 Month Planner, which is great, and there are lots of others to choose from, including free calendars many parishes offer around New Year’s, and online “Saint-of-the-Day” features at places like CatholicExchange.com.

The saint calendar has been good for our family, and I hope it will work for yours also! Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us!

Cupcake alert! Our family has found a fun and easy way to tune in to the aid offered by our Heavenly helpers. #catholicmom

"The Prayer of Saint Frances of Rome"victory

Mine is the prayer of Saint Frances of Rome
Who raised her children and made a home 

It’s not prayed straight through from the start
For interruptions lie at its heart 

That come from little hands that tug
And little souls that need a hug 

It’s a prayer that welcomes another’s need
That pauses to water the tiny seed 

That stoops to help another grow
And delights to let another know 

That they are loved and held dear
It’s a prayer of giving with good cheer 

It’s prayed in time and prayed in care
In knots gently brushed from tangled hair 

In sacrifice and small deeds done
Constantly as the hours run 

Through the day and through the night
Giving each moment a widow’s might 

Of all I am and do and say
And in the giving with love I pray 

A humble prayer no one else can see
Except Jesus who keeps me company

Copyright 2021 Jake Frost
"The Prayer of Saint Frances of Rome" was originally published in Victory! copyright 2020 Jake Frost
Image: Johann Jakob Zeller, Saint Benedict in Glory, Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons); Canva Pro