Catherine Kasper lived in a village in Germany. She was often sick as a child and missed school. But even as a child she helped people in need in her village. She knew that following Jesus is for people of all ages. When she grew up, she moved into a little house. She went out each day to visit the sick and those living in poverty. She is an example of compassion for all of us.
Loved God and others
Catherine loved God with all her heart and shared that love with people living in poverty. She lived the greatest commandment each day. She saw Mary as a model for her life. Catherine said yes to God in her life as Mary did. Catherine knew that God was calling her to help others. Her example of service to others reminds us that we, too, are called by our God to serve other people.
Others joined her
Soon four other young women joined Catherine in caring for people in need. They all lived together in her little house. She founded a religious order called the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in 1851. The group visited the sick and helped people living in poverty. They also took in children without families and cared for them.
Expanded her order
Her order expanded rapidly in Germany and eight other countries. The sisters came to the United States, where some of their ministries included caring for children without families in Chicago and starting a hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This all came about because Catherine heard God’s call in her life and said yes. Catherine Kasper was canonized in 2018.
What we can do
■ Talk about this saint. How was Catherine’s life difficult as a young woman? Who did Catherine help in her village? What saint did Catherine admire? How did Catherine and the other women help children? How can we love God and love others as she did? When was she declared a saint?
■ Create a craft. Give the children large red paper hearts. Have them write on it the greatest commandment to love God and others (see Luke 10:27). Then give them heart stickers to decorate their heart. Ask children to place their heart at home where they will see it and remember how we are to live.
■ Make a prayer poster. On a sheet of poster board write Pray for others. Ask the children to write on colorful index cards people for whom we should pray, such as refugees, victims of violence, homeless, hungry, children with cancer, or the homebound. Have them glue the cards to the poster. Display the prayer poster where you gather.
God of love, we thank you for your love for each of us. Show us how to share your love with others as St. Catherine Kasper did. May we reach out a helping hand to people in need in our communities. Open our hearts that we may be people of compassion like St. Catherine Kasper. Amen.
6 Paul Miki and Companions
8 Josephine Bakhita and Jerome Emiliani
11 Our Lady of Lourdes
14 Cyril and Methodius
21 Peter Damian
22 Chair of St. Peter
PATRICIA MATHSON, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including her latest: 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.
PHOTO: PUBLIC DOMAIN
This article was originally published in Catechist, February 2020.