All Saints Day
St. Catherine was a saint, but what happened to her wasn’t very saintly.
In 305 A.D., St. Catherine was beheaded because she refused to marry the emperor. That’s one of the interesting facts Catherine Trenda, a seventh grader at St. Mary’s School in Owatonna, shared with people during a special festival on All Saints Day Friday. All seventh graders at the school represented different saints during the festival at St. Joseph Catholic Church. They became living saint statutes while reciting research they uncovered.
Trenda said St. Catherine was born a princess and was responsible for converting many people to Christianity. Trenda’s research into St. Catherine has provided her with some valuable life lessons. “I want to make sure I can stick up for my faith,” she says. “It’s real sad she got executed for her faith.”
Nolan Ginskey portrayed St. Isidore, the farmer. “I performed a lot of miracles,” he told visitors who stopped by to listen to his speech. Ginskey was dressed in a robe, beard and had a pouch at his side.
Another saint was portrayed by Isabella Schultz, who was St. Katharine Drexel. St. Katharine came from a wealthy family and was very religious, according to Schultz. She devoted 33 years of her life to God as a missionary. She shared much of her wealth with Native Americans and African Americans, Schultz said.
In Western Christianity, All Saints Day is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church, among others. St. Mary’s decided to hold a festival as a way for students to learn more about how the saints impacted lives as disciples of Christ, according to Stacey Ginskey, a teacher at St. Mary’s.
“They learned that saints were just regular people like us,” Ginskey said. “They also learned about the things the saints went through to process their faith and stand up for their faith.”
Over the past few months, the students conducted extensive research into their saints in preparation for the festival. They prepared speeches and made backgrounds, costumes, prayer cards and coin canisters. Money collected during the festival will be donated to St. Jude’s and the local animal shelter. The school usually raises around $800.
For Ginskey, it’s special to see the students get excited about their saints. “It generates a lot of interest,” she said. “I enjoy hearing them talk about their saint,” she added.
While holding a cross, Joanna Haggerty shared her speech, which she memorized. “I was very inspired by the saints,” Haggerty says. “There are great role models in history and how we can relate to them now,” she said, adding the project was a good way for her to learn how to be more devoted in prayer.