Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nativity of Mary

This year as I was planning out our 2014-2015 calendar school year I made a resolution that we would dedicate our school year to faith formation and in particular to our Blessed Mother, Mary. As a cradle-Catholic "revert" my kids have been brought up with the traditions of Catholicism however they did not have the benefit of building a relationship with Mary during some key formative years. Our family is blessed that although it was not Catholic, that we were still were part of a (wonderful) church.  As we've transitioned back into the Catholic church over the last 18 months they have proven to me that children are indeed sponges! Their child-like faith is contagious. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that there are lots of opportunities to honor and celebrate feast and holy days. This makes it very easy for me to bring Catholicism into our home and in our day to day life.

We jumped right into our resolution by celebrating The Nativity of Mary with our local Catholic homeschool group. I am continually blown away on how God has used a social networking tool such as Facebook to provide such a wonderful network of friends for our family to gather with on a regular basis. We are blessed to live within driving distance to the National Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, so what a perfect location we found ourselves in to celebrate the Nativity of Mary!

My children and a friend posing in front of the Shrine Rosary Pond.

With children its always important to bring some movement activities to help empty some of the energy before sitting down for a story or craft. We played a modified version of Mother, (Mary) May I. The kids had a blast and of course in the end we were all winners.

Playing Mother Mary, May I near the Shrine Chapel where we had our lessons. 
After a game or two we were ready to down to business.  I was initially nervous about holding a class outside with younger children (with short attention spans) but was pleasantly surprised by the children's eagerness to participate and listen to the topic at hand.  I recounted the story of Sts. Joachim and Anne's struggle to have a child and what a gift Mary was to them. We also discussed how Joachim and Anne both separately promised to dedicate Mary to God.  I always love props so I printed out an icon picture of St. Anne  and Mary to pass around while we were having our discussion time.

Retelling the story of Sts. Joachim and Anne.

One book that I found incredibly useful for this lesson was Leading the Little Ones to Mary* by Sister Mary Lelia.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wants to help their children grow their devotion to Mary. It offers a great question and answer dialog for you to use with your child. Some of the language is a bit dated, but its very easy to paraphrase and make it your own.  The kids also enjoyed the story of Mary found in The Coloring Book About Mary by Emma C. McKean.  I read this story while some of the kids were running around a bit and slowly they all came and sat down as the story drew them in.  My Jesus and I has wonderful pictures and very short explanations of the basic Catholic Prayers. We used it to break down The Hail Mary. 

Music always plays a big role and in any of our celebrations and the Nativity of Mary was no exception.  We sang Ring Around The Rosary and other nursery rhymes and gradually transitioned into two verses of Immaculate Mary.  This is a perfect song for children because of its short verses and memorable chorus.  

Singing Immaculate Mary while walking using a parachute.
All in all, this was a wonderful low key event. The weather was glorious and our families were able to spend time together as we walked the beautiful shrine grounds. After the event a few us attended 12:10 Mass which helped us wind down before heading home.

Great follow up activities to do at home:

  • Make a cake (with blue frosting) or blueberry muffins and sing Happy Birthday to Mary.
  • Create a Mary centerpiece/diorama- this is a beautiful idea that I first spotted over on Training Happy Hearts. I cannot wait to do with my children during our next Mary activity!
  • Mary booklets for faith journals/notebooks - I have started one of these with my oldest and he loves having something tangible that is just his.
  • Edible Rosary - I have seen this around the web lately and it looks like so much fun. There are so many variations of this and its easily adaptable to meet any family's dietary needs.

*This post contains affiliate links from amazon. We may receive a small compensation from any purchases made through those links.


  1. This is really cool Danielle! I like the way you write. :)

    1. Thanks Pam! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. :)

  2. So happy to see you blogging and so grateful to be in LWHE with you. I hope we can join in the next event in person. ;)

    1. Thanks Martianne! Yes us too. Life gets busy though, especially once fall hits. I know for sure I'll be planning more events like this in the future.