Thursday, January 27, 2011

saint francis & a new look @ my own spirituality...

we began the new year with a look into the life of saint francis of assisi.
(patron saint of nature, ecology, all god's creatures great & small...)

i began researching saint stories for grade 2 this past summer, delving into "stories of the saints" by siegwart knijpenga, a recommended waldorf grade 2 resource. the stories are absolutely beautiful & a much more approachable introduction to spirituality & christianity than the bible or other religious doctrines that i have sought out.

they read like fairy tales...and i suppose they are, as saints are the epitome of perfection & purity, devotion & loyalty...each one with his or her own journey into holiness & yet no where have i seen anything other that love for EVERYone else.

this has long been one of my turnoffs from mainstream religion...the underlying attitude that our religion is the one & only, the "right way". accept our savior/god or thou shalt burn in hell...why?? why would that appeal to anyone?? i have never wanted to be a part of anything, religion or otherwise, that would ever be so cruel.

my own spiritual path has been quite a jumble. i attended church with one of my best friends when i was younger, but think it was more of a social outing than an actual finding of my inner spirituality. that being said, i did take various "world religion" classes in college to "find my religion". some religions really did spark an interest in me, but there was always some part of the dogma that didn't quite sit right with me.

there have been times in my life, as i am sure in most every one's, where we hit rock bottom & would really love to put our trust in a greater power, in the universe...desperately wanting to believe that there is someone looking out for me. someone loving each of us from afar & though perhaps remaining in the shadows, always making sure that we don't fall (too far) into the abyss.

though i do not go to church, i do practice a sort of spirituality in the day to day, though there is not a name or label that i can place on it. just living according to my own moral compass, treating others the way i would like to be treated, caring for mother earth & all of her creations. living a life where i acknowledge & truly try to appreciate the everyday blessings that surround our family, giving freely to other in whatever capacity that may be.

in reading of saint francis, in reciting & copying his prayer into our lesson books, i found that this was something approachable, in a way that a lot of religion has not been to me in the past. this was a prayer that i could see myself repeating each night.

when we were introduced to the waldorf approach to homeschooling, which i have always considered to be more of a lifestyle than a learning style, we began doing blessings at meals. this was a first for me...i had never been one for prayer or meditation, though i had ofter wanted to be. i do, however, value gratitude...

from there we began introducing ourselves to the many waldorf festivals, though we have only really "gotten into" a few. i really love this aspect of waldorf, the festivals rooted in tradition rather that commercialism (which is where i lose faith in so many of america's holidays :(

learning of saint francis & the way that he so unorthodox-edly surrendered himself wholly unto his love for god again ignited that flame of religious curiosity...

after reading our lesson stories of saint francis, i wanted more... so, i ordered "the life lessons of saint francis: how to bring simplicity & spirituality into your daily life" from paperback swap. i read the first pages when it arrived & was immediately drawn in...he is amazing! everything he teaches/practices really resonates with me. i am only on the second chapter, but from what i have read so far, this is the path i was already, albeit unknowingly, on.

i am reading with an open mind, and am excited to see where this journey takes me...

@ any rate, i apologize for that tangent, but this is all very new & exciting to me!
as for what we did lesson wise...
these are the books that i chose as resources for our lessons, although there are MANY more...
(this was our formal introduction to saint francis, truly a beautiful story)

(we read a page from this book each night before our bedtime story)

i have several other books on our paperback swap wish list:
*saint francis & the wolf, richard egielski

if you have read any of the above, please let me know how your & your family liked them.
for our main lesson work...
for our copy work, we worked our way through "the prayer of saint francis", a verse a day...
day #2, we drew our portrait...
on day #3, we recalled what we had learned of saint francis & wrote our summary...

may your own journey be blessed as well...


  1. oh beautiful. i do love that prayer. it is like a salve to my heart. i love reading about your waldorf homeschool journey as i embark on mine - i'm only at the forefront planning stages. my son is only 4. but, i do love looking through your window of what is to come. thank you for sharing. i really enjoyed your tangent. : )

  2. I have really missed seeing and reading about your homeschooling. Thank you for posting this. Love your blackboard drawing.

    Thanks also for your review of the Stories of the Saints book. I had been put off buying it from the Amazon review, but your description is lovely.

  3. This is one of the things I struggle with as a Christian, the lack of love that seems to be so prevalent from us as a "group". The thing I'm finally realizing is that I kept expecting people to be Jesus....not gonna happen:o) Now I'm trying to focus on who I want to be, not who I wish everyone else was. (If that makes sense.)

    That is one of my favorite prayers. I also had a hard time with going to church until I found the Episcopal/Anglican church. I've found most of the Priests to be awesomely educated thinkers who love to talk with me about possiblities and finding spirituality. I was pagan for most of my life, but converted a few years ago because of the Truth I could find here.

    St. Francis is awesome. Thank you for reminding me.:o) Oh, and the study my Priest is doing right now is out of a book called "Who we are is How we pray." Dr. Charles Keating. I've found it very interesting as it is showing some of how the apostles and saints lived their faith and how they saw God.

    Interesting stuff.:o)

    Love and laughter,


  4. thank you all for your comments on this post. i honestly debated posting about the spirituality of it all for fear that i might offend someone, as is often the case in this day & age. but honestly, i feel that if we are speaking from our own experiences & of our own spiritual paths, without judgement or hatred, religion & spirituality can both be quite palatable. religion being brought up is something that tends to cause everyone in the room to tense's not supposed to be like that. BUT with things being what they are, people judging everyone else on everything from the car they drive to the clothes they wear, the color of their hair to the number of piercing that he/she has. what religion is all about, from what i gather in my own limited experience, is LOVE...and is there anything the world really needs more of than LOVE?? i mean, really?? if we followed, or even attempted to follow, the amazing & yet simple words of saint francis & sought to love more than be loved, just imagine....

    to understand vs to be understood, to console vs to be consoled, the world would be a varitable utopia. in my opnion...

    thank you for the love & support. it is humbling to know that there are other who have been where i am now & have found their own paths as well...blessings!

  5. Jessi, my sweet friend. There really is someone or thing watching over you, and no, you won't fall into an abyss, b/c loving hands and feet will hold you up, if reach and ask for them.

    I am* what one might call "religious" but not b/c I enjoy dogma. Nobody does, I am what I am, b/c there is peace in my soul and there is a real living breath that enters my lungs and calms my heart, and it is not my own!

    Your path will wind and lead and go up and down, and there will be loved ones along that path to walk with you and hold you and rejoice with you, and that is just how we are made to be! my love to you, in the most humble loving way I say this to you. May you rejoice on your new path! xoxo