Saturday, June 20, 2009

Little Flowers - Piety Part I

These ideas were developed by me for my local group and are not a part of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® created by Rachel Watkins. To purchase the excellent materials and begin your own local group, please visit

A week ago Friday, we did have a Little Flowers meeting. Sorry to those of you who wanted to see this post earlier. I am trying to find a balance in the use of my online time, but it is still a work-in-progress.

We met inside at our parish this time, as we will for the rest of the summer, and we moved the meetings to the mornings, since most families are not schooling full-time in the summer. Plus, due to the before-lunch meeting time, we are not doing snack during the meeting, so we have shortened the meeting from two hours to one and a half hours. With these changes, this past Friday's meeting seemed to fly a very good way! I was not nearly as exhausted as I usually am at the end of our afternoon meetings.

First, I thought we needed a new opening song to enjoy during the summer, so I came up with this little number:

(Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

I want to grow in virtue,
Virtue, virtue.
I want to grow in virtue,
Because I love you, God.

I love you, Lord, with all my heart,
All my soul, all my mind.
I love my neighbor as myself.
And obey my mom and dad.

I want to grow in virtue,
Virtue, virtue.
I want to grow in virtue,
Because I love you, God.

I modified a song I found in a book that was given to me a few years ago called Teach It - Early Childhood . It was verse two from "Law of Love" in that book that got me started. As usual, I prayed an offering and spontaneous prayer, followed by a group Hail Mary and the new song.

I was determined to keep the girls moving, since we were indoors. We began standing around our prayer table at one end of the rectangular classroom and then moved to sitting in chairs at the other end of the classroom for my teaching presentation. Piety was the new virtue with St. Cecelia as the saint and Forget-Me-Nots as the flower.

To begin, I wrote Piety on the white board (so glad to have a board!) and drew a lousy picture of a pie. I know it was lousy, because no one else knew what it was until I underlined the Pie in Piety. The rest of the family can draw anything; I can only copy pretty well. Anyway, I proceeded to act really giddy and say, "Great! We get to talk about pie today! Do you think we will eat any? What is your favorite kind of pie? Mine is chocolate meringue!" They looked at me very oddly, but my point was made.

Some of the girls tried to give me an explanation of piety, and they did a pretty good job. Here is the definition I gave them - "Piety is being obedient to your role in life; it is the fidelity or devotion to natural duties." We talked about how some people think piety means praying all the time, and I asked them if they thought I would be pious if I read my Bible all day long, ignoring my children completely and not doing laundry or cooking meals or anything. Of course, they were appalled I would even consider such a thing, especially my daughter, whose expression here was priceless!

We talked about all the different devotions and prayers our families practice and some that we have heard of but do not know much about - Rosary, Sacred Heart, scapulars, prayer cards, holy water, Mass, etc... I stressed that these things are all important but that being prayerful is more important than saying prayers. Piety means doing everything you have to do as a service done to God and practice our devotions with a heart of love within. (Here I reminded them of the hardened heart and the gentle heart, like in obedience with the cooked and raw eggs.)

I explained that since piety is something that encompasses our whole lives and every moment of the day, the Forget Me Not flower is appropriate, so that we are reminded constantly not to forget God in everything that we do! Then, I read to them a story about St. Cecelia from
Sixty Saints for Girls by Joan Windham. The story was longer when I read it aloud compared to when I read it at home, but it was the best living story about St. Cecelia I could find that was appropriate for all ages, although it does mention briefly that they tried to chop her head off three times and failed (I rushed through that part but still saw some cringes.).

If you do not know, Cecelia took a vow of virginity but was obligated to be married. On her wedding night, she told her husband that her angel was a constant guardian over her body, so she could not consummate the marriage. He was so angry, being an atheist, that he was determined to become a Christian, just so he could see the angel. He became a Christian, and they worked together to convert others. But, you can see this story would be difficult to tell to young children. The Windham version of the story simply talks about the angel that her husband cannot see and wants to see, skipping the references to her virginity and body.

After that long tale, which is quite hilarious at parts, I quickly moved the girls into their rose groups to begin the craft. For the summer, I did decide to adjust the groups based on birthdays. In January, groups were set up based on the age each girl would be by May 31. This time I did it based on September 30, since we will start a new wreath in October. A few girls were moved up to the next group, which balanced the groups nicely. (Aimee Vibert roses are 4 & 5. Duchesse de Montebello roses are 6 & 7. Salet roses are 8 & 9. Louis Philippe roses are 10 & 11.)

This was the craft, thanks to Oriental Trading Company! Who would have thought they had a Catholic craft? It was simple, and the girls enjoyed it! I brought printed pictures of St. Cecelia for them to put inside the boxes, as well, to remind them to say their Rosaries piously.

For the activity, in honor of St. Cecelia, I taught the girls a song. I had actually printed out song sheets previously for several songs, so we could choose a couple, but the time was so tight, we just did one. This is the song I taught them, which they enjoyed. It is meant to be sung faster and faster as you repeat it over and over. I do not sing well, nor play an instrument, so this worked well, although I had brought CD accompaniment for the other three songs on the sheet.
I am a C
I am a C
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
And I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T
And I will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y
Finally, we learned the new scripture song for piety from the Little Flowers CD. I always print out the words in size 60+ font and tape them to a colored posterboard and hold it up for the girls to follow as they sing. Only the littlest ones cannot read.
Our closing prayers are always the St. Therese prayer, reading the intention list the girls write on before and during the meeting, and reciting a short litany of all of the saints we have met in this wreath, so far. Then, we passed out the St. Cecelia coloring page and the project sheet for piety. This is what the project sheet looks like.

This particular meeting was simple and fun, which worked well to get the summer started. We had a few new families join us, as well, so I wanted them to feel included right away. I gave those girls their folders and bags and passed out the St. Therese medals for them to pin on their sashes just before closing prayers.

Per the request of the official Little Flowers Girls Club ® I have removed the downloadable patch project sheets and practice pages. If you are interested in learning about how I used these documents in my group, please contact me directly.

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