This school year, students in a second-grade homeroom at St. Clement of Rome are learning that their good deeds and sacrifices, no matter how small, can lead them to sainthood.
On the day before the Oct. 1 feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, Mount Carmel religion teacher Jackie Favaro visited the homeroom of Nancy Giacone and Merrill Babin to tell the story of St. Therese, the classroom’s patron saint and the saint known for her “Little Way.”
“She made little sacrifices,” said Favaro of the saint who is also known by the names St. Therese, the Little Flower and St. Therese of the Child Jesus. “To become a saint, she did little, teenie things with great love – things that anybody could do.”
St. Therese’s “big secret,” Favaro said, was to do everything for God, even if it’s hard – like when you have to take a test.”
Favaro, whose teaching career includes stints at St. James Major, Our Lady of Divine Providence and St. Dominic, has had a special devotion to St. Therese for 35 years.
“She’s probably the most popular modern-day saint,” said Favaro of French-born St. Therese, who was born in 1873. “The first year I was at Mount Carmel, 10 years ago, 36 of our 78 eighth graders took Therese as their confirmation name,” said Favaro, who believes the saint’s popularity is due to her youth – she was just 15 when she entered the Carmelite convent and 23 when she died of tuberculosis.
“And what she did was so simple,” Favaro said. “Her whole way of living was whatever you do, whether you’re taking out the trash or doing something kind for someone, you do it out of love for God. You don’t have to be famous or do something big to be a holy person.
“So, if you take out the trash and say, ‘Lord, I’m offering this to you,’ and if you take out the trash and you don’t grumble, you’re making a little sacrifice,” Favaro told the second graders. “That’s how St. Therese became a saint, y’all. I’m not kidding you!”