This Month’s Virtue is: CHARITY
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
- Explain to your child that charity means to help those in need. God wants us to be generous as He is generous with everybody.
Share the story of the widow’s offering with your child. In Mark 12:41-44 Jesus is watching people at the temple as they approach to give their offerings. In the crowd, He notices a poor elderly widow. As the many rich people come by and put money in the offering box, the poor widow walks up and very slowly places the last two coins in her possession in the offering. Jesus tells his disciples that her offering is most pleasing to God and worth more than the bigger offerings because she has given so much from the very little she has.
The best way to encourage charity in your child is to be a role model and setting a good example yourself. When you donate or help someone in need take time to explain it to your child, let them see what you’re doing and educate them on who you are helping
Explain to your child that charity can take many forms. It can be a monetary offering to the church, time helping someone with a problem or homework, or sharing something that could help someone like a pencil or paper.
- Teaching the virtue of charity is also a good time to teach money management. If your child receives an allowance, encourage setting aside a portion for charity. It could be as small as 5% or 10%. Explain to your child the importance of sharing our blessings with others and no matter how small or large the donation any amount counts!
Express to your child the importance of making a positive impact in their community: helping a student with their schoolwork, picking up litter on the playground, helping a classmate learn a sport, or offering encouragement when someone makes a mistake. Offering someone a compliment to cheer them. These are all positive impacts we can have on people in our community, at school or in our homes
Make an upcoming birthday a charitable event. Instead of gifts, ask for donations to their favorite charity. Gifts could be money to donate or items. For example, books to donate to a local children’s shelter. Another could be dog or cat food to donate to the local animal shelter.
Research a charity or nonprofit online and learn about the people they serve. Schedule some time to volunteer or make a donation. Some charities you could consider are Smile Train, UNICEF and of course, Oblate Missions!
Find ways to encourage your child to be charitable. Some suggestions could be serving others first before themselves at dinner, helping clean up after dinner, holding the door for someone, calling someone to say hello and see how they are doing, giving someone else first choice on something like choosing what to watch on television or playing with a particular toy.
Download the activity sheet. Make your September list of charitable acts and see how many you can check off this month! Be sure to add a few of your own! Keep track of any that you do more than once, and see how many you do in a month!
- Download the activity sheet
Saint of the Month for September, St. Gertrude the Great
“Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14).
St. Gertrude the Great, or St. Gertrude of Helfta, was born in Germany on January 6, 1256. She lived during the same time as many of the popular saints, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Dominic. We do not know too much about her parents or her family—some say she might have been an orphan.
Gertrude entered a monastery school when she was five years old. She was very smart and earned a very good education, which was uncommon for women in her time.
St. Gertrude was known for being charming and kind, and people were drawn to her. he entered the Benedictine Order at Helfta and became a nun. She devoted herself to her studies and excelled in many different subjects. Gertrude was fluent in several languages, and she is considered a great theologian—someone who studies God and religion.
St. Gertrude has a great devotion to the souls in Purgatory. She often expressed how important it is to pray for souls in Purgatory and even wrote a prayer for them. It is said that when someone says the prayer it releases 1,000 souls from Purgatory:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said throughout the world today,
for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family.
St. Gertrude also had visions and was described as a mystic. She would record these experiences in her journals. She also loved to write about the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Gertrude was never officially canonized as a saint. In 1606, over 300 years after her death, Pope Paul V approved a liturgical office of prayer, readings and hymns in her honor. In 1738, Pope Clement XII extended the Feast of St. Gertrude to the Universal Church. She is still recognized as a saint who is praying for us among the communion of saints. To separate her from Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn, Pope Benedict XIV gave her the title, “the Great,” making her the only woman saint to be called, “the Great.”
On November 17, 1301, St. Gertrude passed away. On November 16, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Gertrude the Great. She is the Patroness of the West Indies and Her intercession is also often asked for the souls in purgatory.
Child’s Prayer to St. Gertrude the Great
St. Gertrude, please be my friend.
Help me to be like you and practice charity with others and to share the gifts God has given me every day.
Pray for me so I might serve the poor and others in their time of need.
St. Gertrude the Great, pray for us!
Click here to download your coloring sheet and please send me your prayer requests and petitions in the form below!