St. Jane Frances de Chantal ~ Love of Our Neighbor

 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18

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I held my 6th Little Flowers meeting on the First Saturday of February.   My group was invited to a Tea Party with the older girls’ group, RMGS – Rosa Mystica Girls Society. The girls eagerly arrived with their tea cups in hand. About 15 Little Flowers attended Mass as group. The remaining girls attended with their families.

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We were scheduled to study St. Francis Xavier Cabrini and the virtue of industry but I decided to go with St. Jane Frances de Chantal and Love of Our Neighbor.  I thought it was most fitting since we would be sharing fellowship with other young ladies “neighbors” and St. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

The children didn’t mind but I did cause a thorn for the mom who signed up for snacks. She lovingly planned a special treat that was to coordinate with industry and the daffodil. She graciously accepted the news that the saint had been moved to another month.

There were 28 girls in attendance. Five of which joined us after their Communion lessons. The parish gym was transformed into a lovely tea room.

Father L also made an appearance. I, however, failed to have the girls stop their activities to greet Father. It was hectic and I didn’t think I could pull it off and by the time I made the resolution to have the girls properly greet father, he was gone. I regret not making an effort immediately when he entered the tea room.

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The girls were served tea and invited to be first to the treat table.P2050026

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My mom-team and I were diligently working with girls on using manners and proper etiquette.

P2050001As expected, the girls got wrapped up in the novelty of tea. They enjoyed pouring the milk and plunking their sugar cubes into their tea. They even took delight in smelling their tea and touching their cups for the warmth. They did not, however, care for the tea itself. Thank goodness my snack mom had the forethought to bring juice boxes.

The girls washed their tea cups and the mom-team labeled the cups with their names so they would be certain to make it home.

Then the girls were briefly excused from their tables for some wiggle time. They met in the corner of the tea room. This gave us a chance to clear the tables and prep them for our craft.

Elissa's camera dumo 2.8Each table received a pack of gold heart frames, a selection of (unused) cards to repurpose, red craft papers, an assortment of heart foam stickers and art supplies. The girls were given little instruction. They were encouraged to create wonderful masterpieces of love. I visited each table while the girls were crafting. I shared the story of St. Jane Frances de Chantal.

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St. Jane Frances de Chantal grew up in a devout home and married a man whom she loved. Together, they had 6 children, 2 of which died. Her husband was killed by his friend in a tragic hunting accident. Before his death he offered his friend forgiveness. St. Frances de Chantal could not bring herself to forgive the man that killed her husband. It took her many years to open herself up to God’s grace and be able to forgive. She eventually forgave the man and became close friends with his family. She even became his son’s Godmother. St. Jane Frances de Chantal lived a holy life and sought direction from St. Francis de Sales. She was eventually directed (by St. Francis de Sales) to start her own order. She served her destitute neighbors with great love.

The children were asked to brainstorm who their neighbors were. They were able to list five different examples before coming to the realization that we are all neighbors, including their family members. The girls shared ideas how they could show their love for their neighbors, each other.

It was lovely to see and hear their excitement of sharing their created cards with their neighbors. Some of the girls even shared their cards with friends at the tea party.Love of Our Neighbor Craft - love notesThe girls were encouraged to find ways to love their neighbors. I think that I may coordinate a parish project for the girls. It would be a great way to show their love of neighbor, their parish community.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Ora Pro Nobis

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“My dear daughters, let us not have illusions; it is necessary that for our affection, to be blessed by God, it has to be equal and uniform for all, for our Savior has not ordered us to love some more than others, but He has said: Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ St. Jane Frances de Chantal

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HANDOUTS:

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"The motive behind the love you profess for your sisters should only come from the womb of God; if it is outside of it, then it is worth nothing . . . . When this union with our sisters is more pure, more general and more complete, only then will our union with God be greater.” ~ St. Jane Frances de Chantal

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Me with an exhausted Dragonfly.

Thank you to my mom-team who lent a helping hand.  I couldn’t do it without you!

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