Saint for a New Millennium"
Links for Learners
by Lynn and Bob Gillen
The following Links
for Learners resource is offered to those who would like to use St.
Anthony Messenger in an educational setting or for further study
at home. This resource is prepared with high school students in mind,
but can be adapted for other age groups. We will feature one article
for further study each month. Back issues, beginning in May 1997, contain
this resource. Up until December 1998 it was called a teacher's guide
or classroom resource. Teachers with access to computer labs should
encourage students to access the article directly online. Students have
our permission to print out a copy of the article for classroom use.
We encourage you to subscribe to the print edition of St. Anthony
Messenger, where you will see all of the graphics, and more articles
that you might find useful on a variety of topics. Please let us know
how we can improve this service by sending feedback to StAnthony@franciscanmedia.org.
Please see our links disclaimer located
at the end of this document.
This month's "Links for Learners" will support
- Religion - Christian life-styles; living the gospel; comparative
religion; ecumenism; prayer.
- World History - Francis and Clare; 12th-century life and values;
Understanding Basic Terms in This Month's Article
Look for these key words and terms as you
read the article. Definitions or explanations can be researched from
the article itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout
this month's "Links for Learners."
Catholic Worker Movement
Biographical Information on Francis of Assisi
This month's article offers reflections on the life of
Francis of Assisi. To find out more about this remarkable man's historical
background, try these resources:
American Catholic Online's "St.
Francis of Assisi, Lover of All Creation" feature offers helpful
For information on both Francis and Clare, the orders they founded,
their rules of life and how they supported one another in prayer, see
the official home page of the Order of
Friars Minor, the largest branch of the Franciscan family.
here for further reflection on the life of Francis of Assisi.
Francis and Peace
The Peace Prayer, attributed to St. Francis, certainly reflects the
holy man's approach to life. Try using the Peace Prayer as a framework
for discussing how we can better live the gospel message of Jesus. See
the site http://www.aiusa.com/JBLIZZ/franpray.htm
for the text of the prayer.
Mutual respect, mutual forgiveness: These were the watchwords
of Francis. He sought to replace hatred with love, conflict with forgiveness.
He believed that mutual forgiveness restores balance and harmony to
the lives of Christians and other believers.
Are you familiar with the band Los Lobos? Its members come from the
tough streets of East Los Angeles. On their CD, The Neighborhood,
listen to the lyrics of the title song. It's a prayer of thanksgiving
and peace. They thank the Lord for each day; they pray for their brothers;
they beg the Lord to bring peace to the neighborhood. What similar expressions
can you find within the media for prayers of peace and forgiveness?
Look at the business magazine Forbes (11/30/98, p. 160) for a
good example of selfless commitment to others. The article "Life
Is Too Precious to Waste" tells the story of Lisa Landi, a woman
afflicted with AIDS. Determined not to waste her life, Ms. Landi visits
schools to talk to teens about AIDS. She will not live out her days
in hatred and bitterness over her situation, but rather will promote
forgiveness and awareness.
How about your own life? Talk about where you find conflict.
Can you turn it to love? Here are a few examples. Try developing some
of your own.
* Where are the opportunities to be an instrument of peace? When your
younger siblings argue, can you act out of love and find ways to help
them reconcile, without waiting for intervention from your parents?
* Where can you turn hatred to love? When a friend or classmate says
"I hate her, she's so... (smart, pretty, stupid, different),"
can you find a kind word for the one despised?
* Where can you replace injury with pardon? It's easy to seize on an
unkind word someone throws our way, and nurture the wound into a major
feud. How can you forgive and put it behind you?
* Where can you shine the light of truth on errors and
lies? Do you prolong an error by simply neglecting to tell the truth?
Are you afraid to speak up to right a wrong? Will you let a sibling
or classmate take the rap for something you did?
* How can you bring your faith as a support to someone experiencing
doubt and uncertainty? If a friend or classmate loses a parent or a
sibling, do you reach out in genuine support? Do you share your faith
in a quiet but clear way, or do you just stay out of the way and leave
the person to struggle alone?
* Where do you offer hope as an antidote to despair? Do you have a friend
who has considered suicide, or a friend who is bent on self-destruction
through drugs or alcohol or indiscriminate sexual activity? What hope
can you offer from your own life, your own prayer or belief system?
Can you live in an attitude of trust when people, even parents, let
you down? What is your response to an alcoholic parent: Never trust
anyone again, or struggle to be open and to trust others?
* Where can you spread light to counteract someone's darkness, or perhaps
your own darkness? Do you continually fight with your parents? Do you
resist accepting and loving a stepparent? Do you refuse to see the new
love in your birth parent's life as a source of joy for him or her?
Is it easier to sulk and make life miserable for all of you? Christ's
light is there. Look for it.
* Where do you replace sadness with joy, unhappiness with a smile?
Francis and Prayer
Prayer can be a source of life and support for each of us. Clare supported
Francis in his efforts at charity by praying for him. She founded a
religious order specifically for the purpose of praying for others engaged
in working with people in need. But where do we go for support? Where
do we pray? How do we find the words to express what we feel?
You might find it helpful to begin and end each day with a few moments
of prayer. Try the daily "Minute Meditation" at St.
Anthony Messenger Press's site. This same site invites you to pray
along with an audio
recording of Mother Teresa. Perhaps you can turn to your PC and
the Internet for prayer. Look at the site http://www.mcgill.pvt.k12.al.us/jerryd/cm/prayer.htm,
which will give suggestions and examples for improving your prayer life.
Choose items such as "time" or "place" or "basic
facts" from the site. This site also offers methods for learning
meditation, including prayers and body postures.
If your school has its own Web page, create an online
haven for fellow students or teens like yourselves. Develop it as a
prayer source to open and close each day. If you don't have a school
Web site, spread the word among your schoolmates about existing sites
devoted to prayer.
Many schools and youth programs conduct retreats. Some are simply annual
class or grade activities, a one-day break from the routine to pray,
talk and reflect. Other retreats are timed for significant life moments
such as Confirmation or the culmination of your high school years (kairos
retreats, for example). In any case, a retreat is an infrequent event.
But it's possible to relive that event occasionally as a means of refreshing
our spiritual selves.
Individually, or as a part of a small group, you can go
through a virtual retreat online. See the site
http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/index.html, sponsored by Passionist
The Psalms can be a nourishing form of prayer, especially when we can't
find words for our own prayer. See the site
http://www.dsj.org. This is the Web site for the Diocese of San
Jose, California. Click on "Prayers" and then "Psalms."
The site suggests which psalms to pray in special need or circumstance.
Or see http://www.taize.fr/en/index.htm
for help in finding daily Bible verses to encourage your prayer.
You can click here to receive daily prayers and verses by e-mail.
Taize is a community of Christian brothers in France.
An additional resource is http://www.rider.edu/users/phanc/cathmin/index.htm.
The Catholic Campus Ministry of Rider University in New Jersey offers
prayers for college students in various circumstances (exams, loneliness),
plus examples of Christian service and ministry.
Respect for God's Creation
Have you heard of the woman who has spent a year living 200 feet up
in a 1000-year-old redwood tree to prevent logging companies from cutting
down the trees? Whether her methods are right or wrong, her motivation
appears to be respect for God's creation.
St. Francis certainly had praise for God's world. How
can we develop a stronger respect as well? Service projects such as
cleaning up beaches, canyons and parks help. So do recycling efforts
and conservation projects. Talk about how you can offer praise for God's
creation in your own way. Develop service projects that will support
You may get some ideas from these sample sites:
The Millennium Institute
offers information on what's being done to preserve our earth for
Try checking in with the
Ecology Action Center, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Francis encouraged Christians to live in peace with individuals of other
faiths. For just this reason, he is often revered by believers other
than Catholics. Some have noted that world history would certainly have
played out differently if more people followed the openness and respect
modeled by Francis of Assisi.
You can promote such an attitude of respect in your own circle of
influence. Modeled, perhaps, on the weekly PBS show Religion and
Ethics Newsweekly, you can develop a discussion group (ongoing or
one-time) to promote mutual understanding between faiths or other
disparate groups. Invite a panel of religious leaders to address
your class or school assembly. Or invite teens of other faiths,
perhaps your own classmates, to share their beliefs with you in
a class discussion. If you have a video production class, try taping
the discussion for airing at a later date for other classes or the
Or perhaps your school has a rivalry with a neighboring school. Such
rivalries can be fun and encourage competition. But they can also sometimes
lead to hard feelings, vandalism and an attitude of disrespect. You
can find ways to promote inter-school visits for discussion. Search
for common understandings, mutual philosophies and beliefs. Again, try
videotaping a discussion for broadcast to both school campuses. Talk
about role models for each school. Who are they? What are their qualities?
What do you have in common?
Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference.
Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading
articles contained within the site's archives.
http://www.nytimes.com/ - The New
http://www.latimes.com/ - The Los
http://www.time.com/ - Time magazine
http://www.cnn.com/ - CNN
http://www.msnbc.com/ - MSNBC
- This site will take you to a number of online publications.
http://wire.ap.org/ - The Associated
- The Chicago Tribune
http://www.people.com - People magazine
The Washington Post
The History Channel
http://www.herald.com - The Miami
http://www.closeup.org - The Close
http://abcnews.go.com/ - ABC News
Channel One's online resource
The links contained within this resource guide are functional
at the time the page is posted. Over time, however, some of the links
may become ineffective.
These links are provided solely as a convenience to you
and not as an endorsement by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan
Communications of the contents on such third-party Web sites. St. Anthony
Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for the
content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations
regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web
sites. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do
so at your own risk.