How to Create a Family Litany

Editor’s note: Today’s article by Lauren Gulde was originally written a few weeks ago for All Saints Day, but I thought it was so wonderful I asked Lauren if we could share it after the fact. I think you’ll still love praying in this way with your family! LMH

How to Create a Family Litany

All Saints Week – here we are! A week of beauty, starting with Halloween full of fun costumes and candy, All Saints Day with our holy heavenly friends, and ending with the ever hopeful and solemn All Soul’s Day, praying for those we love who have died. What a great time for our families to focus on the saints!

When I became Catholic, the lives of the saints were a rich treasure trove of interest and hope for me. I was blown away by these small, yet holy lives. These were real people that I could relate to and love and ask to pray for me! I love to encourage my family’s devotion to the saints.

One way to encourage this devotion is to write a litany of the saints for your family.

It’s simple, really, but I’ll go over a few pointers.

  • Start out with your family names – mother and father’s name saints and/or confirmations saints.
  • Add in your children’s name saints and/or confirmation saints. Also, any other family members that are special to you: Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles.
  • Does your family have a charism? Do you love St. Francis, or are you particularly devoted to St. Therese of Lisieux? Did you take a trip once to Sienna and walk the streets in awe of what she did way back in the 14th century? Do you live in a city named after a saint? San Antonio or St. Paul? List these special saints as well.
  • Now, think of your or your spouse’s occupation – who is the patron saint of your field? St. Matthew is the patron saint of accountants, St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle is the patron saint of teachers, Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of computer technicians and St. Veronica is the patron saint of laundry! Do some research, and learn why they lay claim to their area of ‘expertise’. Some are quite interesting! Can you tell me why St. Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of television? She WAS born in 1194…
  • Also, be sure to add in saints when you need support during certain times in your life. Is momma pregnant? Add in St. Gerard for 9 months. Is someone in your household applying for college?  St. Thomas Aquinas, here we come! Maybe you’re looking for a job. Solicit the prayers of St. Joseph and St. Cayetano. When your children are old enough, you can even assign them the task of researching which saint they’d like to add to the family litany. What a great way for children to explore the beautiful lives of the saints!

Here is the simple structure of a litany:

St. Mary, pray for us
St. Joseph, pray for us
All you holy men and women, pray for us

As your family grows, your family litany grows with you. Your family will become ever thankful for this special list of holy ones. And, just imagine… someday, when your children are on their own and come across an obstacle or special occasion in their lives. Your family saint may just pop into their mind out of pure habit and instinct. What a beautiful a gift!

Have a happy and holy All Saints Week!

“Each of you has a personal vocation which He has given you for your own joy and sanctity. When a person is conquered by the fire of His gaze, no sacrifice seems too great to follow Him and give Him the best of ourselves. This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord … and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone.”  ― Pope Benedict XVI

Copyright 2012 Lauren Gulde

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