Saturday, October 24, 2009

Early Christian Martyrs Musical Chairs

Here is my Early Christian Martyrs Muscial Chairs. The images and stories I have made and written (anyone is welcome to click on the images to enlarge and download to use) are the crux of this game. It is set up like a normal musical chairs game EXCEPT, have a chair for each child, rather than having one short.

There should be an image attached to the back of each chair and when the music is played the children walk around, as soon as the music stops they sit on a chair. Then the adult reads aloud one the saints stories. I've written them to be short and sweet, this is important or you will loose your little audience, but they will learn even those these stories are short.

As they hear the story they need to work out whether it is connected to the symbols attached to the chair. If it is, they are out of the game! Their chair is removed, the music continues. It goes on like that until only one chair and child is left standing. If you have say 30 children, allow children to pair up for this game holding hands.

Now I know there is no real need for the children to be walking to music each time and continually be sitting on a new chair but it keeps it to the tradition of this game. It would just lessen the fun to sit on the same chair until eliminated.

Here is the story for the image above:

"St Agatha was a christian girl who caught the eye of a very evil man, when she rejected his evil advances he threw her into a house of evil hoping to break down her will. He failed. So he had her brought before the Judges for being a christian. They used pinchers and sticks to tear at her body and threw her into prison to die, but St Peter healed her. They then threw her upon a fire and she soon died. Her veil has protected the city of Catana from volcano eruptions and war. "

"There was once a young christian girl who was very pure and holy. A young pagan man wished to marry her but she refused, so he had her dragged in front of the judges for being a christian. They ordered that she be humilitated and walked through the street with no clothes, but God allowed her hair to grow and cover the whole of her body. This enraged the evil men so they had her tortured and killed with a sword. Her name is St Agnes, which means 'lamb'."

"St Barbara was a secret christian as her father hated them. One day he ordered a tower built with two windows, but St Barbara had the builders add a third window. When her father asked why, she said it was to honour the Blessed Trinity. He was so angry he dragged her to the judge to be condemned to death by beheading. Her wicked father carried out the order and was immediately struck by lightning and killed. St Barbara is often drawn holding the Eucharist."

"St Apollonia was an elderly, christian lady who was arrested during one of the Christian persecutions. When she was condemned they tortured her by pulling and knocking out all her teeth. They then lit a bonfire and asked St Apollonia to blaspheme and renounce Christ or burn to death. She refused and chose the fire, by promptly throwing herself into it. St Apollonia is the patroness of toothaches and dentists."

"St Catherine was a holy girl who studied hard. When she heard that the christians were being persecuted she went to the Emperor and publicly preached to him and his court, many were converted by her wise words but it only enraged the Emperor more. He ordered that she be put to death on a spiked wheel, but when she touched it, it fell apart. They beheaded her and the angels carried her body to Mt Sinai where a monastery was built in her honour."

"St Sebastian was a Roman soldier but when he heard about Jesus he became a christian. The Mayor of Rome heard that he was a christian and he asked about Jesus. St Sebastian spoke so beautifully, the Mayor converted. This enraged many and he was arrested and condemned to death by arrows, but he did not die. Christian ladies found him and nursed him to health. He then went straight back to the judge to tell him about Jesus but he had him clubbed to death."

" St Cecilia was a beautiful, christian girl. A young pagan man wanted to marry her but she refused, she wanted only to belong to God. This enraged the man. When he stepped forward with his brother to force her, they saw her guardian angel standing at her side. They converted immediately. All three were later arrested for being christians and martyred. St Cecilia was heard praising God by singing to Him, as she lay dying a martyr's death."

"St Dorothy was a young girl whose parents had already been martyred. Soon the soliders came for her too. It was winter when there were no fruit or flowers. As she went to her death a pagan lawyer laughed at her and asked her to send her fruit or roses from Heaven. Just before St Dorothy died a little heavenly child stood by her side with a basket of three apples and three roses, he gave them to the lawyer and he converted, he later became a martyr as well."

" St Ignatius was an early bishop of Antioch. One day he decided to travel to Rome, along the journey he wrote six letters to Churches in the region and one to a fellow Bishop. Upon entering Rome he was arrested and then taken to the famous Colosseum to become sport for the pagan crowds. He was taken out into the arena to be eaten by the lions. His body is now buried in St Peter's basillica in Rome."

" St Jude Thaddeus was a relative and an apostle of Jesus. After the crucifixion he went to many Middle Eastern regions and later to Edessa where he was known as Thaddeus of Edessa. It is believed that he may have taken the shroud to Edessa where it was folded and framed in such a way that only the head of Jesus was visible and this is why he is drawn holding an image of Our Lord's head. He was eventually martyred with St Simon the apostle with spiked clubs and axes."

" St Lawrence was a deacon of the Church, in charge of it's treasures and the poor. The Romans arrested him in order to seize the Church's riches. St Lawrence asked for 3 days to gather it, in that time he took the riches including the cup of Christ and hid them away. He then went to the Romans and showed them the poor and sick, saying they were the real treasures of the Church. The enraged Romans wanted him to die slowly on a hot grill, St Lawrence just laughed and asked to be turned over, as he was cooked on that side. "

" St Lucy was a holy girl who wanted to give herself to God. Her mother wished her to marry until she fell ill and was miraculously cured by St Agatha. A pagan man asked to marry her. She refused. He suspected she was a christian and had her brought before the Judges. She was condemned and tortured. They tried to burn her but could not, they put out her eyes but God restored her eyes. Finally they put a sword through her heart and her soul flew to heaven. "

" St Philomena was a young, christian princess whom the Emperor Diocletian fell in love with. When she refused to marry him he had her tortured. She was whipped but angels healed her. An anchor was placed around her neck and she was thrown in the river but angels lifted her out. They tried to kill her with arrows but they turned on the bowmen instead. Finally she was beheaded. Her dried blood in a crystal urn often changes into precious stones, gold and silver."

" St Stephen was the first martyr. He spoke about Jesus and converted many in the Holy Land. The Jews were furious. They had him arrested but St Stephen talked to them about Jesus being God which angered them further. So they dragged him out of town to be stoned to death. A man named Saul held the cloaks of the killers, he would one day become St Paul. As they stoned him, St Stephen saw the heavens part and Jesus coming down to take his soul into glory. "

"St Tarsicius was a boy martyr who loved Jesus in the Holy Eucharist very much. He often carried the Eucharist for the priest in the city. One day on the Appain Way in Rome some pagan boys saw him hurrying along with something in his arms. They demanded that he show them what he was carrying but he rufused so they beat him to death. When they opened his arms the Eucharist had miraculously disappeared. He had protected Jesus and Jesus took him to heaven."

"St George was a christian roman solider. When travelling through Libya he fought and killed a dinosaur terrorizing a township. The frightened people drew straws to take a person out daily to feed to the dragon after they had run out of sheep to offer it. The day St George killed the dragon a local princess' life had been saved. Later the Emperor Diocletian ordered that all soldiers must sacrifice to their gods, St George refused and was tortured and then beheaded."


Michelle said...

Annie: I know that these saints are now in heaven and that we can be truly inspired by their courage. However, their stories are so sad and the torment is horrible. Please help me to explian this to my young children in a way that they are not scared. Any advice you can offer; I will be happy to accept. Thank you!

Anne (aussieannie) said...

Thank you for your question Michelle. Suffering is a mystery, but it is only through the cross do we gain heaven. The martyrs imitated Christ in all things, what makes them so unique is that their imitation also extended to their deaths as well.

Their deaths are horrible but Our Lord's death on the cross was actually far more horrific than that and yet the symbol of His death we hold as our standard and
'banner'! If your children are comfortable with the understanding of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, maybe you can show the comparisons?

The martyr's horrible deaths are the beautiful gateway to eternal happiness with Christ. I would focus on that. When you read my little biographies, you will notice that with some, I finish with, "and their soul flew to heaven" etc, maybe you can add similar endings to all the stories? Things like, "and the glorious light of heaven filled their eyes." St Cecilia for eg: "The celestial music of heaven was now joining with her sweet song." St Dorothy, "St Dorothy's parents were waiting in heaven to reunite with their dear daughter."

The cross can be a hard thing for some sensitive little children to understand when they are little. I remember one of my daughters asking me over and over again, every day for months, "Why did Jesus die on the cross?" I'd give the answer and I did that so many times that in the end when she asked I would say, "can you tell me why?" and she give me my answer back perfectly, word for word! It was her beautiful, unique way in grasping this hard reality.

In Maria Von Trapp's autobiography she talks about her earliest memories in the book, her aunty would read to her about the faith, the images of Christ's crucifixion were as vivid in her mind as she wrote then as they had been when she was a child! Her aunty caught her trying to stick a knitting needle through the eyes of the images drawn of soldiers!! It was just so real for her and horrible. But it was the beautiful basis of a strong faith, full understanding of that scene came later ~ that the good Jesus who died for me, did that for love.

I hope that helps a little Michelle! God Bless!

Michelle said...

Annie; Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this for me and my children. I will use you explanations. Saints are such an important part of our Catholic faith and I want to celelbrate them. Thank you for your help and understanding!! I enjoy reading your blog daily.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

My pleasure, Michelle!