Marian Consecration for Children, in the Spirit of St. Thérèse
Inspired by the spirituality of the Little Flower, a new book on Marian devotion is for children of all ages.
When Blythe Kaufman started the first Children’s Rosary group in her parish in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 2011 to answer a call for help from the pastor, she had no idea it would soon spread to parishes throughout the United States — and worldwide (in 34 countries). Now her effort to have children consecrate themselves to Jesus through Mary is likely to spread even further, with the release of her book, Child Consecration: To Jesus Through Mary — Following in the Spirit of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, calls it “a wonderful means by which children can come to know God’s Blessed Mother in an easy and accessible way. I commend this book to parents and teachers, who will find here a solid and ready means to develop the spiritual and devotional life of children …”
Cardinal Raymond Burke recommends “it to parents who wish to introduce their children to Marian devotion and thus help them to give their hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, completely to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Cardinal Willem Eijk, wrote the preface; and Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Scotland, penned the foreword, stating, “As a pastor of souls I pray many parents will take it up, confident it has within it the grace to bring a great harvest for the Church and the world in the generations that lie ahead.” He calls it “a story that engages the imagination and senses and that is complimented by quite exquisite illustrations that lift the spirits with their innocent joy.” He adds that it is “a delightful book that seems effortlessly to helps parents and children to scale to great heights in a consecration to Jesus through Mary as real as that proposed by Saint Louis de Montfort to the most mature of Christian souls.”
St. Thérèse and an Allegory
Kaufman’s approach is unique, weaving the principal components of the St. Louis de Montfort consecration through spirituality connected with St. Thérèse, the Little Flower. “It is characterized by simplicity, confidence and trust.”
The book is an allegory, telling of a mother helping a child to grow a garden for the father. And “while this book can be understood by very young children, it is also well suited for older children,” Kaufman explained to the Register. “The lessons which can be learned in the book are timeless and relevant to even adults.” She sees that great benefit in having it “read aloud by a parent, grandparent or teacher to a child or group of children.”
Inspiration for Formation
“The souls of children are a most fertile soil,” Kaufman explained, “and as most gardeners know, having good soil is critical to yielding a bountiful harvest. Keeping soil free from disease and toxins is important. Children are pure and innocent, but many things today put this purity in jeopardy. It is a most challenging time to raise holy, pure children.”
Child Consecration gives youngsters “the opportunity to entrust themselves to Jesus through their Heavenly Mother while their life stands before them,” Kaufman pointed out. “The idea of preciousness of time, the importance of purity and trust in God are all addressed in turn in the book. Parents, catechists and teachers may find that in reading these stories to children they themselves are drawn closer to Our Lord and can find great spiritual benefits.”
Kaufman believes grandparents, too, are well-suited to share this book. “This consecration journey is an opportunity for grandparents to give their grandchildren a great spiritual gift that can serve as a spiritual rudder for them throughout their life.”
“The vocation of each of our children is to holiness,” she said, “and this time in prayer and entrustment to Jesus through Mary is an investment in their vocation to become future saints, something to which we are all called.”
Kaufman emphasized, “Our Lord always drew attention to the simplicity of children and emphasized this as the way we can reach heaven.”
Already, teachers and catechists are planning to make timely use of it.
At St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Birmingham, Alabama, Julie Cannova will be using the consecration book with her first-grade class. “This book is amazing and so vital at this moment,” she said, adding that already four other teachers are also ready to use it.
Cannova strongly sees the school’s “children drawing their families back to the faith,” she said. “I can see the children lovingly leading their families to this consecration, which we could read each day at school. The children are going to bring their families back. The beauty and simplicity of the prayers and trust in Jesus in the eyes of a child are powerful and life-changing for the family.”
At St. Katharine Drexel Church in Cape Coral, Florida, director of religious education Rose Talbot-Babey, former head of the catechism program in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, finds this children’s consecration “so exciting.”
She sees this as a “unique opportunity to ground the families and children in their faith in these times we’re living in. I really want to introduce this as part of our faith-formation program here to the children and adults to ground them to Our Lord through Our Lady.”
Because she’s done consecration with adults for several years in parishes, she said, “I know the life-changing power this can have in a person’s life and how much more needed today with our children.” She said the consecration “will keep our children and families close to Our Lord through Our Lady and give them all a greater devotion to the Rosary, a life of virtue and holiness as we all strive to become saints.”
Talbot-Babey will also implement the children’s consecration book at nearby St. Andrew Catholic Church and make it known to the Diocese of Venice.
Catechesis is foundation. Bishop Keenan detailed how this children’s consecration also weaves Catholic teachings into its daily readings. He wrote, in part, how it unfolds “day by day through the consecration journey: the panorama of the Scriptures; the wisdom of the Church; its elementary catechesis; its treasury of Holy Mass and the Sacraments; its essential prayers and devotions” and much more, making it “a quite exceptional manual for leading today’s children safely to Jesus around the pitfalls and temptations that abound in our modern culture.”
On a final note, Kaufman draws attention to the beautiful illustrations done by 11-year-old Abigail Ryan, a member of the Children’s Rosary community. “She began with the cover illustration at age 9 and painted the remaining illustrations over a span of two years,” Kaufman said. “There is something very special about having illustrations done by a child to accompany the book. The sweet beauty and simplicity of the illustrations give a testament to the hearts of children and all they can give to Our Lord.”
Child Consecration: To Jesus Through Mary — Following in the Spirit of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower is available through EWTNReligiousCatalogue.com, or call (800) 854-6316; Item No: 64336; also available through ChildConsecration.com.
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- joseph pronechen
- catholic children
- faith formation
- st. therese of lisieux
- st. louis de montfort
- consecration to jesus through mary