Sunday, November 29, 2015

Free Saint Francis Xavier Coloring Page

In the whirl of activity characterizing the start of Advent, the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier may get overlooked. But this amazing missionary priest, who converted more than 50,000 people, definitely merits special attention on Dec. 3, his feast day.

Click picture to get the free printable

This helpful super-short video gives a glimpse into Saint Francis Xavier's life... and can help nurture your curiosity to find out more!

Download your free Saint Francis Xavier coloring page, and have fun learning about this saint.

Happy Advent season!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Free Blessed Miguel Pro Coloring Page Activity

Need a Blessed Miguel Pro coloring page for his upcoming feast day? I have one for you!

Just print out the downloadable free Bl. Miguel Pro triptych here or by clicking the box below.

Next, you'll need to color the page and embellish it if you like.

Then cut the coloring page out and paste/glue it onto thicker paper. (I used red construction paper because red reminds me of Miguel's martyrdom.)

After the glue is dry, just cut around the triptych shape, leaving some space so your colored paper shows.

Ta-da! You've a lovely, colorful Blessed Miguel Pro triptych to display on his feast day... and every day. (And if you do make one, feel free to tag me at paper_dali on Instagram or share your picture via email at mypaperdali[at]gmail.com.)

Get the free Blessed Miguel Pro coloring page here. And read on for more details about his life and reasons why he's a favorite at Paper Dali.

A Brief Overview of His Life

(from a classic Paper Dali post)

The story of Blessed Miguel Pro begins just like it does for so many little boys. He loves his family, he likes to play and sing and goof around. He even gets into trouble ... quite regularly.

Miguel, however, ends up becoming deathly sick at some point, and through the prayers of his family, God's goodness and the intercession of Mary, he miraculously pulls through it. His first words? "I want some cocol." Cocol became his nickname as a child and then later on, his code name during his clandestine minisry.

Blessed Miguel is such a lively person. He has this gift for storytelling, for being just funny and sweet. He plays tricks on his friends, gets involved in wordplay, dances, puts on plays, and even goes through a rough period in school (which isn't kind to Catholics).

But his life isn't ideal. His family is involved in the mines, so he knows first-hand about the hardship of the poor and struggling. His parents teach him about charity. So often does Miguel go to help out that the miners themselves start using his nickname, the Little Miner.

And when President Calles in 1917 begins his anti-Catholic provisions, the Catholic people in Mexico become deeply persecuted. Bl. Miguel Pro continues, however, in his vocation. He undergoes tests (both spiritual, physical and intellectual) to become a priest. He has the reputation for being funny ... to the point that the priests at the seminary wonder if he can take his vocation seriously.

 While he waits to discuss his vocation with the head of the seminary, he is already being put through a test. First, they make him wait.

And wait. And wait. And wait. And, oh, yes, wait some more.

And then, as he waits, he gets to "overhear" from other students about how hard and grueling the entire seminary is. He is given every opportunity to flee, but he doesn't. He knows his calling. It's this same mix of perseverance, single-mindedness and even humor that make Miguel such a favorite here.

Though he is constantly in danger of being caught for the crime of being a Catholic priest, he continues to celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, and reach out to help the poor and hungry and lonely. If he had to dress like an old lady, a fancy-pants gentleman, a mechanic or, in one case, even as a policeman, so be it.

He seems to thrive in the circumstances.

One of our favorite stories is when Miguel was heading to celebrate Mass at a "secret" location. Apparently, it wasn't a very good secret, for the police officers were there, waiting for this renagade priest to show up. Somehow, Miguel had gotten a police uniform, which he wore to the house. He told the police officer outside the door, "I heard that there's a priest going inside. I'm going to check it out!" And then, he went in, performed his priestly duties, and then came outside once more. When asked about the priest, he answered, "There was a priest inside the house. But now, he's not there!"

His encounter with a communist is recounted in Ann Ball's book. It's funny and wise, just as Blessed Miguel Pro was. When the communist tells Miguel that he believes in sharing, Miguel says he does, too. When the communist describes the urge to help the poor, Miguel chimes in that he feels the same way. And when he is shown a threatening weapon, Miguel says he has the greatest weapon of all ... and he takes his rosary from his pocket to show the man.

When Miguel Pro is eventually caught and sentenced to death, he shows the same clarity and poise that marks every story about him. He forgives those who are about to kill him, he says a prayer, and he does not remain silent but cries out a triumphant, "Viva Cristo Rey!"

This final cry has been an inspiration to countless people. And in my own life, I find myself often referring to that shout amid the strange, upside-down world we live in. He was a radical and a rebel because he cared about the poor, the homeless, abandoned children, because he lived his life to the fullest in service of others.

Why He's a Favorite of Mine

Every now and then, a saint will befriend you. Either you start noticing that the same saint keeps being mentioned to you in conversations or showing up in the books and movies and statues around you. And you think, "Maybe I should look more closely into the life of this saint."

And then other saints burst into your life with such energy and noise that you can't help but fall in love with them immediately.

One of the saints who broke open my life with his vitality is Blessed Miguel Pro. I'd been perusing books at a Catholic shop in Los Angeles and felt compelled to buy Ann Ball's book "Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Martyr."

Now, the book cover is some Very Serious Business:

It looks like the other 3048232984023339482043424 books about saints. And he's a martyr, which is uber-serious. And I already have St. Maximilian Kolbe as my go-to martyr heavenly friend.

But what got me was the whole "20th century martyr" and a blurb on the back that described the anti-Catholicism of the Mexican persecution. "What?" I asked aloud. "I didn't know Mexico had persecuted Catholics recently."

And so history geek that I am, I bought the book.

Life's been different ever since I read it.

Meeting Bl. Miguel Pro was like meeting the big brother I'd always wanted. Stories about his mischievous youth, hilarious antics, love of music and drawing, the scrapes he got into... these all introduced me to a saint who was so interesting, energetic, hilarious, and faithful. Even during the trials of his life, he was unflagging in his enthusiasm and bravery.

I read, in this book and others, about how he would disguise himself as a mechanic, a "dapper" gentleman, a worker, etc. to sneak through the city and celebrate the sacraments with Catholics, who were forced to practice the faith in secret. He had brushes with police officers, who actively sought him, and even had a few salute him when he pretended to be a police officer. Despite the hostile environment around him, Miguel kept his spirits and that of others strengthened through prayer and the Eucharist. Even in his stints in prison, for being a priest, he spread the Gospel and brought fellow prisoners closer to Christ.

What also drew me to this saint is that he feels like someone I could have over for dinner and talk and laugh and listen to his playing the guitar. As much as I love other saints (I have coloring pages of myriad saints, after all!), many seem rather serious and quiet, and I think some might either give me the stink-eye over my noisiness or barely suffer through my loudness (sorry, Teresa of Avila, but I'd probably give you a headache).

But Miguel and me? I think we could hang out, draw together, sing, tell stories, and celebrate Christ with song and dance.

* * *

Want a good book about Blessed Miguel to read with your kids? I highly recommend Ann Ball's book about Bl. Miguel Pro for kids, "Jose Finds the King: a Blessed Miguel Pro Story."

And because Miguel Pro is a favorite here, you can find some very early super-rough drawings (but still color-able) I did of him here.

Viva Cristo Rey!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Make Way for Flat Blessed Miguel Pro!

photo credit: La Vie Est Belle
Blessed Miguel Pro's feast day is coming up (November 23, everybody! Mark your calendar! Plan a Mexican meal! Get the papel picado ready!). As he is my absolute favorite saint, I've been busy sketching out coloring project that I'll share soon.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share this lovely email from Marisol of La Vie Est Belle about how she and her family used my Blessed Miguel Pro saint drawing:
"I just wanted to share how we have used your coloring pages.  They are so wonderful!  I was inspired to use Blessed Miguel Pro as a Flat Stanley project many years ago.(Also St. Joseph)  We sent him to my parents' home in Carson, CA.  I found the pictures of this today, his trip to Carson! Mom had a blast with him! We sent a letter telling them about his life and that he needed a place to stay and that he would soon give his life for Christ. It was so cool! I just wanted you to know what a blessing your resources are to our family!"

Flat Blessed Miguel Pro looked happy on his trip:

photo credit: La Vie Est Belle

photo credit: La Vie Est Belle

photo credit: La Vie Est Belle

photo credit: La Vie Est Belle

The sweetest part of creating paper dolls and coloring pages at Paper Dali is seeing how those drawings are used. I just loved seeing Flat Miguel Pro traveling around. Thanks for sharing it, Marisol.

My younger kids are going to send their favorite saints to their grandmother and see what shenanigans they get into, too!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Easy-Peasy Jesse Tree Activity

The Jesse Tree is a visual representation of Jesus's lineage. During Advent, Christian families often participate in the creation of a household Jesse Tree.

That Jesse Tree can get rather fancy. You can make ornaments yourself either sewn or painted, have Jesse Tree ornament swaps, etc. You can buy expensive Jesse Tree ornaments, too.

At Casa Paperdali, we've always kept this project simple with printable Jesse Tree ornaments.

We've read the corresponding Scripture readings for each day, colored the ornaments, and put them on our tree. The trees have been:
  • Green poster board in the shape of an evergreen tree
  • A branch brought from the yard into our house
  • Our otherwise undecorated Christmas tree

A Jesse Tree Printable Calendar/Tree

Having celebrated the Jesse Tree for about 10 years now, we needed a change in our approach. So, this year, I thought to draw something that's an all-in-one sort of calendar:

The calendar is put together by printing out the five pieces. The 24 drawings have a number for the day (1 is for Dec. 1, 23 is Dec. 23, etc.) and a corresponding Scripture verse on a separate piece of paper.

The pieces are all then taped together to form one Christmas tree  (errr, Jesse Tree) shape. Each day, a child will color the day's Scripture verse. 

What makes this project easy-peasy is that, if you have younger kids, you don't have to keep track of the 24 ornaments. Once you get your tree taped together and put up (we're gluing ours on green posterboard), you just need to color that day (well, and read the day's Scripture).

This Jesse Tree calendar/coloring page is available right now at the Paper Dali shop for just $4 (much less than a mocha). And because the project is in PDF, you can make copies for each child in your household.

If you're looking for Jesse Tree ornaments to color, though, you might like these large-as-a-CD-sized Jesse Tree ornaments, too.

Have fun coloring and crafting this upcoming Advent season!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Free All Saints' Day Coloring Page [Downloadable PDF]

Ever since I was a little girl, the saint have been very dear to me. The idea of having heavenly friends, these companions in the faith journey, amazed me... and continues to do so.

As I thought about All Saints' Day this year, I wondered how whether Bl. Miguel Pro gets to play his guitar. Amid all his crazy adventures as an "undercover priest" in Mexico during the Catholic persecution, he once said, "I  see God’s hand so palpably in everything that almost—almost I fear they won’t kill me in these adventures. That will be a fiasco for me who sighs to go to heaven and start tossing off arpeggios on the guitar with my guardian angel."
So, I had to draw my favorite saint with a guitar in hand. And then, I imagined St. Therese flinging roses as promised: "After my death I shall let fall from heaven a shower of roses.  I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth."
After Bl. Miguel Pro and St. Therese showed up behind the celebratory cake, the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph (with the Child Jesus on his shoulders) showed up. Naturally, St. Michael the Archangel (or is that Gabriel? He seemed to hang around St. Joseph more) showed up. And then St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is always pictured so seriously, smiled in happiness when he saw the scene. St. Francis had a little birdy tell him about the party. And St. Peter had the keys to the church. Finally, St. Elizabeth of Hungary brought some freshly baked bread because, well, she's known for it.

The party hats and balloons are needed because it's a celebration! What's a feast day without some delicious eats, music, and balloons? (OK, the balloons may just be me...)

If you'd like to celebrate, too, feel free to print out my free All Saints' Day coloring page in this downloadable PDF.

(Also, you might want to check out this free feast day planning page for today and all upcoming holy days.)

Creative Commons License ... and please do NOT offer my works as downloads from your site.