Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Godly Play: St. Teresa of Avila

On the last green and growing Sunday of 2012, I shared the story of St. Teresa of Avila, found in Godly Play Vol. 7. This is the only saint story so far that has elicited a genuine belly laugh from the kids.

The materials for the story:
- a Teresa figure
- a wooden bed
- a donkey
- a crystal
- a map of Spain

(Note: Usually the Teresa figure would not be used in the actual story, but in the introductory story of the saints. Rather than using the wooden figure in the story, there is a booklet with a picture of the saint and a timeline inside. I choose to replace the booklet with my own figures for two reasons: 1. The figure holds the attention of my 6-year-old better; 2. It is difficult for me to obtain the booklets, because these stories have not been translated into German and are not produced by our GP supplier here in Germany.)

This story begins with details of Teresa's happy family life, and then moves on to the two greatest challenges in her life, the death of her mother and her poor health. Teresa's life changes when she suddenly becomes aware of God's presence in a more intense way. It makes her more playful and loving.

The part where the children laughed so hard was a story about Teresa crossing a river while riding on a donkey. The saddle starts to slip, but Teresa doesn't notice, because she is praying. She lands in the water and says playfully, "God, is this how you treat your friends? No wonder you have so few friends!" (I love that Teresa was so sure of her relationship with God that she could joke like that!)

The story also does a fine job of explaining Teresa's greatest work, The Interior Castle, in which prayer is described as a castle made of very clear crystal. When you reach the innermost room, it is "so light that all you can see is God".

During the Wondering, both children said the story about falling into the river with the donkey was their favorite part.

When asked what their favorite part was, one child answered, "That Teresa had a mother and father. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been born!"

And when asked if a part of the story told something about them, one child answered, "Well, I like to collect rocks, too. And I like books, too!" Neither of my children usually answer this question, so it was interesting to get a response from one of them this time. 

Here are the other Godly Play saint stories that I have done this year:

To see how I made St. Teresa of Avila, click here

Linked to Waldorf  Wednesday at Seasons of Joy


  1. Your little St. Teresa is so dear! I've always loved the Interior Castle analogy.