In the memoir of her life, Sister Lucia of Fatima looks back upon how she and her cousins, Blessed Francisco and Jacinta liked to call the moon "Our Lady's Lantern." This is perfect imagery because the moon gets it light from the sun, or, in Our Lady's case, from the Son. In honor of this recollection--with the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima right around the corner--we shared these "Marian lanterns" with the children of our local group.
Paper lanterns are readily available at the craft or party store and come in a wide array of colors. [Ours looked something like this, but they were only $1.49 each at Michael's Craft Store. SEE UPDATE BELOW.] Holy pictures, glitter, ribbon and silk flowers were all we needed to create a festive display for our upcoming May Crowning. The pictures tell the tale:
And now, some notes from the "Live and Learn" files:
1. Laminated holy cards are difficult to glue onto round surfaces, particularly without a glue gun.
2. Big round lanterns roll, presenting something of a difficulty for very young children. They were all so excited about this craft though that they did not let this daunt them for long!
3. If you decide to change the date of your May Crowning, make sure the friends who live furthest away and have the most children hear about it before they travel hours to be there. If you do make a mistake of this magnitude, hope that the victim has a heart of gold and will forgive you immediately.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . .
Over the weekend, with the assistance of a glue gun, the older girls and I made a few more beauties to decorate the family room for May:
The holy card image shows the vision Sister Lucia had just before leaving Fatima to begin her life as a nun. She sees grace and mercy flowing from Our Lord on the cross.
We added a pretty watering can to remind us of the showers of grace available to all who seek them.
Mount Carmel Lantern
[You will note that this is a beautiful and reverent use for an old scapular we had been keeping in a drawer. We attached it so that it would still be usable in the future.]
Holy Name of Mary Lantern (work in progress)
Queen of Peace Lantern
May Our Lady shed her light into our hearts, during this month of May and always!
Warning: Although these paper lanterns are designed for use with an actual lightbulb, once decorated, this becomes a fire hazard. (Candles would not be safe for these lanterns either.)
Variations on a theme
If you will not have time to complete a project like this during May, how about saving the idea for All Saints Day on November 1st? Collect holy cards to create a range of saints' lanterns with your family or homeschooling group. These would make a festive decoration if placed outside the house for All Hallows Eve or at the center of your group's All Saints Day party. Liturgical colors, such as red for martyrs, would add to the beauty and symbolism.
If you can't find paper lanterns, there are many ways to improvise. Decorate colored bags, large paper mache or styrofoam balls, discarded Christmas ornaments or bright coffee cans.
Cost per project: $1.49 for each lantern, plus embellishments. Figure at least $2 to $3 each.
[UPDATE: We used 8 inch lanterns made by a company called Darice. I could not find them online, but managed to find these reasonably priced substitutes in a wide array of colors.]
Some of my local friends may be wondering why I did not post last week's project: "Spiritual Ships." The story will be appearing in the first issue of the new magazine, mater et magistra (formerly Heart and Mind).