“Young people are the future. I cannot run anymore but I’d like to pass them the torch like at the Olympic games. The youth have one life to live and we should spend it as best we can”. These are the words that you will see immediately upon entering Ms. Uppgaard’s US Literature room. They are the blessed words of Saint Chiara Luce Badano. This year at PA the teachers had an option to pick a classroom saint for the year.
Why saints? Everyone is upheld by the prayers and intercessions of the saints. Years later they can continue to be the best role models for people striving for goodness and for love which is what Saint Chiara taught so well. Ms. Uppgaard picked this modern 1970’s saint this year for her classroom because “she was a teenager who didn’t live that long ago, she was your average, fun, teenager, and she loved Jesus generously.”
By having a classroom saint, the PA community is further able to show and practice our Catholic identity in a learning environment. It helps students remember that God is present in every subject whether that be in the complexity of mathematics, the meaning in literature, the importance of learning another language or the beauty in music. Ms. Uppgaard explained that “It’s important to pick a classroom saint because our mission as a classroom community is to come to the truth together and to be selfless friends to each other–both of these things are challenging, and we need as many intercessors as we can get!”
A classroom saint shows students a real life example of what it looks like to give oneself fully to God. It puts things in perspective and shows that a saint isn’t just someone who was alive thousands of years ago. It is someone who is constantly interceding for us currently and working so hard with us besides God because they know exactly what it is like to feel pain, love, beauty, happiness and heartbreak: to feel human.
As young adults, it’s quite beautiful to be able to look up to someone who has full knowledge of both heaven and earth. Ms. Uppgaard ties it together by saying, “I am convicted that when teenagers fall in love with Jesus, they love him in a way that is an example to all of us in the Church, because they give themselves totally to Him. Teens have such an aversion to hypocrisy and desire to be genuine, and this makes their self-gift to Christ a very powerful witness.”