St. Patrick’s ‘real life’ Saints

The nine ‘Saints’ chosen by St. Patrick’s students, smile for the camera on Jan. 31. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — When we know someone or of someone who has gone beyond the call of duty for others, cares enough to give of themselves or even is just plain and unabashedly nice, we often call that person a saint. We all know someone we consider a living saint.

Several months ago, St. Patrick’s School principal Kaci Monaghan held a writing contest for any and all interested students in the school. The topic was “Real Life St. Patrick School Saints.” The student writers were to choose someone working or volunteering at St. Patrick’s whom they felt possessed the qualities of a saint, and give specific examples of each saintly quality their nominee exhibits. Mrs. Monaghan then chose the winners from each grade level, based on the nominations.

On Jan. 31, during Catholic Schools Week, the winners were announced at an assembly in the school gym. The winners had no idea they had won, and family members who came to cheer for them hid behind some furniture in a far corner of the gym.

Promptly at 2 p.m., Mrs. Monaghan entered the gym and a group of students solemnly lined up behind her. She reminded all those present of the writing contest last December and said the winners of the St. Patrick Sainthood Award had been chosen.

She then summoned the first St. Patrick’s Saint to the gym floor, first grade teacher Mrs. Anna Koehne. One of the students stepped up to the microphone and read from the teacher’s various nominations. “She always calls on us when we have our hands up.” “She’s a real life saint,” and several other examples. Mrs. Koehne was given a “Certificate of Sainthood,” naming her a St. Patrick’s Real Life Saint, and listing the saintly qualities students used in nominating her.

Mrs. Karen Willett, a Preschool teacher, received nominations for being “encouraging,” “dedicated,” and “overcoming challenges,” among many others. Fifth grade teacher Mrs. Debbie Blackman “always gives second chances,” “very nice and calm,” “always knows how to help us.”

Third grade teacher Mrs. Maia Hamilton is “very caring,” and “helpful,” among other attributes. Mrs. Shannon Kirkland, Extended Day Coordinator (after school program), was “always kind” and “nice.”

Kindergarten teacher Lindsy Alexander “gives us hugs, “helps us learn,” and “prays with us.” Mrs. Dana Nolan, Eighth Grade Homeroom, Middle School Math and Religion teacher, is “respectful and caring,” “always willing to hear,” and “someone I’m lucky to know.”

Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Judy Hayes, formerly the second-grade teacher, now a full-time volunteer at the school, is “passionate about teaching,” and “I know I can trust her.”

Mrs. Tonie Eads, School Office Secretary and Health Room Aid, was nominated by more than 20 students, Mrs. Monaghan said. Some of her “saintly qualities” included “she knows us all by name,” “helps us when we’re hurt,” “she’s always there to save the day,” and “she’s a SUPER HERO!”

Each teacher and staff member’s Certificate of Sainthood listed many saintly qualities gleaned from the writing contest.

Mrs. Monaghan said this was the first time the school had “done anything like this.” Who wouldn’t want to be considered for canonization, especially for doing what you love to do? Here’s a vote for doing it again in the years to come!


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November 01, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph