As a student in parochial school, I first encountered the Corporal Works of Mercy, as a list to memorize for a religion grade. Thirty years or so later, I made my homeschooled children memorize them too, write them out in their best handwriting, draw pictures illustrating each one.
There’s nothing wrong with memorizing things, y’all. But that should really only be the starting point when it comes to something as important and central to the Catholic faith as the Corporal Works of Mercy are supposed to be.
Heidi Indahl’s amazing book, 67 Ways to Do the Works of Mercy with Your Kids, is a comprehensive guide to moving from listing the Works of Mercy to living them as a family. I’m going to rave for a minute here and tell you that I can’t think of a thing that Heidi could have added to this book to make it any better. It provides everything you need to learn about, understand, and teach your children about the Works of Mercy, and then it goes on to provide dozens of examples of how you and your kids can do them in your community.
A new idea for me was the Cycle of Service: preparing your family for serving by learning about about the Works of Mercy and discussing projects in advance, acting in the community by serving others, and reflecting on the experience together afterwards. Something else that was not familiar to me was the designation by Pope Francis of a new, unofficial work of mercy: Care for Our Common Home.
Implementing liturgical living in your Catholic home–celebrating feast days with special meals, lighting an Advent wreath, decorating your home altar, “giving up something” for Lent–is becoming more and more popular among Catholic families. And that’s great. But there are lots of ways to be Catholic, and I can’t think of a better one than integrating serving the least of these into your family culture in the mindful way that Heidi writes about in this book.
Heidi is an author, a blogger, and a Catholic homeschooling mother of many. Along with her husband, she offers homeschooling consulting with a Montessori focus, and if I had known her sooner my adventures in homeschooling would probably have been more successful! I love her blog, her Instagram, and her Facebook page, from which I frequently nab parenting memes to share because our philosophies are so closely aligned. She is an authority you can trust.
Want to take a look before you buy? You can preview and purchase the book right here.
For extra ideas that you won’t find in the book, check out this post on Heidi’s blog, and this Pinterest board. And for more great books for Catholic families, visit her publisher, Peanut Butter and Grace.