Monday, June 29, 2020

America the Beautiful: Activities about 14 American Saints {At-Home VBS}

All you holy men and women of America, pray for us!

Leading up to the 4th of July, I wanted to create a shareable resource for your homes and parishes to celebrate and learn about the many, many faithful men and women who have impacted our country. This collection of activities could just be a resource for your home, can function as an at-home VBS, or can be easily shared out to your school or parish as an optional resource. There's even an editable version at the bottom to tailor it to your needs. Included are a few theme printables and then a pdf collection of (free!) links highlighting fourteen American Saints (or soon-to-be Saints) including prayers, biographical videos, coloring pages. etc. There's also a column with resources for parents and older kids to help you research and learn alongside your kids.

Fourteen Saints are included. Honestly, my original plan was for ten and I just couldn't eliminate anyone on my brainstorming list. ;) Included are Americans spanning several centuries, men and women, lay people, religious, and priests, and Saints who are Black, White, and Native American. Each has a powerful and unique story of how they followed God's will and made our country a better place. I think that learning from their example and asking for their prayers is one of the best things we can be doing with our families right now.

There are many, many more Catholic Americans that could have been included, but I hope this starts you down the path of studying them and doing your own research. Theoretically, your family could study a new Saint every day for two weeks. Or you could spread the activities out over the month of July. There are lots of ways to jump in and no wrong method.

Before jumping into the activities about the individual Saints, there are a few overall projects to set the vision for studying these holy men and women both as inspiration and as a challenge to pursue holiness ourselves. First, there is a map of the USA and an info sheet with a list of the fourteen Saints, the main states they lived in, and a symbol to add to the map. This page also lists the other Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God connected to America. Older kids could research them and add them to the map as well!

There is also a Litany of American Saints where your child can write in their favorite American patrons. The America the Beautiful Saints flag would be great to print out and display during the month as a reminder to ask for their intercession.

This resource is set up with a lot of the elements of a VBS (prayer, music, snacks, crafts) but with tons of options so it can work for a wide range of ages. I also pulled A LOT of resources- more than anyone would really use -but I wanted there to be variety and choice. All of the activities  are FREE so hopefully this project is easily accessible and shareable, even on a school or parish level.

For each Saint, there are links for:
-Prayer/Song/Bible Verse
-Short Videos
-Links for Parents or Older Siblings (to help parents feel equipped to teach their kids along the way, and to help older kids participate)

This whole plan is completely free and available for you to email out to your friends, parish, class, school, etc. I always appreciate when people include a link back to the blog so people can find more resources, but the schedule is especially designed to be easy to share as a pdf in a bulk email, school communication system, or parish bulletin. Please share! I'm always honored to be able to help, but especially now when we can't minister to our communities in the same ways we are used to. Click below to open all the resources!

First, here are the overall theme printables. (These are also linked in the shareable activity page as well.)

Click here for the American Saints Map. This helps identify the varied locations of the fourteen featured Saints across the United States, and also gives a list for further research:

Click here for the Litany of American Saints printable. You can fill in ten of your favorite holy men and women from America:

Click here for the American Flag Saints printable to display as you learn:
Click here for the two page America the Beautiful pdf with links for the 14 Saints. This version cannot be edited, but is meant to be easy to share:

Click here for the editable version of the resources. It is a Google Slides file, so you can edit/add/remove to fit your audience. In order to make changes, you'll need to open and make a copy to edit in Google Slides or download and then edit in PowerPoint:

A special thank you to Shari from Catholic Paper Goods for offering a set of her stellar coloring pages for free to help round out the resources! Here are a few of her pages that are included in the links above:

And Kristina Markford (you might remember her super cute Emmaus Road Pegs shop) generously is sharing these awesome mini posters featuring 18 American Saints. You can find her on Instagram here.

All of those activities are free, but I also have been on the lookout for books about these (and other American) Saints both to read myself and for my classroom. I'm still collecting titles and have some reading to do first, but hopefully I'll be able to do a Katie Reads post soon with some book suggestions! Feel free to drop any good titles about American Saints in the comments!

***UPDATE: Here's a book list with a collection of titles about American holy men & women:

***UPDATE: And here are more activities about American Saints, Blessed, Venerables, and Servants of God!
American Eucharistic Witnesses Created for the National Eucharistic Revival, this series contains thirteen biographies of holy men and women from America. There are matching activities in two levels of difficulty, as well as matching versions in Spanish.


  1. Hi, Katie. Wonderful resource. You are always so creative in your printables. Just one thing . . . I was unable to open the America the Beautiful pdf. All the other links were fine. Thanks, again! Laura G.

    1. Hi Laura! Sorry about that. Forgot that I had updated that file. Should be fixed! Thanks!

  2. I'm so excited to se this! I'm hoping to use some of these resources to help my daughter earn some of her Footsteps of American Saints patches for scouting ( Thanks so much for sharing these resources!!

    1. Oh, that is so great! Thanks for that link- there are some great resources the NCCS website too!

  3. Amazing, Katie! Thank you! I am sharing this on my Facebook Page:

  4. This is incredible. Every lesson planning dream come true and I didnt even need to write them!! Prayers for you and God bless,
    Sr. Stephanie

  5. Beautiful Katie! Great tools and info. all in one spot! I am using your lessons for a Chalk Icon class coming up! God Bless your work and ministry.

  6. I mean, we just have to do this! we must! you have put so much thought and time and effort and it looks so incredible. Those posters by Kristina are absolutely amazing. WOW. I'm definitely going to take time on this gorgeous Sunday to think about how we can do this for the rest of the summer. THank you SO SO Much!