Holy role models: Local Catholic students dress as saints for All Saints Day

A Holy Redeemer Grade School seventh grader dressed as St. Philomena gives a report on the fourth-century saint as part of an All Saints Day project at the southwest Detroit school. In many Catholic schools, dressing as saints during All Saints Day is a time-honored tradition. (Photos by Dan Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

DETROIT — Sr. Kateri Burbee’s religion class is full of saints.

And on All Saints Day across the Archdiocese of Detroit, students had the opportunity to dress like their heavenly heroes, too.

Students from Sr. Burbee’s seventh-grade class at Holy Redeemer School in southwest Detroit accompanied members of the SOLT community and fellow students down the aisles of Holy Redeemer Church in Detroit on Nov. 1, giving reports on the lives of holy men and women.

Stationed in various parts of the church, often in front of a shrine or statue to their patron, the students offered brief lessons on the lives and times of their favorite saints' call to follow God.

"St. Leo" explains the life and times of the great papal saint to a sister at Holy Redeemer Church in southwest Detroit.

“We’re celebrating All Saints Day with the seventh-graders dressed up as saints,” Sr. Burbee, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), told Detroit Catholic. “They researched information, did a poster on the saint for class, and now they are dressed like the saints for the younger grades to come and learn about the saints and how we’re all called to be saints.”

With the costumed saints throughout the church, “St. Patrick” and “St. Elizabeth of Hungary” escorted the younger grades to various stations to learn more about them.

“This is the first year we’re doing this, and it’s a great way for the older students to teach the younger students,” Sr. Burbee said. “I always tell the students, the whole goal that I hope they learn from religion class is that they are all called to become saints. If you learn anything in religion class, it’s that I want you to get to heaven.”

Sr. Burbee added she hopes the research and reports inspire students to learn more about what it takes to be holy.

“What's so inspiring about the saints is they have already achieved this goal of being in heaven, and we can do it, too,” Sr. Burbee said. “They were ordinary people, people who lived just like just, but they desired to follow what God had planned in their life. That’s why the saints are so important; they are a model to strive for.”

Left to right, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Juan Diego, St. Patrick, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Mary and St. Peter pose inside Holy Redeemer Church in southwest Detroit as part of Sr. Kateri Burbee's seventh-grade class project for All Saints Day.

More photos

To see a gallery of photos from the class project, check out Detroit Catholic on Facebook.