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A BOOK FOR THE POPE

Sacred Heart students push for canonization with appeal to Pope


This is the cover of a book created by fifth-grade students at Sacred Heart School in Boise. The book was sent to Pope Francis to promote the canonization cause for Blessed Solanus Casey. The students were inspired by stories from their religious education teacher, Maria Joyce, who is a great-great niece of Blessed Solanus. (Courtesy photo/Maria Joyce)


By Maria Joyce

for the Idaho Catholic Register


Each year I share my story of my great-great uncle, Blessed Solanus Casey with my students at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Boise.


Last year’s fifth-grade class seemed to have an extra amount of enthusiasm for Blessed

Solanus. I shared their interest with my cousins, Sister Anne Herkenrath and Jim Conley, both of whom met Father Solanus in their youth. After our conversation, it seemed like a good idea to have the students write letters to Pope Francis and share their eagerness for Blessed Solanus and the cause for his canonization.


This project grew beyond just letters. Students added illustrations of Blessed Solanus. They researched and found a favorite quote to include with each illustration. Some even included their own poetic voice in their letters.


After another conversation with Sister Anne, it looked like we might actually be able to get the letters sent to Pope Francis.


This is where we got the idea to create a book. I researched graphic designers and the process of putting together a book. I recalled that a former student, Kristin Dwyer, recently graduated with a degree in graphic design. Her enthusiasm for the project was amazing. After three class visits and instructions on graphic design, Kristin Dwyer brought us a rough draft of the book. The students made suggestions for ways to improve the book. We then sent it on for publication.


With a few leads, we are hoping that the book will actually land in the hands of Pope Francis. Enough copies of the book were printed to make available to each of the students and a few others but, unfortunately, the book is not available for sale at this time.


Illustration by Cameron Calovich

Illustration by Cameron Calovich

Illustration by Alex Rulon


Maria Joyce is the religious education teacher for grades 5-8 at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Boise and the campus minister for all grades.


If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.


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