Guest Post: Finding Your Little Way -Rhymes & Riddles and Role Models for Lent

Put some lift in your Lent by solving some riddles that point to some excellent examples of “saintly” devotion.

Paula Zwenger has a lovely way of using rhyme to bring joy and inspiration to any subject – Hopefully her guest post of rhymes and riddles will liven up your Lenten journey. Find more of Paula’s wordplay at

Lost and Found

Have you ever arrived at what you thought would be your intended destination only to find it had moved? Perhaps a favorite store expanded into a larger space, or an office found more favorable rental terms and relocated? Surely a practical minded person would double check on a detail like this before striking out to travel any appreciable distance, wouldn’t they?

Well, maybe – or maybe not. My husband and I recently scheduled an appointment across town, approximately a forty minute drive from home. Having been to this particular location several times in the past, we confidently left plenty of time to account for possible traffic jams.

Except when we arrived, with minutes to spare, the business we sought was empty. The main sign still displayed on the outer street marquee, but the office space stood unoccupied.

Thankfully we had a simple cell phone and contact number, so quickly called the business. We learned that they relocated three weeks prior (yes, they’d mailed a notice but we’d both missed it somehow). We then used that most ancient of all devices, a paper street map, to chart our course to the new location.

Although potentially embarrassing, the experience provides fodder for reflection. In today’s age of advancing technology, there seems little need to do advance planning. You research your intended destination from home to get a drive-time estimate. As for particular turns or detours, those take care of themselves with smart phone updates as you travel.

Unless you don’t have a smart phone or app that provides that service – then what happens? How will you travel in a good direction and arrive at your desired destination? Is the newest technology necessary to make for smoothest transition between point A and point B?

Sometimes old ‘tried and true’ methods hold merit worthy of examination.

Tis’ the Season

We’ve begun again – the wonderful, penitential season of Lent, gifted to us through the wisdom of Holy Mother Church. These forty days before Easter afford time for renewal and repentance, manifested through disciplines of prayer, fast, and almsgiving.

We travel, as did our forefathers in faith – as did Jesus – through the desert. We prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the Paschal mystery and renewal of Easter promises. One step after another, we surrender to grace.

We won’t fall into developing good habits by accident. Instead of ‘business as usual’, resembling a slip into minimal awareness of our dignity as God’s chosen people, we focus with intent on all we can become, by His grace. One thing that helps focus our efforts is a plan, a road map of sorts, to provide direction.

Where there’s a Will – There’s a Way

Beyond general guidance and minimal requirements proscribed by the Church, she encourages us to choose activities which help us center ever more closely on taking up our cross and following Christ. These choices entail a certain amount of sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a personal thing. What works for one person may be inappropriate for another. What sufficed for a child no longer challenges as an adult. How do we decide each year which particular disciplines honor God at this point in our spiritual journey? Certainly, the counsel of a spiritual director or wise Christian friend helps us discern possibilities. Whether found via a search on a smart phone or within the volumes of pages published on the subject, numerous Lenten guides are available as well.

One other possibility holds promise – learning about choices made by our older brothers and sisters in faith – the Saints. Though unique to each, as is our particular call and path, we find inspiration and perhaps discipline for adaptation in their ‘tried and true’ life stories.

Five Little Ways in Rhyme

The following rhymed riddle verses hint about particular Saints and how each followed a distinct path to take up his/her cross and follow Christ. Try to puzzle out who each verse marigold_garden_pictures_and_rhymes_1910_14566514398describes. (If you get stuck, answers are listed at the very bottom of this post.)

Perhaps you’ve already determined and implemented your plan for the 2017 Lenten season. If not, maybe the footsteps of those who successfully lived lives of heroic virtue point to a new ‘little way’ of inspiration.




She faced an illness, then was cured; devoted to His holy Word
Her mother died at tender age, yet never against God did rage
Instead she focused all on Him, with disregard for selfish whims
She died on Holy Saturday in passion’s ecstasy displayed
From Lucca was her hailing place; accomplished all through God’s own grace
“Daughter of Passion” once was known – surrendered life to build His throne
A victim soul, for all repents – now known as patron of students
Christ’s Passion did become her all – she answered Him with Love’s own call


This man became a priest though weak, His served the Lord in all ways meek
Though Satan often battered him, His faith in God would never dim
He’s known for gift of ‘reading souls’, confessing hours on end untold
He’d bi-locate and counsel give, to souls in need so they could live
Though Rome showed care in early days, to sanctity his cause was raised
The stigmata his sign to bear; with other crosses hidden there
A hospital was built nearby to help the poor to heal or die
His motto – it is said to be : was ”Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry”


A powerhouse of Godly strength, this woman’s life of shortened length
Mere years of thirty-three she spent, yet nearly all showed heaven’s bent
From tender age she vowed so pure to live for God alone, so sure
was she about this calling true; it focused all she chose to do
Though born a twin, her sister died in infancy, but she survived
Her writings now, prolific then; give stir to hearts of many men
She counseled popes; she served the ill; She’s known for her persuasive skill
Dominican and mystic both, to Jesus Christ she was betrothed


Next comes a man, from France he hailed; a holy man thought sometimes frail
His Latin teacher had a chore to help him reach some passing scores
Yet holiness and love for God were central to the way he trod
Though drafted for the army range he never served for reasons strange
Then after war and amnesty he finished up seminary
Then sent to a small town to preach; his heart for all set him to teach
So many came – forgiveness sought; in confession God’s graces wrought
We celebrate his August feast; and hold him patron for our priests


This final riddle of a saint tells of a person some found quaint
Yet as a child so sensitive, her youngest years were tough to live
Her mother died, some siblings too, though older sister helped her through
Her Mom made lace, the best around, her father’s work with watch renowned
She often struggled as a child, to find a way so meek and mild
She even asked the Pope to give permission so as nun she’d live
He said to wait, and so she did; but soon enough she would be bid
to join Franciscans, as was planned; though short, her time with them was grand


So think on these, some ‘little ways’, which could become your own one day. 
A life inspires if lived full well – and every life a tale can tell.
Will ours unfold as holy too? Let’s pray for Love to see it through.
We’ll pray and live as Saints have done – the cross of God’s redeeming Son.




St. Gemma Galgani
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
St. Catherine of Siena
St. John Marie Vianney
St. Therese of Lisieux


Art: Marigold garden; pictures and rhymes  Greenaway, Kate

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