Saints come alive during lantern-lit tour at St. Emma

Maria Kessler portrays Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared as the apparition of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Dominic Sunseri portrayed St. Francesco, Stella Martin played St. Jacinta and Miriam Kessler portrayed Sister Lucy.

Saints come alive during lantern-lit tour at St. Emma

By Mary Pickels
Contributing Writer

GREENSBURG – Gretchen Miller of Export had always wanted to attend the saints’ tour in Loretto, Pa. So when she learned of the first Lantern Saint Tour, sponsored by the Greensburg Catholic Schoolhouse and St. Emma Monastery in Greensburg, she happily brought her family to the Oct. 29 event on the monastery grounds.

“This is much closer and more convenient. I was really excited,” she said.

The family, including husband Jared Miller and children Xavier, 12, Zachariah, 11, Anastasia, 8, and Sebastian, 7, worship at St. Paul Parish, Greensburg.

They visited all 12 stations on the tour, each featuring a different “living” saint sharing his or her story.

Twelve saints were spotlighted throughout the monastery grounds, portrayed by students, teachers and clergy. All tour proceeds benefitted the monastery.

Catholics observe All Saints’ Day Nov. 1, remembering the saints, and on Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, paying special tribute to loved ones who have passed away.

“There were a lot (of depicted saints) that were uncommon. I don’t think before the tour they (her children) knew St. Walburga,” Miller said.

Tour guides bearing lanterns led groups throughout the campus, with luminaries lit as dusk arrived.

Despite earlier clouds and rain during the day, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared as families, bundled up against the chill, formed small tour groups.

The “saints,” most dressed in period costumes and using props, held visitors’ attention as they shared their stories. Many spoke directly to the children and young people taking the tour, reminding them to practice acts of kindness, to attend Mass and to consider becoming monks or sisters themselves.

The tour was well attended, with visitors arriving throughout the evening and enjoying the opportunity to learn more about some of the saints in an informal, outdoor setting.

“Isn’t it amazing what they’ve done?” asked a pleased Mother Mary Anne Noll, prioress of the monastery, who portrayed St. Scholastica. She noted that the Greensburg Catholic Schoolhouse “asked if they could have it here, and they got all of the details.”

Portrayers wrote the saints’ dialogues and put together small treats and gifts for visitors, from colorful rosaries to chocolate roses to prayer cards.

“As Catholics, we want to focus on all saints and all souls,” Donna Sunseri, a co-director with Greensburg Catholic Schoolhouse. “We wanted to reach as much of the community as we could.”


Participants included:

Mary McCormack as St. Gabriel

Felician Sister Margoretta Judy as St. Walburga

Maria Kessler as Our Lady of Fatima

Sister Audrey Jensen as St. Emma

Olive Martin as St. Therese, the Little Flower

Mother Mary Anne as St. Scholastica

Brother Tobias Yott as St. Benedict

Rebecca Parker as St. Veronica

Ashton Kenwick as St. John the Evangelist

Father Daniel J. Ulishney as the Lord

Father Matthew J. Morelli as Padre Pio

Maya Martin as St. Joan of Arc


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