Book Review: Willibrord - A Wandering Saint in Dialog with His Friends October 02 2017

WillibrordThis new book by Frans Lutters, experienced Waldorf teacher from Holland, Willibrord, A Wandering Saint in Dialog with his Friends, holds great potential for teachers and parents looking for the right mood for story telling with seven and eight year olds.

Teachers and parents of second graders face the delicious challenge of filling eager young souls with rich ideas filled with ideals in a right way. In Waldorf schools, the teacher’s efforts of forming a class in grade one settles over the summer months and second graders arrive ready for good stories and new knowledge.

Set between the dreamy world of fairy tales and “mood of the fifth” songs of first grade and the new consciousness that breaks sometime in grade three, second grade holds a substantial task woven into all the demanding subjects of reading, writing, and math — that is, building for the child the ethical understanding of the limitless potential and the inevitable one-sidedness of every human being!
The stories of both Fables and of heroes or “saints,” used as literature and “soul nourishment” in grade two in Waldorf Education fulfill this task in an extraordinary way. Fables and animal stories build pictures for eager seven and eight year olds of the special quality of many different, animal-like tendencies (sly foxes, hungry or loyal dogs, lazy donkeys, proud peacocks and roosters, diligent tortoises, arrogant hares, ridiculous crows, aggressive wolves, and helpful storks, to name a few — there are many!). These Fables are rollicking good fun to prepare and to teach.  Children love animals and love to see themselves in the stories.

The stories of “saints,” holy people, or heroes, at the other end of human potential from our friends, the animals, show children the power of listening to that “still small voice within us all” that speaks of goodness and virtue, kindness, self-transcendence, selflessness, and the higher potential that lives inside. These are more difficult to develop (after all, who among us is a saint?).

The contrast between these two types of story (Fables and saint stories) helps children to understand the ethical choices faced by all people every day, all their lives. Children can see that they might be a bit like a peacock or a donkey from time to time, and they can admire and aspire to be more like the good people in the hero stories.

WillibrordWillibrord, A Wandering Saint in Dialog with his Friends, is a helpful one for preparing the stories of remarkable, selfless, self-transcendent folk from long ago. It is difficult with our modern, busy frames of mind to find the mood of a truly holy person from the time in human development that matches that of our seven and eight year olds. To tell of these men and women who could still perceive the voices of angels speaking within their own hearts is not a usual undertaking!

Frans Lutters has done an especially fine job of pursuing primary research on Willibrord so that we can read actual recorded conversations on higher truths this fiery and gentle Willibrord had along his path of gathering friends to himself to serve others. This man, Willibrord, was of Celtic origin but he spent his life walking through the Netherlands, Belgium, Flanders and France. Wells and sacred places marked with Willibrord’s name dot the Northwestern European landscape to this day. He is not so well-known in North American lore, and so a teacher might not choose to tell this man’s story; however, teachers and parents might be well served in preparing to tell of all holy people from this time of human development (second grade development!) by reading this book. The mood of it is informative, nourishing, and supportive of our own consciousness to be able to tell a deep and compelling story of inspiring people who changed the lives of many.


This title is now available in our bookstore!