The Dignity of the Human Person

God made every single one of us. This makes us incredibly special. It doesn’t matter who we are, who our friends are, what we own, or what we look like. What matters is that we are special because we are God’s creations. This means too that we must treat others with great respect and fairness because God made them too.

Articles with Study Guides
 Article Study Guide
Student Essay Contest: What Would Jesus Do    K-5 May 2013
Inside the Box
Mar 2012
 Troubadour of Compassion K-5
 Feb 2012
 Stretching the Heart 6-12 Feb 2012
 A Famous Good Reputation
Related video: Maryknoll’s Father Thomas O’Brien leads local team helping the neediest in Vietnam. Produced by Sean Sprague.
 6-12 Jan 2012
 Beautiful Little PumpkinsK-5/6-12 Feb 2011
 Giving Them a ChanceK-5/6-12  Sep 2011
 Answering the Call to Combat Trafficking 6-12 Dec 2010
 Based on "Finding Room at the Inn K-5/6-12 Dec 2009
 Miracle in Mymensingh K-5/6-12 Nov 2009
 A Short-Term Stint at Persistence K-5/6-12 Sep 2009
 Haruma Means Compassion K-5/6-12 May 2009

Additional Activities
 Activity Source Article
 Grade (s)
Table of HopeTable of Hope K-6 / 7-12
The Good Samaritans of Oaxaca
 The Good Samaritans of Oaxaca K-6 / 7-12
Book Suggestions:

Picture books or short chapter books for younger students
Amazing Grace: Mary Hoffman

Chicken Sunday: Patricia Polacco

Chrysanthemum: Kevin Henkes

Don’t Laugh at Me: Steve Seskin (book and CD)

Each Kindness: Jacqueline Woodson

The Goat Lady: Jane Bregoli

Hope: Isabel Monk

It’s Okay to be Different: Todd Parr

Meet Addy: Connie Porter (American Girl series)

Meet Samantha: Susan S. Adler (American Girl series)

One: Kathryn Otoshi

Samantha Learns a Lesson: Susan S. Adler (American Girl series)

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace. By Jen Cullerton Johnson, a story of Wangari Maathai

Thank you, Mr. Falker: Patricia Polacco

Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen: DyAnne DiSalovo-Ryan

Wednesday Surprise: Eve Bunting

White Water: Michael Bandy and Eric Stein

You Are Special: Max Lucado

These books for young students focus on war or prejudice: two issues that rob people of their dignity:

Baseball Saved Us: Ken Mochizuki Dom Lee

The Bracelet: Yoshiko Uchida

The Bus Ride That Changed History: Pamela Duncan Edwards

The Butter Battle Book: Dr. Seuss

The Hundred Dresses: Eleanor Estes

Sister Anne’s Hands: Marybeth Lorbeicki

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down. By Andrea Davis Pinkney

Smokey Night: Eve Bunting

The Sneetches: Dr. Seuss

The Story of Ruby Bridges: Robert Coles

Twenty and Ten: Claire Huchet Bishop

The Wall: Eve Bunting

Book Suggestions:

Chapter Books or picture books for intermediate students:

Bully: Patricia Polacco

Good Night, Mr. Tom: Michelle Magorian

The Great Gilly Hopkins: Katherine Paterson

Maniac Magee: Jerry Spinelli

Out of My Mind: Sharon Draper

Through My Eyes: Ruby Bridges

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle: Avi

Trash: Andy Mulligan

Wonder: R.J. Palacio

These books for older students focus on war and/or prejudice: two issues that rob people of their dignity:

The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War: Jim Murphy

Caddie Woodlawn: Carol Ryrie Brink

The Devil’s Arithmetic: Jane Yolan

The Invisible Thread: Yoshiko Uchida

Journey to America: Sonia Levitin

Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation. By Yoshiko Uchida

Number the Stars: Lois Lowry

Pink and Say: Patricia Polacco

So Far from the Bamboo Grove: Yoko Kawashimo Watkins

To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee

The Upstairs Room: Johanna Reiss

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: Judith Kerr


Supplemental Articles

  Article Description Grade (s)
Table of Hope
July/August 2008
 The remarkable spiritual journey of a man, Joey A. Velasco, who discovers, at age 38, that God has given him artistic talent. The results of this talent gave Velasco a new connection with Jesus. One of his paintings shown in the article is of Jesus at table with impoverished children.  K-12
Sharing God's Life
September 2008
 Father Gerard E. Hammond has participated in many wonderful ways of helping others live their dignity as children of God. Since working in both North and South Korea, he has learned to work as an instrument of God and enjoy God's surprises. This includes a story of unexpected help so a young widow could give birth to and raise her child. For grades 4 and up
Living What We've Learned
series of Catholic Social Teaching  
December 2008
A short article that succinctly sums up different principles of Catholic Social Teachings with clear examples. This also shows the connection between CST and how national polices can be formed for the common good (along with prayer!)
 For grades 6 and up
The Good Samaritans of Oaxaca
Jul/Aug 2009
 The Center for Migrant Orientation opened in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2003, a result of a joint pastoral letter of Mexican and United States Bishops calling for compassion for migrants. Situations of migrant people vary, as does the assistance offered to them, but compassion and care is similar to the Samaritan and the innkeeper of Luke 10:25-37. 7-12
K-6, see Related Activities for a story based on this article
Neighbors in the Field
Feb 10
 Migrant workers coming to Buffalo, New York, to harvest apples and other food, have spiritual needs as any group of parishioners. A local group pf volunteers, including Father Ivan Trujillo, join them to celebrate Mass, and to share prayers, pizza, music and laughter. This article helps students appreciate the experience and contribution of migrant workers. It also shows that no matter where or what the circumstances, people need to pray together.
At the time of this article, the migrant workers were harvesting apples. Challenge students to read where their apple come from. Say a prayer for the many people involved in providing them with this fruit. VIDEO: This shows many aspects of BUFFALO IN MISSION  includes scenes from this article.
They Call Me Dona Theresia
March 2010
 Sister Theresia Ndesoma, from Tanzania, now works in Brazil. She feels loved by God and her definition of mission is to bring God's love to others.  K-12
The Mission of Charity
May/June 2010
 Saint Theresa Opportunity Center in Taiwan is a vibrant place for people with disabilities, from infancy to adulthood. Director Mei-Hua Yang (also named Charity) is enthusiastic about her work and credits Father Brendan O'Connell with bringing the concept of inclusivity and special education to Taiwan. Also see 6-12
K-5,  go to "Five Minutes with Mission" for The Miracle Dog, a side story from "The Mission of Charity"
I was in Prison...and you visited me
July/August 2010
 Through her work as a Catholic chaplain, Sister Maureen Hanahoe helps readers understand the factors that often contribute to imprisonment. She also shows the humanity in each person, and most importantly, she shares how she has nurtured and witnessed the spiritual awakening and growth of some of the inmates. Despite the topic, the article can be appropriate for students as young as grade 5 and will leave readers pondering how God helps people change and come to know Him. 5-12
Liberation in Ecuador
July/August 2011
 Sister Elsie Monge has spent years standing with the poor and oppressed. Prompted by her faith, she fights for human rights and teaches others how to do so too. This article should be used with only the most mature students as it speaks of torture, kidnappings, people forced from their lands, and other tragedies. Despite this, the article is hopeful, as progress has been made in Ecuador. It would be a helpful supplement to any study of human rights, or the history of Central America during the 1970's-80's. Sister Elsie, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and named "Woman of the Year" in Ecuador in 2005, is a study in herself. 9-12
Building the City of God
Jan/Feb 2011
 In an area of great poverty and high unemployment in Peru, Sister Margaret Rose Ibe works with the diocesan Human Dignity Commission. Its purpose, she says, is "to promote the dignity of the human person through the defense of their human rights." They work toward overall human development as a path towards human dignity. Volunteers play an enormous role in educating others about issues of children's and women's rights, ethics, values, labor rights, self-esteem and conflict resolution skills as well as legal assistance, etc. This article can lead to discussions or research on a variety of issues.  7-12
Helping Julio
Jan/Feb 2012
 Julio is an 8-year-old living in an orphanage in El Salvador. Because he has cerebral palsy and needed extra care, he was kept in a ward for children ages birth to two. He couldn't sit up, talk or play with toys. Lay Missioner Nana Tyrolt saw Julio's dignity as a child of God. With lots of love and work, Nan has helped Julio achieve much. Use this article to help students understand human dignity in the light of physical challenges, the importance of skills, compassion and persistence, and how poverty is particularly difficult for those with handicaps.
Learning from Anawim
March 2009
 This short article is both a story and a call to prayer. Father Donald McQuade tells of an experience he had in the Philippines. When a family of subsistence farmers approached him because of the death of their child, he saw their great poverty, lack of resources and humble faith. He calls us to look radically at our own priorities and pray for guidance. Use this story to help students become aware of those with no resources and God's love for these anawim. Then invite your students to pray with you.  5-12
From Massacre to Redemption
April 2009
This article centers around the funeral of the remains of a child killed 27 years earlier during massacre in the civil war in El Salvador. The subject is a painful one, but the story concludes with dignity, forgiveness and redemption. There is much to discuss and process here.  9-12