Compassion is “fellow-feeling” – the ability to feel for others. Compassion is a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. Compassion acknowledges and respects the suffering of others. It often leads us to be merciful rather than critical.
THE LIFE OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI – St. Francis’s compassion for others was rooted in his love for God’s creation. Known to call the moon, “Sister Moon,” and the sun, “Brother Sun”, St. Francis took a vow of poverty and dedicated his life to serving and loving God. He traveled around Italy with fellow friars begging for alms to care for lepers and the sick. St. Francis even preached to animals, as well as human beings. His fellow feeling filled him with love and reverence.
Story – St. Francis Speaks to the Birds
Story – Saint Francis and the Wolf
Book – Clare and Frances
St. Francis’ Prayer of Peace
Coloring Page – St. Francis
Prayer of St. Francis by Sarah MacLachlan
THE FABLE OF THE LION AND THE MOUSE This fable by Aesop shows how showing mercy to the weak, one way of demonstrating compassion, can have practical benefits as well as moral ones.
The Lion and the Mouse
Printable Fable Card
The Lion and the Mouse Notebooking Page
ANDROCLES AND THE LION This fable by Aesop also shows how the compassion of a slave saves a lion.
Androcles and the Lion
Lion Print Copywork
THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITANIn this parable, Jesus emphasizes the importance of cultivating compassion for those who are seemingly different from us. Jesus shows that every man is our neighbor.
Luke 10: 25-37
Coloring Page with Bible verse
COMPASSION IN POETRY Compassion is such a rich and wonderful virtue that many poems have been written with compassion at their core. Discuss how these poems present different visions and aspects of compassion. Use them for copywork and memorization.
“If I could stop one heart from breaking” by Emily Dickinson
“In the Long Run” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
COMPASSION IN DAILY LIFE To explore how compassion appears in our daily lives, or the difference between compassionate and uncompassionate responses, I created this worksheet offering a hypothetical example for Max.
“Compassion is a keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” (Thomas Merton)