Monasticism: St. Gerasimus



  1. Students should be able to say the word “monasticism” and to know a little about the life of a monk.
  2. Students should be able to tell the story of St. Seraphim and say his name.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of St. Gerasimus:

St. Gerasimus left his home to live as a hermit. Do you know what a hermit is? A hermit lives all alone, in silence and prayer, with only a little food and a hard cave or hut to sleep in. Some hermits come together on Sundays for liturgy. No one in a hermitage owns anything except one set of clothes, a pot for water and a mat to sleep on.

St. Gerasimus lived for many years as a hermit. He was a kind and gentle man. Animals loved St. Gerasimus. One day, a sick lion with a thorn in its paw visited St. Gerasimus. The saint pulled out the thorn and bathed and bandaged the swollen paw. The lion became his friend and followed the saint like a dog. Each day the lion was told to go with the donkey on its trip to the Jordan River for grazing and water and guard the donkey. But, one day, the lion fell asleep. A caravan of merchants came by and saw the donkey, seeming to be all alone. They took the donkey and rode off. When the lion woke up, he was ashamed and went back to St. Gerasimus without the donkey. The saint thought the lion had eaten the donkey! After that, the lion would carry the barrel of water that the donkey used to carry. One day, a soldier bought the monastery a donkey and the lion was set free.

Much later, the caravan of merchants who had taken the donkey passed by again. The donkey was leading three camels loaded with goods. Suddenly, a lion leaped out and grabbed the donkey’s halter with its teeth. The merchants and camels ran away in fear. The lion led the donkey back to the monastery. The camels, loaded with wheat, followed the donkey and the lion. St. Gerasimus told the lion he was sorry he had accused him unjustly of eating the donkey.

The lion stayed with the monks until the death of St. Gerasimus. It went to the grave of its friend and roared and roared. Then it lay down and died.


  1. True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

            St. Gerasimus was a hermit monk.                  St. Gerasimus was a king.

            A lion was the saint’s friend.                          St. Gerasimus was a lion.

            The lion brought back the donkey.                 The lion ate the donkey.


  1. Discuss monastic life: What is a monk? How does a monk live? Some live alone and some in communities called monasteries. Repeat the words “monk” and “monastery.” Ask the students what a typical day in their lives is like – what do they do, eat, wear, type of home, etc. Now take a monk in a monastery and contrast each aspect. Then a hermit. Try a game of “silence”; how long can the students stay silent?


  1. Make a handprint lion and footprint donkey. Have each child trace one hand and one foot on a piece of paper. Add mane, eyes, mouth for lion and ears, eyes, nose for donkey. Color and label “The Friends of St. Gerasimus”.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, I ask St. Gerasimus to pray for me that I will grow closer to You every day.