As soon as we got news that Montse had been declared Venerable, we set to work. We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity in the school to help the students emulate a girl of their age that struggled like Montse to be a Saint. We quickly formed an ’Operation Montse’ committee to organise some activities that could help spread devotion to Montse and know her life better. Already, in the students’ retreats in the year, we had chosen as the book to read during meals: Montse: the Fun-Loving Teenager.
As preparation for what was to come we started by watching the documentary on Montse in the School Hall. When the movie ended, a thunderous applause followed. The young people could identify themselves with Montse and they admire her greatly.
The Operation Montse team decided to organise a Montse Day during which the different classes would put up presentations on different aspects of Montse’s life. All this was to coincide with Montse’s birthday - July 10th. For some weeks leading up to this feast day, our school Chaplain brought up in the Homily at Mass different aspects of Montse’s life. The message was very clear and often the girls would comment on Montse’s humility or courage, etc.
So everyone got their deadlines for the various presentations and we started to work. The Senior Class, because they are in their final year and have major national exams to prepare for, were not included in the interclass competition, but 10 of them volunteered to be judges and they also monitored the preparations being done by each class and whether they were actually beating the deadlines.
As the time for the presentations drew near, the Form Mistresses also got very involved in the preparations.
We were surprised by the father of one of the students who offered to make a banner for the day on which we were to celebrate Montse. The banner read: Kianda School Celebrates Venerable Montse Grases: From an early age she constantly sought holiness in her daily life.
It gave the exhibition a very professional tone.
Another class did research on Montse’s sickness and presented an incredible work of science. Being only Form Ones, they impressed the judges so much that they became the winners. They spoke with confidence, knowledge and conviction.
The girl who was the main presenter at their stand, kept emphasising that God can heal any disease but he chose to leave Montse to die of this sickness at such a young age to teach young people that they can also die young and what really matters is to have loved God and others.
Another group stocked their stand with enough prayer cards and enthused all passing by their stand to pray through Montse as they made their presentation on Favours gained through her intercession. One of the presenters spoke so animatedly about the favours that by the end of her speech, all the prayer cards had disappeared into people’s pockets.
At another corner a student had drawn the face of Montse on paper. The drawings were so real and people flocked there to really admire it.
There was also a class which presented on Montse’s life of prayer. After learning from her they came up with this conclusion: there is time to pray and to pray a lot even if sometimes they think their day is so short and full of things to be done. This class composed a beautiful prayer to Montse for their teacher who had just undergone a serious surgery and was still at home recuperating. Their prayer said: We pray to Montse and implore that she may be a friend to our Form Mistress, … and help her through her time of need, so she may go through it with the same grace Monstse Grases did. Amen.
One Class had set up a leafy tree which guarded the door to the presentation hall. It was Montse’s family tree. The tree had pictures of Montse’s family members on it. It was not only attractive but also very neatly done. More impressive was that they had taken time to read her life so well that at the time of doing their presentation they were able to remember all the names without referring to any write up.
There was another Class that had downloaded a few clips and showed them at their stand. They presented on Montse – the fun-loving teen. This group had done a lot of research on Montse’s sporting activities.
We learnt the value of friendship as one Class presented on: Montse, A Friend of God and of her friends. At the end of a fulfilling Montse Day on Tuesday 12th July, the judges had also learnt a lot from their peers and they had to give their report and declare the winning Class.
All along the Primary Classes were invited to come and ask their questions as they moved from one stand to another. Some of them had come with their note books to be able to take notes.
At some point we realised the prayer cards were going very fast till we partly found the cause: the primary kids were getting a good number of them so as to give their parents and siblings at home one by one.... I saw one that had even written each name on the prayer card.
With all this, we hope that devotion to Montse is growing and we know that she will intercede for more girls in our School and everywhere to be like her.