St. Philip School student wins national prayer contest

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EASTON, Mass. – Family Rosary has selected Paula Elizabeth Daigle of St. Philip School, Greenville, as the first-place winner in the Grade 4 division of the 2010 U.S. “Try Prayer! It Works!” contest, a national competition that encourages students to express their faith through art, poetry and prose.

Daigle was selected from more than 4,000 entries and more than 40,000 participants in the 15th annual contest.

Each year, children and teens from Catholic schools, parishes and other Catholic organizations employ their creative skills to illustrate a different faith-based theme. This year, the theme was “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” and students from kindergarten through 12th-grade creatively depicted in various art forms how their families are united by daily prayer and faith.

For her award-winning entry, Daigle submitted a moving narrative of how prayer helped her find a happy home life. The 9-year-old lives in Woonsocket with her parents. She enjoys reading, drama and singing while her favorite subjects in school are music, art and math.

“The contest enables children of all ages to express creatively the importance of prayer and faith in their daily lives,” said Holy Cross Father John Phalen, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “Our founder, Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, created the expression that we used as the theme this year. He lived in a small village in Ireland and his family would gather together each evening to pray the rosary. Father Peyton realized at a very early age just how important this prayer is in helping families to grow closer as they face the trials and tribulations of modern society.”

In addition to the “Try Prayer! It Works!” contest in the United States, separate competitions are conducted in Mexico, East Africa, West Africa, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Ireland, France, Chile, Haiti and the Philippines. Entries are judged on content, ability to capture and interpret the theme, artistic and technical proficiency, and adherence to rules.

Following is the winning entry:

Once I was a foster child because my parents couldn’t take care of me. I didn’t know about prayer, but I had heard abut Jesus. I went from house to house for five years. When I was 7 years old, I went to a house that was very Catholic. The foster parents taught me how to pray. We went to church every Sunday and prayed at meals, bedtime and when we needed to.

I prayed to God that I would get a family. Then on Tuesday, May 19, we drove to court and they adopted me! Right after that I was baptized and made my first Communion. I am in fourth grade and am nine years old. Prayer changed my life and now I pray more.

-Paula Daigle