Courtesy O’Hara SchoolFr. Ronald Nelson, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Eugene, poses with St. Juan Diego, aka sixth-grader Jose Zamora, during O’Hara School’s annual Living Saints Presentation.
Courtesy O’Hara School
Fr. Ronald Nelson, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Eugene, poses with St. Juan Diego, aka sixth-grader Jose Zamora, during O’Hara School’s annual Living Saints Presentation.
EUGENE — Early last month, nearly 1,000 people from around Oregon visited O’Hara School here for a self-guided journey of spiritual heroes at the 19th annual Living Saints Presentation, a nationally recognized, award-winning project.

Every spring, each sixth-grade student selects a saint to study for three months. Students write about the country their saint lived in, study ancient cartographic techniques and create antique-looking country maps, write reports about their saint’s life, and study the medieval art of illuminated manuscript and the art of iconography.

The Living Saints Presentation is an example of integrated curriculum, in which students apply knowledge across multiple subjects to create a meaningful project. Representing 50 saints and blesseds from five continents, students in costume shared stories, dramatic artwork, and offered inspirational examples of faith, hope and charity.  

The presentation was started by sixth-grade teacher Maryanne Obersinner. The annual project has been recognized nationally and awarded the 2008 Innovations in Education Award for Total Community Involvement by “Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine.” Icons created by the sixth-grade class of 2009 were a featured exhibit at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art here. Icons created by the sixth-grade class of 2014 were a featured exhibit at University of Portland’s Buckley Center Art Gallery. In 2009, Obersinner was named one of 12 Distinguished Teachers of the Year by the National Catholic Educational Association and was the featured alum in “Oregon Quarterly” magazine for December 2010.