Holy spirit

This Young Girl’s Beautiful Letter to Santa Shows the Holy Spirit in Action

This incredible story will inspire young and old.

Recently, Brother Mike Herlihey, a Capuchin friar, shared on Facebook a wonderful conversation he had with a 12-year-old girl, Sara Marques, about the Holy Spirit, and a letter she had sent to Fr. Christmas.

You might think that a spiritual conversation and a letter to Santa Claus don’t have much in common. But the discussion and the letter led to a whole set of circumstances that demonstrated exactly how the Holy Spirit is at work, even when we don’t realize it.

Before we get to the letter, it’s important to know some of the story of how the Holy Spirit came alive for a young girl on a mission to save the world…

Learn more about the Holy Spirit

The story begins when Brother Mike talked with Sara—whose family is from Brazil but currently lives in Virginia—and her 11-year-old friend, Nathan*, about the Holy Spirit. Brother Mike explained how the conversation unfolded in a Facebook post:

“’Brother Mike, who is the Holy Spirit?’ ‘Brother Mike, what does the Holy Spirit do?’ And so on. It was great! I told them the Holy Spirit is like the wind, you can’t see the wind but you can see its effects, the moving trees and the feel on your skin. I told them that the Holy Spirit is God, and the one that Jesus left for us when He went to heaven. They were so curious and eager to learn.

Photo courtesy of Raquel and Hugo Marques

Incidentally, this was only Nathan’s second time going to church. Sara’s parents, Raquel and Hugo, took him and his younger brother to church with their family.

The Holy Spirit in the Sacraments

Raquel came in and joined in the conversation that Brother Mike, Sara, and Nathan were having, and the Holy Spirit really began to show its presence…

Raquel – unaware of what her daughter and Nathan had spoken to Brother Mike about – brought up the subject of when Sara might receive her confirmation. Brother Mike shared that it is “a sacrament very close to the Holy Spirit”. Raquel then turned to Nathan and asked him: you do you want to become a Christian and be baptized?

“With a big smile on his face, he nodded and said ‘yes!

This inspired Raquel to show Brother Mike something – it was a letter Sara had written to Santa Claus. After reading it, you will undoubtedly feel “blown away”, just like adults:


Photo courtesy of Raquel and Hugo Marques

Although Sara’s handwriting is beautiful, here is the typed letter for ease:

Dear Santa,

Merry Christmas! I hope you’re doing well. This year I tried very hard and I think I was nice. I helped others, was kind, and cared for those who were unloved. This Christmas, all I ask for is peace. I know it’s not a joy-wrapped gift but to me, that’s it. I only ask for peace in my family, peace in my friendships and peace in our world. I grew up learning that our world isn’t perfect, but if someone like me asks for peace as a Christmas present, it can change everything. Please let God bless everything that matters to me and everything around me. May you have a Merry Christmas and I promise to write to you again next year.

Sara, did not forget to include her family’s needs in her letter, adding: “Please make sure my brother gets the bike he wants and my mom delivers Maria safely. (Raquel is expecting a baby girl in March.)


Photo courtesy of Raquel and Hugo Marques

The Holy Spirit in action

After reading the letter, the conversation continued with the children. Brother Mike shared, “Then Nathan said to me, ‘Brother Mike, I want to meet the Holy Spirit!’ Sara said, ‘Yeah, me too! Surprised, I replied, “Guys, you just did it. They looked at me shocked with their mouths wide open. ‘Do you remember I told you that you cannot see the Holy Spirit but you can see its effects? You asked me questions about the Holy Spirit, then Sara your mother came to us without knowing what we were talking about and asked about your confirmation and Nathan about your baptism, in the two sacraments where you receive the Holy -Spirit in a special way, then Sara, your mother, showed me your Christmas letter to Santa Claus where you ask God for peace and peace is the fruit of receiving the Holy Spirit. You wanted the Holy Spirit? Well, there it is !

“Their mouths opened in shock. Then they smiled and laughed happily. Then Nathan said, ‘I mean Holy Moley, but I’m going to say Holy Spirit.’ ”

But the Holy Spirit didn’t stop there…

This all happened on Sunday, December 12. The next day, Raquel shared with Aleteia something Sara told her father:

“Dad, you need to post my letter on LinkedIn because more kids need to ask Santa for peace; not just me. If more children ask for peace instead of looking for things on Google or Amazon, the more peace we will have in the world.

The next day, Tuesday, December 14, I saw Brother Mike’s post on Facebook and asked him to contact the family to see if Aleteia could post Sara’s letter. When her mother, Raquel, heard about it, she said to me (English is not her first language): “You bring where the Holy Spirit wishes this story to be published. Glory to God and the Holy Spirit!!!”


The story is a beautiful testimony to the faith of Sara and her family, as well as Brother Mike’s teaching to the children. And as we move through the fourth week of Advent into the Christmas season, where the focus is on peace, it seems only fitting that Sara should share her story with others, to inspire them to invite the Holy Spirit in their life.

And perhaps Brother Mike’s final words on this delightful episode will inspire us all to seek that same peace that Sara longs for:

“Sara’s letter reminds me of the old hymn, ‘Peace be on earth, and it begin with me.’ This Christmas, I pray that Sara will receive her Christmas gift of peace from the Holy Spirit. I pray that through her gift of peace she will change the world, bringing peace one heart at a time, just as she brought mine. “If a person like me asks for peace as a Christmas present, it can change everything.”

*Nathan’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.