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An app developed by a nun that teaches the deaf to pray

December 1, 2017

Pat Pomroy, a nun in the United States, wanted to pray with her young grandchildren but had no idea how to as they were both deaf.

Deaf children learn to pray

She did not know American Sign Language (ASL) well enough to teach them until she found a teacher, Sister Kathleen Schipani, who showed her signs for Jesus Christ, the word 'peace' and 'alleluia'.

The sign for Jesus Christ is a finger alternately tapping the palm of the opposite hand, in reference to the crucifixion, a clap followed by hands and fingers spinning in the air is 'alleluia', while palms together with a twisting motion means 'peace.'

App teaches families with deaf children how to pray & talk about faith in ASL

Schipani, who is the director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Deaf Apostolate, has now enlisted Sister Pomroy's grandchildren, Robert and Rachael, as stars of an app that she has created to teach families with deaf children how to pray, worship and talk about faith in ASL.

Called Religious Signs for Families, it is one of the first apps to focus solely on religious terminology, giving visual interpretations to concepts such as prayer, blessing, and praise.

In the app, seven adults and 13 children sign words including angel and blessing, and simple prayers such as 'God bless mommy,' 'Holy Spirit, guide me,' and 'Angel of God, watch over me as I sleep.'

The signs are captioned and voiced in English and Spanish.

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