Saint Catherine of Siena
(1347-1380) Feast Day - 29th April
Catherine was born at Siena, Tuscany in Italy. Catherine was the youngest in a family of twenty-five children. When she was six years old Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her mother and father wanted her to be happily married. But, Catherine wished only to be a nun.
To make herself as unattractive as possible, she cut off her long, beautiful hair. Her parents were very upset and scolded her often. They also gave her the most difficult housework to do. But Catherine did not change her mind. Finally, her parents stopped bothering her and allowed her to become a nun.
St. Catherine was very honest and straightforward with Jesus and scolded him when he was not around to help her in her struggles and temptations. Jesus told her that because he was in her heart she was able to win her struggles by his grace.
One night, when the people of Siena were out on the streets celebrating. The little baby Jesus and his mother Mary appeared to Catherine who was praying alone in her room. Mary took Catherine's hand and the infant Jesus put a ring on the saint's finger and she became his bride.
In those days the Church had many problems. There were fights going on all over Italy. Catherine wrote letters to kings and queens. She even went to beg rulers to make peace with the pope and to avoid wars.
Catherine asked the pope to leave Avignon, France, and return to Rome to rule the Church as it was God's will. He listened to St. Catherine and did as she said.
Catherine never forgot that Jesus was in her heart. Through her, Jesus helped the sick people she nursed and comforted the prisoners she visited in jail.
This great saint died in Rome in 1380 when she was just thirty-three. She is the patroness of Italy, her country. Hundreds of years later St. Catherine was named a Doctor of the Church. She received this great honour because she served Jesus' Church boldly during her short lifetime.
What is a Saint?
A saint is a person just like you and me that God gave special graces to in order for them to do special things. All the saints were holy men and women. Some of the saints could work miracles, some could heal, some had the ability to be in two places at once. God knew these people, as He knows us, and gave them these abilities because God knew these people would do His Will. How often do we pray to do God's Will? The saints asked all the time.
How do we make a Saint?
The process used by the church to name a saint is called canonization. This process has been used since the 10th century.
The bishop waits for a long time after the death of a person. Then an investigation is started. His or her life is looked at and any books or papers that are found are read by the bishop to be sure that person follows the true teaching of the church.
Then a group of people called Theologians and cardinals in a group called 'Congregation for the Causes of Saints' at the Vatican look into it and they decide if they should be approved.
If they are approved then the pope makes them Venerable. The next step is after death they have to perform a miracle. That make sure that the person is in heaven. A person like you or me has to ask them for a special thing such as a healing. If we are healed, then the pope can Beatify them. The third and final step is one more miracle. After that miracle then the pope can canonize them. That tells us that the person has led a holy life, is in heaven, and is to be honoured by the Church.
Do we worship the Saints?
No, we don't. We only worship God. The saints only assist us in our prayers to God. We only ask for the saint's intercession for us to God. The saints wrap up our prayers and hand them to God for us. They can talk to God for us. You can have a picture or a statue of a saint.
Each class has an allocated Saint whose example they try to follow:
We also recognise other important Saints whose lives help us to follow in Jesus' footsteps.
Saint George (Nursery) - Feast Day: 23rd April
We know very little about St George’s life. It is thought that he was a Roman soldier who was tortured and then martyred by Emperor Diocletian when he refused to renounce his Christian faith.
He became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity, particularly as a military saint during the Crusades. He is also one of the ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’; a group of saints who are venerated together in Roman Catholicism, as it is thought that praying to them is very effective against various diseases. St George was thought specifically to protect animals against the plague.
He is most famous for the legend of St George and the Dragon.
Saint Patrick (Reception) - Feast Day: 17th March
Saint Patrick was born in England, but when he was a teenager, he was captured by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland as a slave. After six years, Saint Patrick escaped and returned to England and his family.
When Saint Patrick became a priest, he traveled back to Ireland as a missionary so that he could teach the people about God. He used examples to explain the mysteries of the faith in simple ways. One day, Saint Patrick compared the Trinity to a shamrock. He said that the shamrock has three leaves, but it is only one plant. In the same way, God is three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—but one God.
God used Saint Patrick’s kidnapping to convert the Irish people. In our lives, God uses the bad times to bring about a good we do not always see. We must be patient and trust Him.
Saint Catherine of Siena (Year 1) - Feast Day: 29th April
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.
At the age of 16, Catherine's sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine's parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance.
Her parents attempted to resist this move, to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Catherine once explained that she regarded her father as a representation of Jesus and her mother as Our Lady, and her brothers as the apostles, which helped her to serve them with humility.
Despite Catherine's religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.
Prayer to Saint Catherine of Siena
God of Wisdom you made our sister Catherine burn with divine love in contemplating the Lord's passion and in serving your Church. With the help of her prayers may your people, united in the mystery of Christ, rejoice forever in the revelation of his glory, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Year 2) - Feast Day: 5th September
When she was 36 years old, Mother Teresa felt the call from God to help the poor of India. She received some basic medical training and then set out to help the sick and needy. This wasn't an easy task in 1948 India. She had very little support and, while trying to feed and help the poorest of the poor, she herself was constantly hungry and even had to beg for food.
In 1950, Mother Teresa formed a group within the Catholic Church called the Missionaries of Charity. She described the purpose of the Missionaries of Charity as an organization that would take care of "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone".
Prayer to Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus for the children in Year 2.
Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.
Saint John Paul II (Year 3) - Feast Day: 22nd October
John Paul II became Pope on 16 October 1978. John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He was pope for 27 years, making him the second longest serving pope after Pope Pius IX who held the office for 31 years and seven months. He was also the first and only Slavic pope. John Paul II was the most traveled pope in history with 104 international trips.
During his lifetime he learned many foreign languages. He spoke Polish as his native language, and learned Latin and Ancient Greek in school. On the day that he officially became Pope, he spoke to people in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Czech and Portuguese. He also spoke a little Lithuanian, Hungarian, Russian and Ukrainian.
John Paul II beatified many people. This means that the Pope gave these people the title of "Blessed". One example is the painter Fra Angelico, who lived in the 1400s. After studying his life and teaching, it was decided that he should officially be called "the Blessed Fra Angelico". John Paul II gave more people the title of "Blessed" than any other pope in history. He also made many saints.
In 1984 John Paul II started World Youth Day which was first held in Rome and attended by about 300,000 people. Since then it has been held in a different country every year. It encourages young people to be faithful to God, and to live together in peace. Many millions of people have attended.
Prayer to St John Paul II
Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the Church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading her along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus. Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again, help them look up to the heavens again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.
Oh St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you beside Mary, send God’s blessing down upon us all.
Saint John Henry Newman (Year 4) - Feast Day: 9th October
John Henry Newman, (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was a poet and theologian, first an Anglican priest and later a Catholic priest and cardinal, who was an important and controversial figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. He was known nationally by the mid-1830s.
Originally an evangelical Oxford University academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman then became drawn to the high-church tradition of Anglicanism. He became known as a leader for the Oxford Movement, an influential and controversial grouping of Anglicans who wished to return to the Church of England many Catholic beliefs from before the English Reformation. In this the movement had some success.
In 1845 Newman, joined by some but not all of his followers, officially left the Church of England and his teaching post at Oxford University and was received into the Catholic Church. He was quickly ordained as a priest and continued as an influential religious leader, based in Birmingham. In 1879, he was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in recognition of his services to the cause of the Catholic Church in England. He was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland which evolved into University College Dublin, today the largest university in Ireland.
Prayer to St John Henry Newman
May the Lord support us all the day long, Till the shades lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then in his mercy may he give us a safe lodging, and holy rest, and peace at the last.
Saint Josephine Bakhita (Year 5) - Feast Day: 8th February
Saint Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan, Africa around1869. Her early childhood was a happy one. However, when she was seven, she was kidnapped by slave traders! From then on she was called Bakhita, meaning “lucky.” She was sold many times during the next twelve years. Some of her masters were nice but some were very cruel. On December 7, 1893, Josephine Bakhita entered the Canossian Daughters of Charity and made her final vows on December 8, 1896. During the following forty-two years, she served as a cook and a doorkeeper. Sometimes, she traveled to other convents telling her story and preparing the sisters for mission work in Africa. Josephine was known for her gentle voice, her smile, and her gentle character. Children respectfully called her the “little brown sister” or “black mother.” One time, a child was scared of her dark skin. She is said to have told the child not to be afraid – her skin was dark because she was made out of chocolate!
Josephine Bakhita died on February 8, 1947. Her last words were, “Our Lady, Our Lady!” Pope Saint John Paul II beatified her on May 17, 1992 and canonized her on October 1, 2000. Her feast day is February 8 and she is the patron Saint of Sudan.
Prayer to St Josephine Bakhita
St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery;
Intercede with God on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity.
Those whom man enslaves, let God set free. Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith. Help all survivors find healing from their wounds.
We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe (Year 6) - Feast Day: 14th August
Maximilian Maria Kolbe (originally christened Raymund) (1894-1941) is a Catholic saint. He was a Polish Franciscan who worked in Poland and Nagasaki, Japan. He died in Auschwitz because he wanted to save another prisoner. Maximilian saved the life of that prisoner. Maximilian is remembered on August 14, the date of his death. The first-class relics of St Maximilian Kolbe are preserved and distributed by the friary of Niepokalanów, establish by St Maximilian in Poland.
Kolbe was smuggled to a prison hospital to try to stop beatings and lashings as part of being a priest. One day three prisoners disappeared from the camp and then the deputy camp commander decided to choose ten men at random to be starved to death to prevent any more escapes.
One of the men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!" When Kolbe heard this he volunteered to take his place.
After two weeks of starvation and dehydration Kolbe was the only one of ten men that was still alive. He was always standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell looking very calm whenever the guards arrived. The guards then decided to give a lethal injection as he was still alive. Kolbe then raised his arm and waited for this deadly injection.
Prayer to St Maximillian Kolbe
O Lord Jesus Christ who said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” through the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose life illustrated such love.
Grant, O Lord Jesus, that we, too, may give ourselves entirely without reserve to the love and service of our Heavenly Queen in order to better love and serve our fellowman in imitation of your humble servant, St. Maximilian Kolbe.
At St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School we have a house point system, which involves four houses. The children in each house group voted to choose their patron saint. The children have chosen four inspirational Saints: St Andrew, St David, St George and St Patrick. Each pupil is allocated to a house which is represented by a different colour.
A pupil can obtain house points in various ways: for excellent class and homework, being polite, showing kindness, being a good example, trying their best in class, good manners in the dining hall, just showing a little extra effort, good behaviour in and out of the classroom, using initiative.
Each week the points are counted and the results read out in Friday's assembly. A half-termly prize is awarded to the winning house. Each term the points are totaled and also at the end of year.
Saint Andrew: Patron Saint of Scotland
Feast Day - 30th November
Prayer to Saint Andrew
Brother of Simon Peter, you heard John the Baptist say: "Behold the Lamb of God," and you chose to follow Jesus. Leaving your nets, you became a successful fisher of souls. Lover of the Crucified Christ, you too were crucified like him. Teach us to live and suffer for Him and to win many souls for Christ.
Saint David: Patron Saint of Wales
Feast Day - 1st March
Prayer to Saint David
Almighty God, who called your servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
Saint George: Patron Saint of England
Feast Day - 23rd April
Prayer to Saint George
Almighty God, who gave to your servant George boldness to Confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Saint Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
Feast Day - 17th March
Prayer to Saint Patrick
May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore.