6 Saints to Pray to This School Year
Going back to school for a new academic year can be exciting, nerve-wracking, or something you dread—or a little bit of each. Whether you are a teacher or a student, or you just want to pray for those involved in education, try praying to these 6 saints who were devoted to teaching and learning.
1. St. Catherine of Alexandria
In the fourth century A.D., a teenage girl stood up to an emperor to defend the Christian faith and denounce the persecution of Christians. Her name was Catherine, and she lived in Alexandria, Egypt. St. Catherine was inspired by the Holy Spirit to successfully defend the faith against dozens of orators and philosophers. She so enraged the emperor that he ordered her beheaded. St. Catherine is a patron saint of students and librarians.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the giants of Catholic theology. This Dominican priest was deeply devoted to intellect and spent much of his life learning, teaching, and writing. In addition to being a great scholar and theologian, he was also a man dedicated to God. He continues to have important influence in Catholic thought, particularly with his most famous work, Summa Theologica. St. Thomas Aquinas is a patron saint of students and universities.
3. St. Joseph Calasanz
During the 1500s and 1600s in Rome, it was difficult for poor children to get an education. St. Joseph Calasanz, a priest who had traveled to Rome from Spain, was very troubled by this. He especially noticed a need for education among orphans and homeless children. In response, he and two other priests started a school for poor children. The community of teaching priests became the Piarists. Learn more about St. Joseph Calasanz, who has been featured on Encounter.
4. St. Angela Merici
Like St. Joseph Calasanz, St. Angela Merici also noticed a great need for education among Italy’s children, especially girls. Understanding that there were few options for these girls, she decided to teach them herself in her home. St. Angela Merici’s idea caught on, and other women joined her. Eventually, they became the first teaching order of Catholic women, the Ursulines.
5. St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco is the patron saint of schoolchildren. As a priest, he captured the attention of children in a unique way: by performing magic tricks. Like any good educator, St. John Bosco knew that children would best listen to his messages about education and faith if they were first captivated by the teacher. He did great work to secure education, lodgings, and fair apprenticeships for young boys. His Society of St. Francis de Sales continues that work today.
6. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
After facing many hardships in her life, including the death of her husband, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton followed her lifelong love of God by converting to the Catholic faith. As a mother, she had a deep concern for children in need. In response to this concern, she opened the first free Catholic school in the United States in Baltimore. The establishment of this school led to the foundation of a community of sisters, the Sisters of Charity. Mother Seton cared for and educated children in need for the rest of her life. She is the patron saint of Catholic schools and the first native-born American citizen to become a saint.