Our Saints

What is a Saint?

A saint is a person who was given special graces from God. Saints lived their lives loving God and making a difference to others through their actions and words. God called them to do his will and they listened.

At Holy Family School we are guided by St Joseph and Our Lady.

Dear Lord,
Bless our family.
Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.
Amen.

Saint Joseph,
pray for the head of our family.
Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom,
and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.
Amen.

Mother Mary,
pray for the mother of our family.
Help her to be pure and kind,
gentle and self-sacrificing.
For the more she resembles you,
the better will our family be.
Amen.

Lord Jesus,
bless the children of our family.
Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents.
Make them more and more like You.
Let them grow, as You did,
in wisdom and strength and grace before God and man.
Amen.

Our Class Saints

Nursery - St George (Feast Day 23rd April)

Saint George

St George’s feast day is celebrated on Thursday 23rd April.

He was born in what is now known as Turkey and he died in what is now known as Israel. St George was martyred for his faith. The reason he was killed was because he refused to make a sacrifice to pagan gods.

Because St George made a sacrifice of his life for his faith, he was known as being strong and courageous. Dragons were often used in stories to depict the devil (evil). This is probably where the story of St George slaying the dragon comes from.

St George is the patron Saint of England (the English flag comes from St George’s cross). He is an international saint for Venice, Genoa, Portugal, Ethiopia and Catalonia. These places have their own celebrations and ceremonies in his honour.

Help us to be as brave and fearless as St George and to always work for what is right. Help us to be kind and helpful to all. Amen.

Reception - St Patrick (Feast Day 17th March)

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the primary patron saint of Ireland.

Born in Roman Britain, he was captured by Irish raiders and was taken on a boat to Ireland. Here he was made to work as a shepherd for many years. During his time as a shepherd Patrick felt lonely and so prayed to God. One evening whilst Patrick was fast asleep, an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to look out for a boat which would take him home. After many days and nights of walking, Patrick came across a harbour where he discovered a small boat which helped him to get away from Ireland.

Whilst back home, Patrick studied for many years to become a bishop. Sometime later the angel reappeared to Patrick in a dream. The angel showed Patrick a letter written by the people of Ireland, asking him to go back to Ireland. Patrick returned to Ireland and told them all about God.

Year 1 - St Francis of Assisi (Feast Day 4th October)

Saint Francis of Assisi

As a young man, Francis liked to have a good time. His father was rich. But once, when he was sick, Francis heard our Lord calling him to leave the world and follow Him. Francis began to visit the hospitals and to serve the sick. He used to say, "When one serves the poor, he serves Christ Himself."

Francis put on the clothes of a poor shepherd and began to preach to the people about peace with God, peace with one's neighbour, and peace with one's self. He looked on all people and things as his brothers and sisters because they were all created by the same God.

Francis took twelve young men to Rome with him, and the Pope gave him permission to start a new religious order, the Franciscans. He also helped St. Clare to start the order known as the Poor Clares.

Francis had a vision in which he saw Jesus hanging on the Cross. The marks of the five wounds of Jesus were left in his hands, his side, and his feet, which remained with him all his life.

He died October 4 1226 and this date later became is feast day. St Francis is the Patron saint of animals and ecology, and is linked to the Stewardship of God’s creation. He wrote the famous prayer The Canticle of Creatio.

Year 2 - St Josephine Bakhita (Feast Day 8th February)

Saint Josephine Bakhita

"The Lord has loved me so much: we must love everyone… we must be compassionate!"

She was born in 1869 in Sudan. She was kidnapped by slave traders at the age of seven and lived as a slave for many years before she travelled to Italy. In Italy she worked in the convent and became a sister. She died in 1947 having devoted her life to God and to helping slaves and refugees. She was known for her gentleness and smile.

Heavenly Father, through the intercession of Saint Bakhita, grant that everywhere we may be instruments of your peace and grant this peace to every family and to the whole world. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Year 3 - St Teresa of Calcutta (Feast Day 5th September)

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Our class saint, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor and vulnerable around the world.

She spent many years in Calcutta, India where she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation devoted to helping those in great need.

In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became a symbol of charitable, selfless work. In 2016, Mother Teresa was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa. We celebrate her life in Year 3 by our praying, our charitable donations and fundraising for Tabor House and our love throughout the school.

Year 4 - St Therese of Lisieux (Feast Day 1st October)

Saint Therese of Lisieux

St Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower, was a French Catholic born in France in 1873, who had an ambition to become a Carmelite nun and a desire to become a saint of the Catholic Church.

As a young girl, Therese suffered with both ill health and mental difficulties. Doctors struggled to find any solutions, but it was only when her elder sister placed a statue of Mary in her room, that her health improved significantly.

After returning to good health, it was Therese’s aim to become a Carmelite but this was denied due her young age. It was only after an audience with Pope Leo XIII that he allowed her the right to join the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. She found it her duty to live a life of obedience, prayer and sacrifice to serve God.

Therese was a graceful individual, even when she was faced with criticism and gossip from others. Being unable to become a missionary and travel to Africa and China, she resorted to a responsibility to writing letters and books about spiritual patience. After her death in 1897, these writing were widely read around the world by the Catholic community and she was declared as a doctor of the Catholic Church.

St Therese was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 17, 1925 and has been referred to as Pope Francis’ favourite saint.

Year 5 - St John Henry Newman (Feast Day 9th October)

Saint John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman dedicated his life to spreading the word of God and to helping those in need. John believed that his mission was to serve others and to love God. John Henry Newman was canonised by Pope Francis on 13 October 2019, during an open-air Mass in St. Peter's Square.

John Henry Newman was born in London on the 21st February 1801. He had two brothers and three sisters, and he was the eldest in his family. His father was a banker but sadly he became bankrupt. John loved all things God gave him and used his talents wisely: he loved horse riding and sailing and played the violin. As a child, John was a member of the Church of England and at the age of sixteen, John went to Trinity College in Oxford. Unfortunately, his father had a tragic death while John was at college.

As he grew older, he was ordained and became a vicar at the college in Oxford. His task was to teach others, and everyone loved to listen to what he had to say. As he grew older, he began to question his faith and he then decided to become a Catholic. Sadly, his family and his friends ignored him because he had changed his faith but this didn’t stop John. A few years later, John was ordained a priest. Soon after, he founded the first ever Oratorian Congregation in Birmingham and he opened a school. He loved sharing God’s word and visiting people throughout his life.

John Henry Newman dedicated his life to helping others. He spent a lot of his time preaching and writing and visiting those in need. Sadly, John died near Birmingham at the age of 90. Tens of thousands lined the streets of Birmingham for the passing of his funeral cortege. He was buried in the Oratory’s cemetery. John Henry Newman knew that God gives a special mission in life. Every year we celebrate John Henry Newman’s feast day on 9 October.

Year 6 - St Maximillian Kolbe (Feast Day 14th August)

Saint Maximilian Kolbe

St Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Catholic Priest. At the age of 12, Our Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Maximilian (then named Raymund) in a vision. Following this experience, he was strongly influenced by Our Lady throughout his life, devoting himself to her.

Maximilian was inspired by two Franciscans who conducted a parish mission at his church, subsequently joining the Franciscan order with his older brother when he was just a teenager. During his time here, he practised what he learned, making sacrifices and helping others at every opportunity. Most of all he nourished a tender and profound love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose devotion is at the very heart of Franciscan life.

Kolbe entered the priesthood, adding the name ‘Mary’ into his own name when he took his vows. Father Maximilian Mary knew that the world which was so full of sin, needed their Heavenly Mother to guide and protect them.

Father Kolbe began publishing religious papers about Mary titled, ‘The Knight of the Immaculata’. As well as this, he built a large centre in Poland named, ‘City of Immaculate’ where a large community of Franciscans lived and worked hard to make the love of Mary known. Father Kolbe also established other places of worship in Nagasaki, Japan and in India.

Father Maximilian experienced poor health but never complained, seeing his illness as an opportunity to suffer for Mary. He remained an active priest in his journalist work, gaining a radio licence and publically broadcasting his views on religion.

In 1938, just before the outbreak of World War Two, the Nazis invaded the Polish City of the Immaculate and stopped the wonderful work going on there. Two years later, during WWII, Father Kolbe was arrested and imprisoned in a German Concentration Camp (Auschwitz) where he and hundreds of Jewish people were persecuted. Never abandoning his priesthood, Kolbe was the victim to severe violence and harassment.

Towards the end of his second month in Auschwitz, ten men were chosen to face death by starvation to warn against prisoner escapes. One of the men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!" When Kolbe heard this, he felt deeply moved and decided to help the suffering prisoner. He stepped forward out of line and volunteered to take the man’s place.

During the last days of his life, Kolbe led prayers to Our Lady with the prisoners and comforted the other men sentenced to death. After two weeks of starvation and dehydration in an underground bunker, Maximilian Kolbe was the only one of ten men that was still alive. Due to his, the guards gave him a lethal injection as Kolbe raised his left arm and calmly awaited death.

St. Maximilian Kolbe died on August 14th 1941 and his remains were cremated on August 15, the same day as the Assumption of Mary feast day. Recognized as the Servant of God, Kolbe was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and was declared a martyr.