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St Joseph's Catholic Primary School - Kings Norton, Birmingham

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Our Class Saints

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, and some had the ability to be in two places at once. God knew these people, as He know 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 the bishop reads any books or papers that are found 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 makes 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 do not. 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 statute of a saint.


Reception - St Joseph

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of our school, and our role model in all that we do.

St Joseph was Jesus ‘foster’ father on earth, chosen by God to help Mary to raise Jesus. The Bible tells us that Joseph was a ‘just man’, meaning that he was good and fair. He was a carpenter and worked hard at his job.

St Joseph is the patron saint of many things. We can ask St Joseph to help us when we are feeling worried or confused about things. People usually pray to St Joseph for help for the poor, for the support and protection of fathers and families and even for help with work.

St Joseph is the patron saint of all working people. He is seen as a role model for fathers, and so St Joseph is known as a protector of families. In 1870, St Joseph was also declared the patron saint of the Universal Church.

Feast day is 19th March.


Year One- St Francis of Assissi

Francis was born in 1182. His parents gave their son all the good things that money could buy. He liked poems, songs and parties and became a knight for a while; he had a dream telling him to go home and to follow God. When he got home Francis went to pray in an old Church. There he heard Jesus telling him to rebuild it. He sold some of his father's best cloth and repaired the Church. He took off his fine clothes and gave them to the poor and left home.

Francis began to visit hospitals and to serve the sick. He believed that everything was made by God was very good. He admired the great and wonderful things of the world; he told all the birds and animals to praise God.

Some people decided to live like Francis and he took twelve young men to Rome with him, and the Pope gave him permission to start a new religious order, the Franciscans.

Francis had a vision in which he saw Jesus hanging on the cross and he was given the same wounds that Jesus had on his hands, his feet and his side. When Francis grew ill and weak he thanked God for the pain he was suffering. He died in 1226.

Feast Day is 4th October


Year Two - St Bernadette

Bernadette was born in 1844 in Lourdes, in France. Bernadette was often sick she suffered from asthma. Her family were very poor. Whilst gathering firewood, a beautiful lady appeared to her in a cave.

Bernadette saw the lady eighteen times. The lady asked her to dig a little hole in the ground and to wash her face. Suddenly a spring started to flow.

Bathing in the spring has cured many pilgrims.

Later Bernadette became a nun. She died at the age of thirty six in 1879.

Feast Day 16th April


Year Three -  St Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent was born in Ranquine, France, the son of a peasant farmer. He was able to study and become a priest in 1600. He was traveling by sea when Barbary pirates captured him; he survived two hard years as a slave, but escaped to Rome and later, Paris. It was there that he met Cardinal Pierre de Berulle, who influenced Vincent to devote his life to charitable works.

He established organizations of men and women to provide aid to the poor and sick. He depended on the donations of the wealthy, who made it possible for him to found hospitals and an orphanage.

In 1625, in Paris, Vincent founded the Congregation of the Missions, called the Lazarites or Vincentians, a society of priests charged with missionary efforts, the training of clergy, and preaching among the country people. In 1633, with St. Louise de Marillac (f.d. April 28), he founded the Sisters of Charity, the first congregation of women to care for the sick and poor outside of the convent. During Vincent’s life, the Vincentians increased in number and spread across the world.

He died in Paris on September 27, 1660, and was canonized by Pope Clement XII (r. 1730-40) in 1737.

Feast day is September 27


Year Four - St Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saint Teresa was born on the 26th August 1910 in Skopje, part of the modern-day country of Macedonia. She was originally called Agnes Bojaxhiu. She was baptised the day after she was born. Agnes had an older brother and sister. When Agnes was eight years old her father died. She missed him very much. Without her father working to earn money Agnes’ family became poor. Agnes and her mother still helped people in need and gave food to them because Jesus said, ‘I was hungry and you gave me food.’

On the 15th August 1928 Agnes went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Black Madonna. While she was praying she knew that God was calling her to be a nun and look after the poor. She joined the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto in Ireland and received the name Teresa, after her patroness St Therese of Lisieux. She trained as a teacher and became principal of a high school in Calcutta in India. While she was there she was horrified by the sight of so many sick and dying people on the streets. She knew that it was wrong and she was determined to do something about it although she didn’t really know what at first.

In 1946 she was travelling to Darjeeling by train as she prayed the Rosary, Jesus spoke to her, ‘I thirst and I want you, to serve me in the poorest of the poor. ‘His message was clear and she decided to leave the convent and help the poor by living among them.

People came to help Mother Teresa in her work and eventually she had so many helpers they became a new order called the Missionaries of Charity. No-one was turned away and the sisters vowed not to own possessions or have wealth of their own, but to give everything they had to the poor.

On the 5th September 1997 Mother Teresa went home to Jesus. Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa and on the 4th September 2016. Pope Francis canonised her, declaring her a Saint.

Feast Day 5th September

Year 5 - St Josephine Bakhita

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan, Africa, in 1869. When she was a child, she was captured and sold as a slave and suffered harsh treatment. Bakhita was taken to Italy and put into service as a nanny. She was sent to live with the Canossian Sisters in Venice. From the sisters she learned about God and Christianity. In time, she asked to be baptised, and took the name Josephine. At the age of 41, Josephine felt God calling her to become one of the sisters. The Canossian Sisters accepted her into their community.
For twenty-five years, Sister Josephine carried out humble services in the convent. She cooked, sewed, took care of the chapel and answered the door. During World War I, Sister Josephine helped to care for the wounded. She became known for her kindness and goodness. She was a source of comfort and encouragement to everyone who came to her in need.
She was canonized on October 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.
St. Josephine is the patron saint of the Christian Sudanese people who still suffer persecution for their faith.

Feast Day 8th February.


Year Six - St Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe was born Raymund Kolbe on 8th January 1894 in Poland. His life was strongly influenced by a vision he had of the Virgin Mary when he was 12 years old.

As a priest, Kolbe worked for the conversion of sinners and enemies of the church. He travelled around Poland, promoting Mary and set up a religious printing press. Later, he founded monasteries in Japan and India.

Kolbe returned to Poland in 1936 due to his poor health. When World War Two broke out, he was one of the only Franciscans to stay in the monastery and he opened up a hospital for those who had been injured. He also provided shelter for refugees. Kolbe refused to sign paperwork that he would be recognised as a German citizen and when the monastery was shut down he was arrested.

After 2 months in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, some me were chosen to be starved to death. Kolbe was not one of them, but he took the place of a man with a family. After 2 weeks, he was the last person still alive and he was given a lethal injection. It is said that he calmly raised his arm and awaited death.

Feast Day 14th August