Our School Saints
We are very proud to have 2 saints as our patrons: St Gregory and St Patrick.
St Gregory’s feast day is September 3rd so sometimes we aren’t in school to celebrate with the children. However, since St Gregory is the patron saint of teachers, we make sure all the staff reflect on him and his work as we prepare for the coming year.
St Patrick’s feast day is March 17th and it’s a special day for us to celebrate together.
In Key Stage One we find out more about each Saint; their lives and what we can learn from them. Year 1 learn about St Patrick and Year 2 about St Gregory.
We think it’s important that our children know about other very important people so in the Early Years, we focus on Jesus and Mary too. Nursery learn about Jesus and his life and Reception learn about Mary. Pre Nursery share lots of stories from both the Old and New Testament to let them hear about God and Jesus and all the wonderful things they do. In this way, our children’s knowledge and understanding of the roles of saints and special people is a true progression and a firm foundation on which they can build as they move on.
Pope Saint Gregory I, also known as the Great, was the Pope of the Catholic Church between 590 and 604 AD.
Gregory was born around 540 in Rome into a family of great wealth and influence. He was well educated and excelled in all his studies. He also became an expert in law. He excelled so much he became the Prefect of Rome, just as his father had been. Gregory was only 33 years old.
After Gregory's father had died, Gregory had the family villa in Rome converted into a monastery. In 590, Pope Pelagius II died, and Gregory was proclaimed pope by acclamation. This was not something Gregory wanted, but he accepted the burden nevertheless.
Gregory made clear he preferred the monastic life. He also referred to himself as a servant of God. Pope Gregory was famous for the emphasis he put on missionary work. He sent many people out to bring many to Jesus and into the Church. Anglo-Saxon Britain was, at that time, still on the frontier of Christendom. It was Pope Gregory who sent St. Augustine to Kent in 597
Pope Gregory was well known for his aid to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to the people who worked for him that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.
He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person. Any clergy who were unwilling to go into the streets and help the poor were replaced.
When a famine struck Rome in the 590s, Pope Gregory ordered the Church to use its assets to feed the poor. At that time, the Church controlled nearly two thousand square miles of land, overseen by the clergy and used to generate income. Now, instead of selling the produce of the land, Pope Gregory ordered it shipped to Rome and given away for free. In this way, he saved thousands of people from certain death. St Gregory inspires us to do lots of work collecting food for foodbank (See our outreach page).
Pope Gregory himself refused to eat until his monks returned from their work of handing out food. He also made certain to dine with a dozen poor people at each meal.
Pope Gregory suffered from arthritis in his last years. He died on March 12, 604 AD. He was immediately proclaimed a saint by means of popular acclaim. Saint Gregory's relics remain in St. Peter's Basilica to this day.
He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.
St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.
A few years after returning home, Patrick was ordained a priest and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people -eventually thousands - and he began building churches across the country. He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.
In His Footsteps:
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. So complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission, he feared nothing -not even death.
"The Breastplate," Patrick's poem of faith and trust in God:
"Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
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