6 Saints Who Had an Educational Mission
As we wrap up Catholic Schools Week, we’d like to highlight some of the saints who have had the biggest impact on Catholic education. These 6 individuals were fiercely dedicated to accessible education for all people, especially those who were most needy. The following saints (and one blessed) were wonderful examples of using their God-given gifts to reach out to all of God’s children.
1. St. John Bosco
Feast Day: January 31
St. John Bosco, beloved founder of the Salesians, focused especially on education for poor young boys. He believed in not only on academic instruction, but also on vocational education and formation of the whole person.
2. St. Angela Merici
Feast Day: January 27
Like St. John Bosco, St. Angela Merici was also concerned with the education of young people, especially women. She was dedicated to improving family life through the formation of wives and mothers, and she achieved this by founding the Ursulines.
3. St. Katharine Drexel
Feast Day: March 3
St. Katharine Drexel was born into privilege, but she gave up everything for God. She had a particular concern for Native Americans and African Americans, and she decided to minister to them through education. One of her greatest achievements was the founding of Xavier University, a Catholic university for African Americans.
4. St. Mary Mackillop
Feast Day: July 19
Australia’s first saint, St. Mary Mackillop, was drawn to helping the poor. Like her holy predecessors in Catholic education, she wanted especially to serve poor children. Her community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, ministered widely in schools in orphanages.
5. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast Day: January 4
This founder of the Sisters of Charity was also the founder of the first parish school in the United States. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was a married woman who was widowed at a young age and converted to the Catholic faith. The schools and the order she founded have helped shape the identity of Catholic America.
6. Bl. Basile Moreau
Feast Day: January 20
Bl. Basile Moreau was a priest and professor who grew up during the French Revolution. He founded the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which included priests, brothers, and sisters who were deeply devoted to education. Bl. Basile’s cause for canonization is currently being considered.