Our school 'houses'
Saints at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School
God speaks to us in many ways, including through the saints of the Church. At St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, all the children are assigned into four different houses. These houses are named after saints, chosen after consultation with the children and staff, who were inspirational figures, providing us with an excellent example of how we can live our lives as followers of Jesus. Our school saints are also martyrs – people who died for their faith.
Our school Saints are:
St Joan of Arc
Feast Day: 30th May
In 2023, there are female soldiers taking part in wars, but this was not the case in the early 15th century when a seventeen year old girl presented herself as a leading general of an army in a war between France and England. This girl was Joan of Arc, known as the Maid of Orleans, and who later became a saint.
This was a time when many people had very little to eat and had to work very hard. In France, one of these poor families had a daughter named Joan. Joan worked every day to take care of the animals on their farm and sew and do other things to help the family survive. Young Joan was also very kind and always thinking about others. When others were sick she would visit them and bring them food to help them feel better.
At this time there was a war going on between Joan’s country, France, and England, which controlled parts of France. From a young age, Joan began to feel that she was called to help the people of France be free again. She began to tell her family and other people in her village about her strong beliefs. Soon other villages heard what Joan was saying about freedom and they believed her. The king finally listened to her message of hope and he decided to let her go to battle. They dressed her in armour and put her on an armoured horse and sent her off with the other soldiers.
During the battle, Joan carried a large flag. When the other soldiers saw Joan’s flag it gave them hope and Joan kept the soldiers feeling positive, even though things were hard. Through many other battles, Joan gave the soldiers hope. Eventually, there was peace between France and England. Later Joan was captured by those who didn’t agree with her views and put in jail for a time, but no matter what happened to her, she stood up for her beliefs.
St Joan of Arc inspires us at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School to have courage in our beliefs.
St Margaret Clitherow
Feast Day: 26th March 2023
Margaret Clitherow was born in 1556, one of five children of Thomas and Jane Middleton. Her father was a respected businessman, a wax-chandler and Sheriff of York in 1564. He died when Margaret was fourteen. Margaret married John Clitherow, a wealthy butcher and a chamberlain of the city, in 1571 and they had three children.
Margaret converted to Roman Catholicism in 1574. This was a very brave thing to do as you were not allowed to be a Catholic at this time. In fact, you could end up in prison for being a Catholic. Margaret was first put in prison in 1577 for failing to attend the ‘ established’ church. She was imprisoned two more times and her third child was born in prison.
Margaret thought it was very unfair that Catholics were being treated in this way and she wanted to do something to help. She rented a house where she kept Catholic priests hidden and where Mass could be celebrated. She helped protect lots of Catholic priests in the north of England. Unfortunately, it was discovered what Margaret Clitherow had been doing and she was arrested for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She was treated harshly and was tortured by the authorities for what she had done. Even though she was expecting her fourth baby, Margaret Clitherow was executed because of her actions and her commitment in the Catholic faith.
St Margaret Clitherow inspires us at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School to have confidence when things are difficult.
Dear Lord, give us the courage to live our lives as you want us to. May we follow the example of St Margaret Clitherow’s life and her commitment to her faith. Amen.
Feast Day: 26th December
The story of St Stephen can be found in the Bible in the book of Acts. (Chapters 5 and 6) Stephen lived a few years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is believed that he was a Greek Jew who converted from the Jewish beliefs to being a Christian.
In the early years of the Church, Christianity was not a popular religion because the Jews felt that it was a threat to what they had always believed and practised. It was very risky to preach about Jesus. However, the number of Christians continued to grow into a caring community that cared for the poor and the widows, especially by providing them with food.
Stephen was chosen as one of the seven deacons appointed to organise and distribute food to the Greek widows. He was also an effective preacher. People followed him to hear him speak about Jesus and His teaching and about His death and resurrection. The Jewish leaders lied about Stephen and they took him to trial and accused him of blasphemy. Stephen stood firm and he accused them of causing the death of Jesus. The Jewish leaders followed the Jewish law by condemning him to being stoned to death.
St Stephen inspires us at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School to think of the needs of those in our community.
St Thomas More
Feast Day: 22nd June
Thomas More was born in 1478, the son of Sir John More, a renowned lawyer and judge, and his wife Agnes, and he was the second son of six children. Thomas was an intelligent man and he studied to become a lawyer in London. Whilst in London, he became interested in how monks lived their lives and he was attracted to the simplicity of their world. Thomas was a devout Catholic and lived his life according to his faith.
Thomas More was very talented and it wasn’t long before he became a public figure. He was knighted in 1521 and then became Sir Thomas More. King Henry Vlll, the English king at the time, admired Thomas’ loyalty and integrity and chose him to be his secretary and personal advisor. In 1529, the King appointed him Lord Chancellor, a position of ultimate trust. This meant that he was First Minister to the King and Head of Government, so that he was involved in the running of the country. He even represented the King in Parliament and sealed the King’s letters with the King’s seal.
However, a conflict developed between the King and the Pope, when the King wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn. The conflict got so bad that King Henry Vlll didn’t want to be part of the Catholic Church and wanted to start a new church instead. He asked all his subjects to see him as Head of the Church and to take an oath saying this too. This was difficult for Thomas More as he was a devout Catholic and he did not agree with what King Henry VIII was doing. Thomas More felt he could not take the oath, even though he played an important part in the King’s life.
Thomas resigned his top position as Lord Chancellor. He was accused of treason and after being imprisoned in the Tower of London for 14 months, he was executed on July 6th, 1535.
His last words were, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
St Thomas More inspires us at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School to love God above all things.