When children join our school, they also join one of our four Houses, named after the following saints:

St. Anthony
St. Bernadette
St. Elizabeth
St. Peter

St Anthony

His Life

Feast Day

June 13th

One of the most loved friends in heaven is St. Anthony of Padua. People ask St. Anthony for help all the time, and for the most ordinary things, and that’s okay. Like a good friend, St. Anthony is always willing to help. People especially like to ask St. Anthony to help them find things that are lost.

St. Anthony was born in Portugal, and when he grew up, he studied to be a priest. He was a brilliant student and knew the Bible backward and forward. Someone once said that if all the Bibles in Europe were burned, it wouldn’t be a terrible problem. People could just go to St. Anthony, and he could write the Scriptures down for them! Anthony was a good teacher, but one day something happened that inspired him to follow Jesus in a slightly different way.

There was a large meeting of Franciscans and Dominicans, but oddly enough, the plans for who would give the sermon at the meeting fell through. There were plenty of fine preachers present, but none of them were prepared. Slowly, Anthony rose, and just as slowly, he began to speak. The other friars sat up to listen. There was something very special about Anthony. He didn’t use complicated language, but his holiness and love for God shone through his words. He was one of the best preachers they had ever heard!

For the rest of his life, he traveled around Italy and France, preaching sermons in churches and town squares to people who came from miles around.

His listeners heard Anthony speak about how important it is for us to live every day in God’s presence. As a result of his words, hundreds of people changed their lives and bad habits, bringing Jesus back into their hearts.

St Bernadette

Her Life

Feast Day

April 16th

It’s hard to tell the truth sometimes. But it’s especially hard when no one else sees things quite the way you do. Maybe Saint Bernadette’s story will help you out. She was just a young girl who saw something amazing and told the truth about it. Hardly anyone believed her at first, and people even made life difficult for her and her family because of what she said she saw. But Bernadette never backed down, and the truth she told has helped millions of people, even people who live today.

Bernadette’s life wasn’t easy to begin with. She and her family lived in terrible poverty in a village in France called Lourdes. By the time she was 14, Bernadette had been sick so often that she hadn’t grown properly.

One day, Bernadette was out with her sister and a friend, they wandered along the river until they came to a spot where a large, shallow cave called a grotto had formed in the hilly bank. Bernadette looked up. High above her in the grotto stood a girl. The girl was wearing a long white dress with a blue sash and a white veil. Bernadette was afraid, of course, but it wasn’t the kind of fear that made her want to run away. She stayed where she was and knelt down. She reached into the pocket of her worn-out dress, found her own rosary, and started to pray with the girl. When she finished, the girl disappeared. On their way back to Lourdes, she told her sister and friend what had happened, and soon the whole village knew.

Over the next few weeks, Bernadette returned to the grotto and saw the beautiful girl several times. Each time she went, more people went with her. Although only Bernadette could see the girl in white, when the other villagers prayed with her in the grotto, they felt peaceful and happy too. Those who were sick even felt that God had healed them while they prayed.

During those moments in the grotto, the girl told Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette had no idea what this meant. She repeated it to herself over and over on her way back to the village so she wouldn’t forget the strange, long words. When she told her parish priest what the girl had said, he was very surprised, it convinced many people that she hadn’t made her story up and that what she’d seen really had come from God. Not everyone believed her, though. Bernadette had to tell her story over and over again, sometimes to village and church leaders who weren’t very kind to her and her family.

Today, millions of people go to Lourdes every year, to the grotto where Bernadette saw Mary. They go to pray. They go to wash their sick bodies in the spring Mary told Bernadette about. They go to open their hearts to God, as Mary and Bernadette had.

And just think all of this happened because a young girl named Bernadette told the truth!

St Elizabeth

Her Life

Feast Day

November 5th

Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary, Mother of Jesus. She and her husband Zachary were holy people but they had not been granted the desire of their hearts, to have a son, and Elizabeth was now too old to have a child. Not having children in those days was looked upon as a sign of reproach from God.

Zachary was fulfilling his priestly duties in the temple one day when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. Gabriel told Zachary that he and Elizabeth would have a son, to be named John, who would be great before God, converting many to the Lord and going before Him with the spirit and power of Elias. Zachary told the angel that he and his wife were too old to have a child, and because he did not believe he was struck dumb, unable to speak until after John was born.

Elizabeth did conceive and at the sixth month, Gabriel announced to Mary in Nazareth that she would be the mother of Jesus, and he told her that Elizabeth was also with child. Mary hurried to be with Elizabeth and share the wonderful news.

When Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house and greeted her, the baby John jumped in Elizabeth’s womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. She exclaimed in a loud voice, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the lord.”

Mary responded with the beautiful words that we know today as the Magnificat. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before returning to Nazareth.

When John was born, all the friends and relatives congratulated Zachary and Elizabeth. They wanted to call him Zachary like his father but Elizabeth told them no, that his name would be John. They said that no one in the family had ever been called John before, and they went to Zachary and asked him what he wanted the baby boy to be called. Zachary took a tablet and wrote on it, “John is his name.” And immediately he was able to speak again, blessing God. The people wondered about the future of this baby, whose birth was so obviously the work of God.

St Peter

His Life

Feast Day

June 29th

Peter was very likely a middle-aged man when Jesus called him. He was a fisherman from Bethsaida, a village near the Lake of Galilee. Perhaps he was part of a fisherman’s co-op with his brother Andrew and friends James and John. At any rate, Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Jesus said, “You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas, meaning Rock.”

During the three years the apostles lived with Jesus, Peter showed definite signs of leadership. He was often the spokesman for the group. When Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was Peter who objected to Jesus’ stating that he was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die. He appears lovable, impetuous, practical, and sometimes weak under pressure. Jesus loved him dearly, even after Peter denied knowing him during the passion

Peter became the leader in the early Church. According to the Acts of the Apostles, he was the first to preach on Pentecost. He arranged for the selection of Matthias to replace Judas. He worked the first public miracle: curing the lame man at the temple gate. He welcomed the first person who was not Jewish into the Church. People thought just his shadow passing by would cure them.

Peter was imprisoned three or four times. Finally, in Rome, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Out of respect for his Master, Jesus, he asked the guard to fasten him to the cross upside down. He was buried in an old Roman cemetery, probably where the basilica of St. Peter is today.