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10 Catholic saints who were dedicated teachers

Saints who were teachers

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 10/05/23

World Teacher's Day is an opportunity to highlight some saints who worked in classrooms and who make terrific intercessors and heavenly friends for educators.

World Teachers Day falls on October 5, making it a good opportunity to pray for teachers everywhere, who work so hard to pour themselves into the next generation. 

Their work makes a lifelong difference in the lives of children and young people, and our prayers are the least we can do to support the world’s teachers.

If you’ve ever wondered whether any saints knew what it was like to be an educator, you’re in luck. It turns out that quite a few saints were teachers!

These 10 saints all taught, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other saints who were teachers too. These saints make wonderful intercessors and heavenly friends for teachers and educators in all times and places.

1St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

A key figure in the development of the American parochial school system, Seton (1774-1821) was a widowed mother of five who founded Catholic schools and the first community for religious women established in the United States.

2St. Albertus Magnus

St. Albert the Great (1200-1280) was a German Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist, and bishop. He not only taught and wrote extensively, but also planned entire curricula and courses of study.

3St. Katharine Drexel

A brilliant educator and heiress, St. Katherine (1858-1955) used her family’s wealth to found schools, especially taking “an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of Black and Native Americans.”

4St. Alphonsus Liguori

Founder of the Redemptorist congregation, St. Alphonsus (1696-1787) spent decades traveling through Italy preaching the Gospel to peasants in rural areas. 

5St. Angela Merici

Founder of the Ursuline religious community, St. Angela (1474-1540) not only spent most of her life teaching but also founded a teacher training program so that other religious women could join in her work. 

6St. John Bosco

The name of St. John Bosco (1815-1888) is practically synonymous with Catholic education, after all that he did working to educate and found schools for young boys in need.

7St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius (1568-1591) died very young at only age 23, yet he managed to do much to catechize and educate others about the Gospel before his death.

8St. John Cantius

A professor of Sacred Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, St. John Cantius (1390-1473) devoted his life to education and acts of charity. 

9Blessed Leonella Sgorbati

An Italian religious sister, Sgorbati (1940-2006) spent most of her life in Kenya and Somalia, nursing and educating prospective nurses while caring for patients at a children’s hospital. She was murdered in Somalia in 2006.

10St. Joseph Calasanz

St. Joseph Calasanz (1557-1648) was a devoted educator and the founder of the Pious Schools, which provided free education to poor boys. This priest also founded the Piarists, the religious order that ran the schools, and was a close friend of Galileo Galilei.

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