Our Patron Saint
St. Thomas of Canterbury
Thomas Becket was born in around 1120, the son of a prosperous London merchant. He was well educated and quickly became an agent to Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on several missions to Rome. Becket's talents were noticed by Henry II, who made him his chancellor and the two became close friends. When Theobald died in 1161, Henry made Becket archbishop however; Becket loyalties were with the church. He often disagreed with the king fought for what he thought was right. On the 29th December 1170, four knights, believing the king wanted Becket out of the way, confronted and murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.
Becket was made a saint in 1173 and his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral became an important focus for pilgrimages. Thomas Becket had the courage to lay down his life to defend the Church against an aggressive state. Many miracles were reported at his tomb.
St. Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas Becket), the patron saint of our school celebrates his feast day on 29th December. However, as the school is closed for the Christmas holidays, the governors choose a date (depending on when the school re-opens) as close as possible to the original feast day for our celebrations. The governing body would like the children to identify with the patron saint of the school so every year they allocate a sum of money to be spent on certain activities for the pupils to celebrate the feast of their saint.
At St. Thomas of Canterbury School we often reflect on the many characteristics of Thomas of Canterbury especially his courage to stand up to what was right. We feel privileged to have him as our namesake.
St. Thomas of Canterbury
St Thomas of Canterbury, known as Thomas Becket lived a very powerful life. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Catholic Church as well as being chancellor to King Henry II. This decision did not please everyone with many feeling he was not fit for the job as he had never been a priest before. Becket however proved everyone wrong becoming very caring, even inviting the poor to live with him in his home. Thomas Becket always stood up for his faith and the church even when this caused disputes with the King. On December 29, 1170 four knights attacked and murdered Thomas Becket in Canterbury Church, after misunderstanding a message the King had given.
The Christian world was shocked by Thomas Beckets murder and in 1173 the Pope made him a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church.
St Nicholas lived in the 4th century and was Bishop of a church at Myra, Lycia, Asia Minor (now part of Turkey). Very little is known about his life, but many stories tell of his generosity. St Nicholas has always been linked to the giving of gifts and helping and supporting the poor. St Nicholas is often represented as being a kind-faced, white-bearded man wearing a red Bishop’s robe. He can often be seen carrying a book, which is said to be where he noted down the behaviours of individual children. Although in our modern age gift giving is more commonly linked to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day children and families that celebrate St Nicholas leave their shoes or stockings by the fireplace or outside their bedroom door before going to bed on December 5th in hope they will be filled with gifts from St Nicholas.
St. Francis of Assisi
St Francis was born between 1181 and 1182 in Assisi, Italy. St Francis had a number of visions from God that changed his life forever. The first vision was when he was sick with a high fever. At first, he thought that God had called him to fight in the Crusades. However, he had another vision that told him to help the sick. Finally, when praying in a church, Francis heard God tell him to "repair my church, which is falling in ruins." After this vision Francis gave all his money to the church. His father became very angry with him. Francis then left his father's home and took a vow of poverty. As Francis lived his life of poverty and preached to people about the life of Jesus Christ, people began to follow him.
Francis was known for his love of nature and animals. There are many stories about Saint Francis and his preaching to animals. It is said that one day he was talking to some birds when they began to sing together. Then they flew into the sky and formed the sign of a cross.
Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and Church music because, as she was dying, she sang to God. It is also believed that as the musicians played at her wedding, she 'sang in her heart to the Lord'.
St Scholastica is the twin sister of St Benedict. Even though she is not as well known as her brother it is believed that God listened to her prayers more than her brothers. Scholastica and her brother Benedict would meet to pray together and for Scholastica to receive spiritual counsel from her brother. St Scholastica became very ill and after a meal that she had shared with her brother, Scholastica begged her brother to stay the night so they could spend a little more time together. Benedict refused saying he must get back to his monastery. Scholastica then bowed her head and prayed fervently to God. Thunder crackled and the sky lit up with lightening. A fierce storm began to rage outside. The wind and rain made it impossible for Benedict to return to the monastery. “What have you done?” Benedict cried.
Scholastica replied, “See, I asked you, and you would not listen to me. So, I asked my Lord, and he has listened to me. Now then, go, if you can. Leave me, and go back to the monastery.” Not long after this meeting between the two, Scholastica became weaker and finally succumbed to the illness. While praying in his room, Benedict looked toward the convent, he saw a white dove circling the building, finally disappearing into the blue. He knew this event meant that his sister had died and her soul had gone to heaven. The white dove is a symbol of her purity. St. Scholastica is remembered for her outstanding simplicity and faith.
St. John Bosco
St John Bosco was born on August 16, 1815 into a poor family. He was the youngest of three boys. His father died when John was very young leaving him to be raised by his mother, Margaret. John spent a lot of his younger life in the church as well as growing food and tending to sheep for his family. St John Bosco was later helped by a sympathetic priest, who helped him with a basic education. St John Bosco later decided to join the priesthood. As a priest St John Bosco dedicated a lot of his life to helping poor, neglected boys gain an education that would later help the seek employment. St John Bosco was canonized in 1934.
St. John the Baptist
John the Baptist was the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, and a relative of Jesus. He was known for living in the wild, wearing clothes made from camel's hair, and eating locusts and honey. John called people to turn to God and to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. He baptised Jesus in the Jordan River. People would go to him so that he would put them in the water to show that they had turned away from their sins, so that they could get into heaven. John the Baptist is commonly referred to as leading the pathway for Jesus, as he prepared people for Jesus’ coming. His feast day is celebrated on 24th June.
St. Peter & St. Paul
After Jesus Christ, Saint Paul is often considered the most important person in the history of Christianity. St. Paul was also an apostle, responsible for much of the New Testament he was one of the leaders of the first Christians. Paul’s life and his writings make up 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament in the Bible. These books played a large role in the development of Christian beliefs.
St. Peter was one of the twelve apostles, as well as the first Pope and founder of the Roman Church. He was martyred and as he was not a Roman citizen his death was crucifixion. According to tradition, he requested to be crucified upside down because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same way as Jesus.