Nursery - St George
St George was born in the 3rd century AD – more than 2,000 miles away in Cappadocia (modern day Turkey).
St George was canonised in AD 494 by Pope Gelasius, who claimed he was one of those 'whose names are justly revered among men but whose acts are known only to God'.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that St George was one of the 'Fourteen Holy Helpers' – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases. St George's protection was invoked against several nasty diseases, many fatal and with infectious causes, including the Plague and leprosy.
Reception - St Jadwiga
Jadwiga (1373-1399) was the daughter of Louis the Great of Poland and Hungary. Louis had no male heir; he had three daughters, the youngest of whom was Jadwiga. She was said to have been tall and beautiful with red hair. She spoke not only Polish and Hungarian but also Latin, German and Italian. She seems to have been an able ruler with the gift of diplomacy. She had a keen interest in education and spearheaded the restoration of the failing Kracow academy together with her husband; five hundred years afterwards it was named after them after them.
Year 1 - St Andrew
St. Andrew, also known as Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter.
According to the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Much like his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was also a fisherman. Andrew's very name means strong and he was known for having good social skills.
In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and "fishers of men."
Year 2 - St Elizabeth of Hungary
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia, was born in Hungary on July 7, 1207 to the Hungarian King Andrew II and Gertrude of Merania.
As soon as her life began, she had responsibilities from being a royal pressed upon her. While Elizabeth was very young, her father arranged for her to be married to Ludwig IV of Thuringia, a German nobleman. Because of this plan, Elizabeth was sent away at the age of four for education at the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia.
Elizabeth continued to live a life full of prayer and a service to the poor. Ludwig, who was now one of the rulers of Thuringia, supported all of Elizabeth's religious endeavors even though she was a part of the royal court. She began to lead an austerely simple life, practiced penance, and devoted herself to works of charity. She used her royal position to advance her mission for charity.
Year 3 - St Paulo Miki
Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan.
Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ.
Year 4 - St Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. At the age of 16, Catherine's sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine's parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance.
Her parents attempted to resist this move, to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Catherine once explained that she regarded her father as a representation of Jesus and her mother as Our Lady, and her brothers as the apostles, which helped her to serve them with humility.
Despite Catherine's religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.
Year 5 - St Mother Teresa
Nun and missionary Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor. Born in Macedonia to parents of Albanian-descent and having taught in India for 17 years, Mother Teresa experienced her "call within a call" in 1946. Her order established a hospice; centers for the blind, aged and disabled; and a leper colony.
In 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003. In December 2015, Pope Francis recognised a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonised on September 4, 2016.
Year 6 - Saint Vincent de Paul & Saint Therese of Lisieux
Saint Vincent de Paul
Born in 1581 in Gascony, St Vincent De Paul studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1600. In 1617, two events changed his life. After hearing the confession of a dying man he resolved to preach the Good News of Christ’s promised redemption, and later that year after appealing for help for a poor sick family he saw many local people bringing them aid. This inspired him to found the Ladies of Charity (AIC), who were devoted to-person-to person help. Many other Vincentian organisations followed. St Vincent died in 1660 and was canonised in 1737.
Saint Therese of Lisieux
Therese Martin known as St. Therese of Lisieux was born January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France. Thoughtful of the things of heaven from an early age, she entered the convent taking the name Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She dedicated her life to simple acts and was asked by her superior to write her story. What began as a project for Mother Superior became a book published after her death entitled “Story of a Soul”, which is still popular spiritual reading today.