The list of saints in January seems to give a hats-off to teachers. January 1 celebrates Mary, the Mother of God. She is also known as the Seat of Wisdom. (Picture the Son of God sitting on her lap, his seat, and learning his first words and prayers.) Then begins an impressive list of teachers. On January 4 we celebrate Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born saint of the United States. Forming the Sisters of Charity, the first native-born congregation in the United States, Mother Seton was the superior. Schools and orphanages opened under her direction, and many immigrants were helped.
On the very next day, we honor St. John Neumann, who began the first diocesan school system. Later in the month, we will celebrate the feasts of St. Francis de Sales, St. Angela Merici, and St. Thomas Aquinas—all heroes in education. St. Francis de Sales is the patron of adult education, journalists, and the deaf. He wrote extensively and encouraged other writers. St. Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Sisters known for their education of girls. St. Thomas Aquinas was brilliant, a prolific writer whose writings are studied by many, especially those seeking ordination to the priesthood.
Of course, all saints in some way are teachers. We learn from their example. Might we also say that all teachers are saints? Who else can match their patience, dedication, long hours, creativity? Reflect upon your teachers. Whom would you nominate for sainthood?