St. Catherine of Siena and the High School Classroom

St. Catherine of Siena

Today is the Feast Day of one of four female Doctors of the Church – St. Catherine of Siena. You can read about her life with the provided link. The other three female Doctors of the Church are St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen. Today’s blog isn’t as educational as most, but it’s still good…and funny.

My first year in the high school theology classroom was at a Catholic school in Phoenix, Arizona. I could probably write a book on the funny things my students have said to me over the years, but this one has book title all over it. At some point in the second semester, we were discussing the stigmata – the wounds of Christ. Throughout the history of the Church, quite a few saints have received the wounds of Christ. What’s even more interesting is that many of these saints are female saints.

Somehow the discussion with my class comes around to St. Catherine of Siena. So I start talking and explaining about the life of St. Catherine. I told them about her early life a bit, that she was a Dominican, that she helped bring the Papacy back to Rome after being Avignon, and I explained that she had the stigmata. As I was explaining the stigmata, one of the students raised their hand and asked if the parish and school in South Phoenix was named after her. I affirmed the question and continued to talk about her life. During the explanation, I said that my sister had just begun her first year of teaching at St. Catherine of Siena. I think I spoke about my sister and how great of teacher she could potential become (well, I was prophetic in some sense, Carla was amazing as a teacher for 8 years…her students loved her).

So as the discussion ended, I asked the class some questions about her life and then asked if they had any questions for me. A student in the front row (yes…the front row) raised her hand with a sense of confusion.

The question she asked made me not only laugh, but shake my head too. She asked, “Wait…your sister who works at St. Catherine of Siena has the stigmata?”  “What?!”, went through my mind.

The things kids ask in the classroom! So funny! One of her best friends sitting in the back row piped up and said, “Hello!! Were you not even paying attention to Mr. Perna…brutal!”

So if I ever wrote a book on things kids say in the classroom, it will be titled – “Wait…your sister who works at St. Catherine of Siena has the stigmata?”

St. Catherine of Siena…Pray for Us!

2 thoughts on “St. Catherine of Siena and the High School Classroom

  1. Now that’s funny! I’m sure you’ll have enough comments from students for a wonderful book!

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