Saints and Scholars: Quotes from the Saints to Start Your School Year

Josh Florence

Saints and Scholars: Quotes from the Saints to Start Your School Year

Below is a collection of saint quotes to help encourage, challenge, and focus ourselves on Catholic education this school year. Even if we do not attend a catholic school, our studies should still lead us closer to Christ and it is with great hope that the following quotes will help us reflect on the true purpose of an education.


“Catholic education aims not only to communicate facts but also to transmit a coherent, comprehensive vision of life, in the conviction that the truths contained in that vision liberate students in the most profound meaning of human freedom.”

St. John Paul II in his Address to the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Regions of Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee (USA) on Their “Ad Limina” Visit, May 30, 1998, #3

This quote was presented to me recently during my teacher in-service. To reread this quote, one may find different words highlighting themselves. Among these may be conviction, profound meaning, or liberate. The beauty of our faith is not incompatible with our education and academic pursuits. They are two sides of the same coin.

The journey that a student endeavors, with their parents and teachers as their guides, is a search for this coherent, comprehensive vision of life. The best way of approaching this is to seek Christ, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. 


“We must be faithful to the present moment or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.”

-Bl. Solanus Casey

Surely, the majority of us, at some time in our life, haven’t really enjoyed doing our homework. It can be trying at times and must be done with diligence when we might rather do something else. This quote also doesn’t have to apply to work alone. In a young student in particular, it is important for them to retain a sense of wonder and awe. To do this, they must not only be able to attend to a piece of homework in front of them, but also to the beauty of nature or a piece of music and marvel in it. In every present moment, those easy and difficult, we must listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and how God may wish to inspire us as He is the ultimate teacher.


“Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under his cross.”

-St. Vincent Ferrer

All knowledge that we acquire through study should be directed towards the glory of God and to know and love Him better. If we do this, we will better understand ourselves in relation to God. This then can assist us when discerning how it is we should serve God in our lives.

Study can, physically, take a toll on us from time to time. I have found that my attitude greatly effects how much I may feel “fatigued” at the start or end of any study session. Let’s face it, to truly study something, you give of yourself, and you do need to refresh yourself, which is why St. Vincent Ferrer is so adamant to return frequently to God in prayer. St. Vincent Ferrer would write his sermons at the foot of a crucifix so that he might be inspired by the love of God during his work. We should go to the Lord not just for physical rest but because it is The Lord we are ultimately seeking in our studies.


“I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.” St. Dominic Savio

It’s striking that St. Dominic Savio follows “I am not capable of doing big things . . .” with “ . . . but I want to do everything . . . ”. We may think to ourselves that this person will fall flat on their face. How can someone do everything? The condition for this is if it is for “the greater glory of God.”

Perhaps the person who tries to do everything, given their human nature, will fall flat on their face. I am not here speaking about falling in reference to sin. I am speaking of “falling” in coming up short, in the eyes of the world. Christ, in his humanity, fell three times while carrying His cross to Calvary. We, then, cannot escape our own shortcomings if we do sincerely attempt to give our all for God’s glory.

We must not be afraid, in our lessons, in our studies to make our small “yes” to God. Also, that we may be audacious enough to be ready to give Him everything, as scary as that may sound. He will amplify whatever it is that we undertake, granted it is for His greater glory, and not ours.

Even if the actions we take are not large in scope, a small action will give glory to God. I think there is much of St. Therese in this quote, who would talk about the beauty of the smallest things. The small action, seen as a small flower, may seem insignificant at first glance but its mere existence stands as a testament of God’s goodness in and of itself. Think also of the beauty of a field full of small flowers, cultivated from a lifetime of tiny, wonderful actions for God’s glory.



“What is youth? It is not only a period of life that corresponds to a certain number of years, it is also a time given by Providence to every person and given to him as a responsibility. During that time he searches, like the young man in the Gospel, for answers to basic questions; he searches not only for the meaning of life but also for a concrete way to go about living his life.”

-St. John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope

In the book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, St. John Paul II answers the question “Is there really hope in the young?” He answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” In our schools, we must have this outlook. If we do not carry at least a small bit of this hope within us, then there would be no point to catholic education. Our children are the future Church so we must teach them with a dignity and an intensity which aligns with that fact.

St. John Paul II said “It is not true that the Pope brings the young from one end of the world to the other. It is they who bring him.” He also said of the young, “You are the hope of the Church and of the world. You are my hope.”

For teachers, Providence has entrusted the young into our care. This is a great task but in this grand endeavor we may also reflect on the immense trust God must have in allowing us this opportunity. Let us go to Him in prayer that we may be sustained amidst our challenges throughout this year. 

For students, your youth is given as a responsibility. At the end of the day, it is up to you search for the things that you love. You will love something or someone, and you really need to choose wisely. In your studies, search for truth, goodness, and beauty that you may love that which does not disappoint. God wishes to hear your “Yes” to Him in a way that only you, in this time of your life, can say to Him.