St Catherine of Siena
29th April 1380
Catherine was born in Siena in 1347, into a very large family. From an early age, she had a close relationship with God. When she was 16 her parents wanted her to marry the widower of her older sister, but Catherine was determined to give her life to God and refused.
After some opposition, Catherine became a Dominican tertiary, a lay person who does not take religious vows, but follows the example of the religious order. She remained in her own home, devoted to prayer and silence. At the age of 19, Catherine had an intense, personal experience of the presence of Jesus, which she called a “Mystical Marriage”; he told her to leave her solitude and work for those in need. This relationship remained the strength and inspiration of her life.
From 1370, Catherine began writing letters, first to friends and acquaintances, then to people of influence and power, in the Church and in civil society.
Catherine lived at a time when society was changing and there was conflict in the leadership of the Church. This did not seem to be a situation where a young woman could make any contribution, but Catherine was determined to respond to what God was asking of her.
Catherine’s wisdom and learning, combined with her personality and holiness, attracted followers. In 1374, she began traveling and preaching, advising popes and kings to work for peace and for renewal in the Church. Pope Gregory XVI listened to her advice and returned the papal administration to Rome from Avignon, where the papal court had been since Pope Clement V had refused to move to Rome in 1309.
Catherine died on 29 April 1380. Politically and spiritually, she is a woman of our time, reminding those in power that their responsibility is to serve the common good. Rooted in Christ, she became one of the first female
Prayer to St Catherine of Siena
St, Catherine, Most blessed and favoured patron saint,
Who sought the truth with perseverance,
loved the truth in humility, taught the truth in charity and defended the truth with courage. Pray for us.
Obtain for us the grace to persevere in truth,
the grace to be a light in the darkest of the times in which we live, and obtain for us the responsibility, wisdom
and knowledge we need to convey to others in our words and actions our Catholic faith.
O Holy St. Catherine, whose letters inspired, guided and led the church to renewal and transformation,
Obtain too for us the grace to live in the truth,
The patience to endure trials and hardships,
And the grace to carry our cross in the spirit of prayer and self-denial and to defend the church in its hour of crucifixion.
We ask this in Christ’s name,
Secure and preserve the Catholic ethos and character of our schools through ecclesial communion.
Offer quality Catholic education in South Sandwell, which will meet the expectations of parents, employers and our communities.
Continue to raise the quality of education through joint accountability for standards whilst also committing to collective responsibility for improving provision in all four schools in order to promote achievement and improve pupil performance.
Continued enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning.
Facilitate the sharing of good practice and successful strategies for improving quality.
Improve further the quality and impact of strategic thinking and planning.
Support strategic leadership and management within our schools, including strengthening the effectiveness of leadership roles across our MAC.
Promote effective collaboration to further enhance the quality of middle level leadership and management, and subject leadership across the MAC.
Facilitate as required the appointment of staff and shared induction, training / development and review opportunities.
Strengthen capacity through providing wider career and vocational opportunities along with leadership formation.
Extend the range and broaden the diversity of planned curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities.
Strengthen existing partnerships with other schools and providers, e.g. those neighbouring schools and other Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
To further enhance responses to the needs of individual pupils, including those with special educational needs.
Address community cohesion and social inclusion issues particularly improving the performance of potentially higher achieving pupils and those with low aspiration.
Ensure best value in the use of finance and resources.
Ensure effective use of new technologies to enhance teaching and learning.
Improve the sharing and economies of scale regarding resources.
Use the MAC as the basis for exploring improved liaison, collaboration and partnership working with all external agencies.