Catholic Life of the School
Why is Saint Ignatius special to us?
Our school is in the parish of St Ignatius of Loyola, in Stamford Hill.. The first part of the building, the sanctuary, was built in 1903 and the building was completed in 1911.
St Ignatius and the Jesuits were committed to education, and to them, as to us, developing the whole child was very important. Although we are not a Jesuit school, their model of education, to form and to educate, is still very important to us.
To find out more about the parish please click on this link: https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/stamfordhill/about-the-parish/
Catholic Life at St Ignatius
The Catholic life of the school is rich in opportunities for children to encounter God and to deepen their relationship with Him as a loving, compassionate Father. Through prayer, both traditional and informal, through liturgies and Religious Education lessons, where children receive direct teaching of the faith, through the relationships and support for each other that children, staff and parents enjoy within the school community, we enable children to come to know and love God.
Religious icons can be found throughout the school. Displays of work in RE are of high quality and can be seen in classrooms and all around the school, including the school's main reception area. Each class has a prayer focus area, with a liturgical cloth in the appropriate colour.
The Christian values at the heart of our Catholic faith incorporate the British values and we aim in everything we do to further each child's sense of commitment and responsibility to themselves, to others and in the wider world.
Prayer and worship
Prayer and worship are central to the daily life of our school. We aim to provide opportunities for children's spiritual growth and development through participation in a variety of forms of worship and through experiencing all forms of prayer: formal, informal, spontaneous, private, shared, petitionary and meditative.
Pupils are actively involved in planning and leading worship, both in class groups and whole school settings. Shared acts of worship take place in an atmosphere of reflection and stillness, where we encourage each other to listen to God speaking to us and to respond. Children are encouraged to write prayers and this is a skill which we explicitly teach, just as we teach other genres in literacy.
The school as a Catholic Community
All staff, led by the Headteacher, R.E Leader and Governors are aware that the school's foundations are built on the Catholic faith and beliefs and that it is our shared responsibility to transmit the Catholic faith to the children in our care. All staff receive regular in-service training as part of their continuous professional development. Staff pray and work together to support each other in providing the very best Religious Education possible for the pupils.
Learning in RE is at the core of the curriculum and we ensure that the Bishop's directive is followed in allocating 10% of curriculum time to RE lessons. The Governing Body, led by the Chair and the Governor responsible for RE, provide outstanding support and commitment to the central place of RE in the school.
We hold the belief that we share the role of educators of the faith with the parents of our pupils and we strive to keep them fully informed of what their child is learning at school and to support them in what they can do at home to further their child's understanding of the faith. Parents are welcomed to assemblies, Masses and other liturgies throughout the year.
Who was Saint Ignatius?
St Ignatius was born in the town of Loyola, in what is now modern day Spain. He was baptised Inigo by his parents, and we are not sure when he started to use the name Ignatius. He was the youngest of thirteen children, and sadly his mother died while he was still an infant. He was cared for by Maria, a blacksmith's wife, and later chose the last name Loyola, after the place he was born.
When he was 17, Ignatius became a soldier. He enjoyed fighting, duelling and showing off. In 1521 at the Battle of Pamplona, he was badly hurt when a cannonball injured both his legs. He had to go through several operations (without anaesthetic) to re-set his legs, and this left him with a permanent limp. He could no longer be a soldier.
Called to be a Saint:
While he was getting better from his injuries, Ignatius read lots of books about the life of Jesus, and decided to be a better person. He chose to devote himself to God, learning from the example of St Francis of Assisi and others. He found meditation and this became very important to him.
When he was able to walk again, he decided to make pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He stopped at different places on the way, devoting himself to prayer and giving away his riches.
When he was 33, he went back to Barcelona to study, where he got into trouble for preaching without a degree in Theology. He then went to university in Paris, where he stayed for over seven years.
Ignatius made six very special friends in Paris, and in 1534 together they took vows to do lifelong work for Jesus.
In 1539, Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus (known as the Jesuits) with St Francis Xavier and St Peter Faber, and became known as Father General by the Jesuits. The Jesuit motto became Ad maiorem Dei gloriam , which means ‘for the greater glory of God’. This motto is part of the mission statement of our school today.
Ignatius died in Rome on 31st July 1556, which is his feast day.
He was beatified by the Pope in 1609, and canonised in 1622. He is the patron saint of Catholic soldiers and various places around the world, and most importantly, of our school here in Tottenham.
In 1548, St Ignatius wrote a special book called Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers and other mental exercises. One of these very special exercises is the Examen prayer, which we pray at school.