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August 25

Saint of the day:

Saint Joseph Calasanz

Patron Saint of Catholic schools

Saint Joseph Calasanz’ Story

From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.

When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, Joseph and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort. Soon, Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work, and in 1621 the community–for so the teachers lived–was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools–Piarists or Scolopi. Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.

A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society! Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo–a friend of Joseph–as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph’s death were they formally recognized as a religious community.







St Joseph Calasanz

(d. 1648, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy)

San Pantaleo

(Saint Pantaleon)

Piazza San Pantaleo

Piazza dei Massimi 4

Rome, Italy

*The relics of St Joseph Calasanz rest under the main altar of this church. His rooms can be visited in the adjacent convent.

*St Joseph Calasanz is known for setting up the first free public school in modern Europe. During his lifetime it was highly controversial to educate the poor. Some thought that it would only leave the poor more dissatisfied with their lowly tasks in society. Education was not seen as an opportunity for advancement. St Joseph Calasanz nevertheless persevered and was eventually appreciated and honored for his work.



We are celebrating with a Spanish recipe because our Saint was from Spain.


Ternasco con patatas a lo pobre
Lamb & Garlic Potatoes


  • 100 ml olive oil

  • 2 onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 green bullhorn capsicums or banana chillies*, sliced

  • 4 large desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 5mm slices

  • 500 ml (2 cups) hot chicken stock

  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, trimmed 


  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. To make alioli, place garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil in a steady stream until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, stir in parsley, cover and set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions and capsicums for 2 minutes or until softened. Add potato slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until starting to release their starch; they should still be raw. Season, place in the base of a large greased baking dish or roasting pan and pour over hot chicken stock.

  3. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and place on top of potatoes. Cover with baking paper then foil, and bake for 2½ hours or until lamb is tender. Increase oven to 375°F, remove foil and cook for a further 15 minutes or until lamb is golden. Serve with potatoes and alioli.

* Bullhorn capsicums, available from selected supermarkets and greengrocers, are red or dark green and are 15 cm long with a tapered shape, similar to that of a bull’s horn.



Melocotones al Vino Tinto

Peaches with red wine

These peaches are skinned, but not pitted.
After poaching in the wine syrup, you can cut them up to serve or serve
them whole with fork and knife and let guests slice the peaches at the table. 

Serves 6.


  • 6 yellow clingstone peaches

  • ¾ - 1 cup sugar

  • 3-4 cups red wine

  • 3-inch cinnamon stick

  • Strip of lemon zest

  • Greek yogurt, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve



  1. Submerge the peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain. When cool enough to handle, slip off their skins.

  2. Place skinned peaches in a pan with sugar and enough wine to cover them. Add cinnamon stick and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until peaches are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 15 minutes. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and place them in a heat-proof jar or bowl.

  3. Raise heat and reduce the wine syrup by half. Pour the syrup over the peaches. Cover the jar or bowl. When cool, place the peaches in the refrigerator.

  4. Serve the peaches, cold, with some of their syrup accompanied by a dollop of Greek yogurt, whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

peaches wine(1).jpg
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