Ever wonder whether your patron saint is a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff? I didn’t start to consider it until last week when my friend Haley over at Home to Catholicism brought up sorting saints into Hogwarts houses on Twitter (she’s @bakeorbake over there, folks).
But then I couldn’t STOP thinking about it, crowdsourced my queries to Facebook, and ended up with the best thread ever. Granted, I’m partial to Catholic/Potter mashups (remember when I decided the Weasleys are Catholic? Yeah.)
We’ll get to the sorting in a minute, but first let’s do a refresher on the traits of each house:
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This house is defined by the trait of courage. While students may be brainy (just think of Hermoine!) or have other talents, the Gryffindor is brave, often impulsive, and a fighter. Because the Harry Potter series is primarily about the Gryffindors at Hogwarts it’s easy to consider them as having the best traits. You might be tempted to put every saint in Gryffindor, but the traits of the other houses can lead to virtue as long as they are rightly directed. Martyrs are often Gryffindors.
Hagrid tells us that “there’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad that wasn’t in Slytherin,” but since that’s not entirely accurate, he must have been exaggerating. Because of dark wizards like the Malfoys it’s not always easy to remember that the Slytherin traits aren’t negative characteristics when they are rightly ordered. Slytherins are ambitious, talented, tactful, and charming. At first I had trouble thinking of any Slytherin saints, but then they started to come out of the woodwork. Saints who have great holy ambitions are often Slytherins.
Ravenclaws are wise and love knowledge, scholasticism, and the abstract. They can have an ethereal quality (think Luna Lovegood) and love books and the life of the mind. Intellectual saints devoted to knowledge and education are often Ravenclaws.
Hufflepuffs seem to rarely get the spotlight. They don’t always have the brilliance of the Ravenclaws, the same ambitious drive of the Slytherins, or the brazen rush to action of the Gryffindors. The Hufflepuff is more focused on relationships. They’re identifying characteristic is loyalty and they highly value friendship and hard work. Because they are caring, giving, and not self-seeking it’s easy to see how they make great saints. Saints who live quiet lives of great service are often Hufflepuffs.
Shall we get out the sorting hat?
St. Maximilian Kolbe…..GRYFFINDOR!
It took great courage for this Polish friar to hide Jews from Nazi persecution, print anti-Nazi publications, and finally offer his life in place for another prisoner in Auschwitz who had been chosen to die of starvation. This martyr’s incredible self-sacrifice screams Gryffindor.
St. Thomas Aquinas….RAVENCLAW!
Probably the most brilliant man to ever walk the earth, St. Thomas Aquinas was a strong Ravenclaw. His classmates thought he was unintelligent because he was a slow speaker and nicknamed him “the dumb ox.” But St. Albert the Great, one of his teachers realized his brilliance and noted, “I tell you this Dumb Ox will bellow so loud that his bellowings shall fill the world.” After giving up wealth in order to live as a monk St. Thomas Aquinas wrote prolifically and penned some of the most influential theological and philosophical texts of all time. Smarty. Pants.
St. Catherine of Siena……SLYTHERIN!
Ambition doesn’t have to be negative if we are ambitious for the right things. St. Catherine’s dearest ambition was to be the bride of Christ. She was relentlessly devoted to her faith and her family even considered her fanatical. Although not an academic (she couldn’t even read until miraculously given literacy later in life) she became a hugely influential advisor to popes and political figures of her time. One of her most famous quotes, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” sounds like a driven holy Slytherin to me!
St. Therese of Lisieux….HUFFLEPUFF!
Content to be a “Little Flower” in God’s garden, St. Therese lived a life of love and service to God and others, never seeking fame or accolades. She lived a quiet cloistered life and died from an illness as a young woman, but her great love for Christ and religious writings she left behind impacted the world so greatly that she is one of the most influential saints of the modern age. Like Cedric Diggory, sometimes our good Hufflepuffs do get the spotlight—and in St. Therese’s case, even when they don’t seek it out.
I named one of my daughters Lucy because I was so struck by St. Lucy’s bravery and fierce devotion to Christ. After a spurned suitor turned her in to the Roman government for being a Christian, St. Lucy refused to recant her faith even when threatened by torture and death. After supernatural protection from being burned alive, housed in a brothel, and being blinded (her eyes grew back after they were removed by her torturers!), St. Lucy became a martyr. Many of her virgin martyr sisters are likely fellow Gryffindors.
St. Joan of Arc…GRYFFINDOR!
Not just a martyr, but a female military leader! It doesn’t get more Gryffindor than that. Unconventional, courageous, warrior saint.
Kidnapped and kept as a slave in Ireland for years only to escape and then return again later to convert his former captors and their countrymen? Very courageous, but also ambitious! And St. Patrick had a great talent in communicating with very influential and powerful people. They say he got all the snakes out of Ireland so maybe he’s a parseltongue?
Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi….HUFFLEPUFF!
You can’t get more Hufflepuff than Francis and Clare. Abandoning lives of wealth, power, and influence in order to serve the poor and work hard for God.
Sts. Benedict and Scholastica…..RAVENCLAW!
The Holy Twins are hard to place, but since St. Benedict wrote his Rule that shaped Western monasticism and focused on the contemplative life I think we’re dealing with a Ravenclaw. And then there’s Scholastica his twin sister who just HAS to be a Ravenclaw with a name like that. And of course we know that (usually) house traits run in families.
St. Isidore of Seville…….HUFFLEPUFF!
St. Isidore of Seville was a faithful man of God who was devoted to prayer and the Mass and who always offered the poor a place at his table. This farmer saint even spends a lot of his time digging in the dirt like the Hufflepuff badger.
St. Ignatius of Antioch…..SLYTHERIN!
I was tempted to put St. Ignatius in Gryffindor because of his martyrdom, but since he wrote about ambition and was so focused on his great quest to follow Christ alone I started to see him as a Slytherin. Listen to his words about his impending martyrdom. Whatever house he belongs in, St. Ignatius is serious about his faith: “Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God. No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. “ LEGIT.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary……HUFFLEPUFF!
Royal who snuck out with food from the castle kitchens to share with the poor? St. Elizabeth is such a sweetheart. Hufflepuff all the way.
Bl. Miguel Pro…..GRYFFINDOR!
When asked to renounce Christ or be martyred by firing squad during the Cristero Wars in Mexico, Bl. Miquel Pro held out his arms and yelled, “VIVO CRISTO REY!” (Long live, Christ the King!). His refusal to leave Mexico when they kicked out all the priests and wearing disguises in order to offer sacraments to the faithful also sounds like the shenanigans a true Gryffindor would undertake for the right cause.
Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta…..HUFFLEPUFF!
I love how the holy Hufflepuffs who spend their days working quietly and tirelessly for others become the most famous and influential saints. While they never seek fame, we cannot help but be fascinated with their holiness. The soon to be canonized Mother Teresa lived such a faithful life of service to the poorest of the poor and exemplifies what it means to love others fiercely.
For some reason I think of snarky humor as a Gryffindor quality and St. Lawrence’s “Turn me over, I think I’m done on this side” quip when he was being grilled alive seems very Fred and George-esque to me.
A grumpy saint who spent years translating the Bible into the Latin Vulgate? He sounds brainy and bookish enough to be a Ravenclaw. (And I just love that the first thing that comes to mind when anyone thinks of St. Jerome is “grumpy.” Even the grumps among us have a chance at holiness, folks.)
St. Nicholas of Myra….GRYFFINDOR!
I hear some good arguments for St. Nicholas being a Hufflepuff (his secret acts of care for the poor like offering the dowries for the young women in need). However, the story about St. Nicholas losing his temper and PUNCHING ARIAS IN THE FACE when he had to listen to him yammer on with heretical claims in the middle of a Church council (and getting kicked out for his outburst) makes me think we’re dealing with an impulsive Gryffindor. Sounds like Santa Claus was the sort of guy that could lose some serious points for his house if he lost his temper on the quidditch field.
Before taking the road to Damascus, St. Paul was a serious Slytherin and not in a good way. Ambition, power, and knowing the right people was high priority. And he was persecuting Christians in a very Death-Eaterish style. But after encountering Christ, all that ambition, talent, and guile (can I say that about a saint?) was directed at serving the Church.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton……RAVENCLAW!
The first American-born saint to be canonized was a voracious reader and very devoted to the Holy Scriptures. After she became a Catholic she established the first free Catholic school in the United States as well as opening other orphanages and schools. She probably wouldn’t agree that “wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure” but she certainly thought highly of education, so Ravenclaw it is!
St. Joseph the Worker……HUFFLEPUFF!
Faithful, constant, loyal, and deeply devoted to his family, St. Joseph sacrificed and worked tirelessly to care for the Holy Family while never seeking the spotlight. He’s a behind the scenes kind of guy, not to mention incredibly humble since he was the only person in his family capable of sin. Can you imagine what it would be like to know that any problems in the household were because of you? St. Joseph is your classic holy Hufflepuff.
Impulsivity, one of St. Peter’s traits, is often associated with Gryffindors. Just think of when he cut off the ear of the soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane or when he jumped from the boat to swim to the resurrected Lord on the beach! But courage in the face of danger wasn’t St. Peter’s strongpoint, so I don’t think he can be a Gryffindor. He did have a strong sense of self-preservation during Passion Week when he denied our Lord. But then he ended up becoming the first Pope and being martyred by upside down crucifixion so…..maybe he’s a Gryffindor after all?
Pope St. John Paul II……GRYFFINDOR!
The debate was fierce on where JPII would end up, but I think with “Be not afraid” as his signature phrase and his courageous fight against communism and for the rights of the unborn, we’ve got ourselves a Gryffindor. This beloved saint would make a great Ravenclaw with his love for learning and clever mind or a splendid Hufflepuff with his faithful love and care for his fold. JPII, we love you!
St. Augustine of Hippo……..SLYTHERIN!
Another difficult one! While St. Augustine was a brilliant writer and philosopher, his early days were defined by his ambition and he was an incredibly talented man. While his genius and prolific writings would make him a great Ravenclaw, I’m leaning toward Slytherin. And he stole pears that time so….as a youth he was a sneaky one.
The Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord……PERFECT BLEND OF ALL FOUR!
One theory put forward in the embarrassingly lengthy discussions I’ve participated on this very important topic is that Our Lady and Our Lord are the perfect blend of the houses. I think this is the only answer that makes sense!
Bl. John Henry Newmann
Pope Benedict XVI (not a saint yet, but what a Ravenclaw!)
St. Edith Stein
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
St. Ignatius Loyola
St. Katherine Drexel
St. Michael the Archangel
Ven. Matt Talbot
St. Louis of France
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Joseph Cupertino
St. Damian of Molokai
St. Jerome Emiliani
St. John Vianney
St. Anthony of Padua
Sorting the saints is, of course, just a fun exercise. But one of the things I discovered when tossing these ideas around on social media was how it got everyone so excited about these amazing holy men and women!
Got a saint that needs sorting? Convinced one of the saints above belongs in another house? Let’s figure it out in the comments!
Disclaimer: If you don’t think that Harry Potter is acceptable reading for Catholics, then you probably won’t like this post. I’ve written about HP many times and I promise I’ve heard your argument against it, but I don’t agree with it. Please don’t use this post as a dumping ground for your dislike for Harry Potter. Thanks!