St. John Vianney

The French Revolution prevented the future Curé d'Ars from going to school at the normal age. When he did finally get to go, he was mocked for his struggles, especially in Latin. Wanting to become a priest, he entered a seminary, where he was considered an "ass" by many. However, his devotion to God paved the way for his future as an extraordinary parish priest who would often spend 16 hours a day in the confessional. From "ass" to "patron of all priests," St Vianney proves how faithfulness is more essential than worldly success.

Blessed Solanus Casey

The educational challenges of this saint, who was born to Irish immigrant farmers, meant that he became a "doorkeeper" priest who could not hear confessions or preach. He applied himself to his low-ranking role and quickly became renowned for his kind ear, care for the sick, and spiritual advice. Many flocked to see this holy priest and many miracles have been attributed to him from people who have sought his intercession.

St. Bernadette Soubirous

Suffering with illness throughout her childhood, this young French woman had learning challenges. At 14, the time the Blessed Virgin appeared to her, she had not yet made her First Holy Communion as she couldn't retain her Catechism. The fact she reported that Mary had said to her "I am the Immaculate Conception" was the reason her local priest believed her stories of the apparitions. Bernadette joined a convent as a postulant and spent the rest of her short life in service to God.

St. Joseph of Cupertino

The Franciscan friar known for his levitations and states of ecstasy was said to be both "slow" and absent-minded, and had a difficult childhood. He found peace in his work at a monastery and was able to join the priesthood because when tested on his knowledge, the examiner happened to ask him the one thing he knew. His deep love of God sent him into raptures and many came to see him and seek his spiritual advice. The simple and humble friar is the patron saint of those with learning disabilities.

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

The Jesuit lay brother left school early to care for his family when his father died. As a result, when he wanted to become a priest at age 39, he had to go back to school. Although he failed his classes, he still went on to become a doorkeeper at a college where he dutifully served others for 46 years as if they were God Himself. His story should encourage those with academic difficulties that there is still a place for them to serve others and God in amazing ways.

St. Thomas Aquinas

You might be surprised to see this Doctor of the Church on the list, but this renowned theologian and philosopher was perceived as a "dumb ox" by his classmates for being unusually quiet in class. Although he was brilliant, his story shows how even for the most intelligent students, the path to a good education is not always smooth when you don't fit the mold.