Pope John Paul II

A young Karol Józef Wojtyła was a keen soccer player at elementary school. Although he suffered the loss of his mother at the age of 8, and later his big brother Edmond, this didn't stop him from going on to Jagiellonian University, where he studied philology (the study of language in oral and written historical sources) among other subjects. It was there that he developed his talent for languages, learning up to 12 -- which proved very useful for his future role as pope.

Pier Giorgio Frassati

This devout young Italian actually experienced failure during his education: Although he was initially homeschooled, he moved into mainstream education where he struggled with his Latin exams, requiring him to twice be sent to a school run by Jesuit Fathers -- a blessing in disguise that helped strengthen his spiritual life even further. Although he went on to study mining engineering, he died before completing his degree. It was awarded to him posthumously.

St. Therese de Lisieux

The 8-year-old French saint was so clever she found herself in a class for 14-year-olds -- although she still struggled with math and spelling. This actually created envy among her peers, and she described these school years as the "saddest" of her life. She spent the following years determined to enter the Carmelites, even beseeching Pope Leo XIII's intervention. Finally, at 15, she entered the convent in Lisieux with her father's blessing.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto

These Portuguese young saints had no education and were illiterate. Despite their lack of academic knowledge, they certainly had a spiritual depth that would see them dedicate their very lives to Our Lady after she appeared to them at Fatima.

Bl. Solanus Casey

The Capuchin Franciscan friar found studying for the priesthood at 21 a real struggle, especially as the son of Irish immigrants who was studying at a German school. Due to these difficulties, Solanus was unable to be certified to hear confessions or to preach dogmatic sermons. This didn't stop him from leading an incredible life as the doorkeeper of the monastery, welcoming and advising the faithful.

Bl. Stanley Rother

Blessed Stanley Rother had a successful high school career while also keeping up with chores on the family farm and being involved with civic life. Things got tricky for him at the seminary, where he struggled with Latin, but thankfully he was able to learn Spanish and Tz’utujil well enough to minister to the faithful in Guatemala and even translate the New Testament.

Bl. Chiara Badano

Even though she was a diligent student, this young Italian schoolgirl struggled with her education and had to repeat her first year of high school. On top of that she had to deal with classmates teasing her for her devotion to Christ. Thankfully it was this faith in Christ that enabled her to cope with her painful terminal cancer and face death without sadness at the age of 18.

Ven. Carlo Acutis

This is another Italian teen whose faith saw him accept and embrace his illness and eventual death at the age of 15. While he was a seemingly good scholar, he was passionate about computers. His "inner geek" enabled him to catalogue the sites of all the Eucharistic miracles around the world, which he aimed to use as a means of evangelization.