become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, but this status is only granted after death. Furthermore, to achieve this beatified status, one must lead a heroically virtuous life, in the strictest accord with the teachings of the church, embracing charity, faith, hope and other virtues. One must also perform miracles during their life and either be martyred in the name of their religion, or be responsible for miracles posthumously.
The canonisation procedure must begin at least five years after a person’s death.
However, the Pope can make exceptions to this rule, as in the case of Mother Teresa, who became a candidate only two years after her death.
The process of canonisation can be divided into four stages:
A formal request for an individual to be considered for sainthood is submitted to a special Vatican tribunal.
The request must explain how the person lived a life of holiness, pureness, kindness and devotion.
If the candidate meets the requirements, the tribunal officially recognises this person to be a Servant of God.
The tribunal report is sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints at the Vatican.
The Congregation, comprised of theologians, cardinals, archbishops and bishops, studies the person’s life and writings to ensure they are in line with the teachings of the church.
The candidate must be found to possess four cardinal virtues and three theological virtues to be declared venerable and of heroic virtue.
If the person was martyred - suffered death or persecution in the name of their faith - he or she may be beatified and named Blessed without further investigation. This is a locally recognised sainthood whereupon the person may be worshipped in his or her city, diocese, region, or religious community.
If not martyred, the person must be responsible for the occurrence of a posthumous miracle verified by the congregation.
MOTHER TERESA WAS BEATIFIED IN 2003.
Odour of sanctity
Attributed to the saint’s intervention
or contact with relics belonging to the saint
The body of the saint or the representation thereof liquefies each year on the day of his or her death
The body of the person, who is already buried, does not decay
The body expels a sweet odour instead of the normal posthumous odours
The saint’s name is added to the catalogue of saints and every member of the Roman Catholic Church may worship and pray to this saint
Churches may be dedicated to the saint
The saint’s name is invoked in prayers
Masses may be offered in honour of the saint
Feast days are celebrated in the saint’s memory
The saint’s relics are enclosed in vessels and publicly honoured
Now images can be made showing the saint with a halo
OFTEN ATTRIBUTED TO SAINTS DURING THEIR LIFE:
The saint’s body shows signs of the five crucifixion wounds of Christ
The saint is able to float
The person is able to appear in two places at once
HOW TO BECOME A
By granting sainthood, the Roman Catholic Church recognises that the saint is in heaven. After the canonisation, worshipers may pray to this saint. Nearly 3,000 people have been canonised by the Roman Catholic Church since the practice began in 1234.
in a process called canonisation.
by the Roman Catholic Church
Mother Teresa has been declared a saint
One more demonstrated posthumous miracle must occur as a result of the person’s intercession for the person to be canonised.
The person is canonised through a formal papal decree that the candidate is holy and in heaven with God. The Pope makes the declaration during a special mass in honour of the new saint.
In Mother Teresa’s case, two miracles were credited to prayers offered after her death: a man in Brazil with brain abscesses awoke from a coma, and the stomach tumour of a woman in India disappeared.
So how exactly does one become a saint?
The patron of fire prevention was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena.
At the age of 28, she was said to receive the stigmata. She was seen levitating during prayer, and a priest said that he once saw the Holy Communion fly from his hand and go straight into Catherine’s mouth.
She died in 1380, and more than six centuries later, many believe her flesh has not decomposed. She died at the age of 33, and was canonised more than a century later.
Patron of blood banks, and volcanic eruptions. He was born in Italy and as Bishop of Benevento visited two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprisoned. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded.
Today Januarius’ blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It is believed to liquify and bubble when exposed in the cathedral.
Patron of headache sufferers, and Spanish Catholic writers, she was born in Avila, Spain. She is the founder of the Discalced, or barefoot, Carmelites, and was declared a doctor of the Church for her writing and teaching on prayer.
The Church believes her grave exuded a sweet odor for nine months after her death. She was canonised in 1622.
Patron of aviators, flying, studying and those suffering mental handicaps.
He was born at Cupertino. The life of the saint was marked by ecstasies and levitations. At mass he is said to have floated in the air in rapture. It is believed that once, as Christmas carols were being sung, he soared to the altar and knelt in the air, in prayer.
Patron of civil defense, volunteers, adolescents, etc. He was an Italian priest known for his piety and charity, as well for the gift of the stigmata.
Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts, including healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles and abstinence from both sleep and nourishment.
Patron saint of World Youth Day, he was born in Wadowice and elected Pope in 1978. He presided over 138 beatification ceremonies and 48 canonisation ceremonies.
Miracles from France and Costa Rica helped the Pope to pave the fastest path to sainthood in the history of the Catholic Church.
Said her symptoms for Parkinson’s disease went away after praying to the Pope. This occurred three months after his death.
Sister Pierre says she woke up one day in perfect health. Floribeth Mora Diaz, of Costa Rica, said the Pope cured her of a brain aneurysm when doctors warned she only had a month left to live.
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Joseph of Cupertino
St. Padre Pio
St. John Paul II
Nun Marie Simon-Pierre
Some examples of saints and their miracles
HOW TO BECOME A
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