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Who is a Saint?

Who is a Saint?

A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term “saint” depends on the context and denomination. In some Christian traditions, such as the Roman Catholic Church, a saint is someone who has been officially canonized or declared worthy of veneration and prayers for intercession . In other traditions, such as the Protestant churches, a saint is any member of the Christian community who lives a godly life. The names of saints are sometimes used to name places and buildings, such as Saint Peter’s Basilica or Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

A saint is also a very good, kind, or patient person who helps others and does not complain. For example, someone might say “She’s a saint to go on living with that man” or “He has the patience of a saint with those kids” . This is an informal and figurative way of expressing admiration or gratitude for someone’s virtues.

How to Become a Saint

While living a holy and virtuous life is a necessary condition for becoming a saint, it is not a sufficient one. The Catholic Church has a rigorous and formal process for recognizing and declaring someone a saint, which is called canonization. The process has four main steps: waiting period, servant of God, venerable, and beatification. A final step, canonization, requires a second miracle attributed to the individual, except in the case of a martyr .

The first step is to wait at least five years after the death of the person before opening an investigation into their life. This is to ensure objectivity and avoid emotional bias. However, the Pope can waive this waiting period if he sees fit, as it happened with Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa .

The second step is to become a “servant of God”. This means that the bishop of the diocese where the person died can open an investigation into their life and deeds, with the permission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican department that oversees the process. The investigation gathers evidence and testimonies about the person’s holiness, virtues, and signs of God’s grace in their life .

The third step is to show proof of a life of “heroic virtue”. This means that the person lived their faith in an exemplary and extraordinary way, following the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints examines the evidence and makes a recommendation to the Pope. If the Pope approves, the person can be called “venerable” .

The fourth step is to verify a miracle attributed to the intercession of the person after their death. A miracle is an extraordinary event that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws, and that shows God’s power and love. Usually, miracles are healings of incurable diseases or injuries that are medically verified. The miracle must be investigated by a panel of experts, including doctors, theologians, and bishops. If the miracle is confirmed, the person can be beatified, which means they can be called “blessed” and venerated by a local region or group of people .

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