THE PROCESS TO BECOME A CATHOLIC SAINT
In the most basic and broadest sense, all souls who are in heaven are Saints. The Church formally recognizes and names many of these Saints through the process of canonization.
While only a few Saints are canonized, these individuals are exceptional examples of how we can serve God and aspire to Sainthood during our lifetime. What better place for inspiration than people who’ve exemplified the commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
In Roman Catholicism and certain other Christian faith traditions, a saint is a holy person who is known for his or her “heroic sanctity” and who is thought to be in heaven.
How to become a Saint?
The process for a man or woman to become a canonized Saint includes four phases. The first phase names them a Servant of God, and subsequent phases determine the eligibility to be proclaimed Venerable, Blessed, and, finally, Saint.
A Cause for Beatification and Canonization begins and the candidate is called Servant of God.
SERVANT OF GOD
The first of many requirements is that the person has been dead for at least five years. The required waiting period helps ensure that the candidate has an enduring reputation among the faithful. Once this time is up, an official Cause or process for canonization can begin and the person is named “Servant of God.”
With the Cause officially opened, the Church looks deep into the person’s life by interviewing witnesses, reviewing writings and examining how they lived. For example, Mother Theresa’s life working with the poor in Calcutta supported her Cause.
A Position is then presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to vote on whether or not there is sufficient evidence of the candidate’s Heroic Virtue. If the Pope approves, they are declared to be a “Venerable Servant of God” signalling that the person’s life is an inspiring example for all of the faithful.
The next step of beatification requires evidence of a miracle by God through the intercession of the specific candidate. The Church must thoroughly investigate each miracle, working with the scientific community and medical experts—including non-believers—to determine that there’s not a natural explanation. Once the Pope confirms a miracle took place, the candidate is declared to be “Blessed” and in heaven. Catholics can privately venerate them and go to them for intercessory prayers.
The final step toward canonization happens when a second miracle is confirmed through the same rigorous investigation as before. The Pope performs the ceremony of Canonization, verifying that the person is in heaven with God. Catholics can now publicly venerate the Saint and ask for their help through prayerful intercession. They are also assigned a special feast day that all Catholics can celebrate through Mass.