Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

To Become A Saint

on November 14, 2011

I knew that the Church has quite a process in place to declare a person a Saint, but I did not realize how involved it actually is.  There are three titles that a person is given during the process before the person is actually declared to be a Saint of the Church [1].  However, before this process can even begin, five years must pass after the person’s death in order to allow the people’s emotions to settle and to keep the process objective [2].  In rare instances, the five year waiting period can be waived by the Pope [1,2].

Antichristus, a woodcut by Lucas Cranach of th...

Servant of God

The first title given to the person in question is the Servant of God, but this title is given only after close examination of the person’s life.  People who knew the person are called to the ecclesiastical court to testify of the person’s Christian virtues of faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, and others [2].  Additionally, all public and private documents of the person is gathered and reviewed.  After all of this is reviewed, it is decided whether to pass the Decree of Heroic Virtue.  If passed, then the person is given the title Servant of God [1].


The Decree of Heroic Virtue is passed to the Pope.  Once the Pope agrees with the Decree of Heroic Virtue, the person is then given the title Venerable Servant of God [1].


Pope Benedictus XVI

Once made a Vernerable Servant of God, a miracle has to take place.  This miracle has to be something that could not have happened naturally and must be proven to be attributed solely to the intercession of the Vernerable Servant of God [1].  The miracle is the first proof that the person in question is in heaven.  In cases of Martyrdom, the requirement of the first miracle is waived, on the basis that the Martyrdom is an Act of Grace and is a miracle in itself [1].  Upon agreement between the scientific commission and the theological commission that the act was in fact a miracle completed at the intercession of the Servant of God, the person is declared Blessed by the Pope and the rite of beatification begins, which is the acknowledgment in certain regions of the Church of the person’s intercessory abilities [1,2].  The person is not yet recognized in the entire church.


A second miracle, just like the first, must take place after the title of Blessed is given to the Servant of God.  Once the second miracle goes through the scientific and theological commissions, the person is canonized as a Saint by the Pope [1,2].  It should be noted that the person is not made a saint by the Pope, as this Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont of only done by God.  Rather the person is merely recognized by the Church as a person called to God’s side [1].  It is at this point that the person is recognized by the entire Church as a Saint with the ability to intercede for us.

As you can see, this is quite a process that can take many years to be completed.  There are a lot more details and intricate steps that take place, and I invite all to investigate this process in more details.  Below are my references for this article along with links for more information.


Please ask if you have any questions, and I will get back to you with an answer and/or resources.


[1] The Process of Beautification and Canonization,  EWTN, Link

[2] Canonization Process, Catholic Pages, Link

More information

Vatican Saint-Maker Tells What it Takes to Make the Cut, Catholic Education Resource Center

Beautification and Canonization, New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint What’s Your Name, Saint Theodora/Mother Theodora Blog

St. Maria and Our Call to Sainthood, A Knight’s Walk in the Kingdom Blog


6 responses to “To Become A Saint

  1. therightwritehaven says:

    There’s a spelling error there – it should be ‘beatification’, not ‘beautification’.

    But other than that, a wonderful summary of the entire process – kudos to you, and keep it up! (:

  2. SR says:

    This is great and so much information. Thanks for taking the time to post. God Bless, SR

  3. cinhosa says:

    I enjoyed the overview of the process. I wondered why Pope John Paul II was already ‘Blessed JPII’.

    • Pamalogist says:

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it. 🙂 Yup, Pope John Paul II is one of those rare instances where the entire five year waiting period was waived. I do find that interesting and I’m curious as to the reasons for waiving the five year period. It is my understanding that not many of the popes who have died have had that time period waived. Interesting stuff. 🙂

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