Ok like you I've probably not given the word a great deal of thought until now! Most of us use it quite loosely to refer to a very good person. But with over 10,000 named saints in history maybe it is something worth considering?
Many religions also use similar concepts to honour a few exceptional people.
John A Coleman, of the 'Society of Jesus', Berkeley College, California, stated that these people have the following in common:
Secondly they are extraordinary teachers;
It is far from being a quick decision made by the pope in a quasi New Year's Honour review of his flock!.
the candidate's life. If the panel approves, the Pope proclaims that the
candidate is venerable, which means that the person is a role model of Catholic virtues. The next stage toward sainthood is beatification, which allows a person to be honoured by a particular group or region. In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle. Martyrs - those who died for their religious cause - can be beatified without evidence of a miracle. In order for the candidate to be considered a saint, there must be proof of a second posthumous miracle. If there is, the person is canonized.
Saint or sinner? With this stringent criteria and decision- making process and almost all of us are all certainly closer to the latter! Yet many of us have been lucky enough to have had our lives touched by saints. As the anthropologist Lawrence Babb stated: 'They exert a powerful attractive influence ..... (touching) the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well'