Any Canonized Saints we've never heard of?

This has been on my mind recently in regards to those declared Saints within the Catholic Church.

I ask that you please correct me if I have made any errors in regards to this belief, but to my best knowledge the people in the Catholic Church do not canonize the Saints, rather God does. The visible Catholic Church is the instrument in which God reveals who has been Canonized and in turn it can be declared that such a person is a Saint.

With this in mind, I also know that the belief is that there are many Saints who have not been revealed to have been Canonized even though God has done so. So my question is as follows; are there any Canonized Saints who are ambiguous within history and yet it has been revealed to the Church and proclaimed that such a person is a Saint?

For example, has the Church ever said, “Craig Almond is a Saint.” When people say, “Who’s that?” The Church can simply say, that they don’t know the history behind him but God has declared him a Saint through our Church and therefore we can proclaim that he is a saint.

The reason I ask is I’m confused as to why the Church would only reveal famous people as Saints if God is the one revealing the Saints to the Church. Surely God would reveal some names that we’ve never heard of if Saints do not only consist of famous historical figures. It would be interesting to know that some random “Joe Shmoe” that only God knows about was declared Canonized and the human beings of the CC have never heard of.

St. Philomena

St. Wendelin

Just to correct your terminology here, “canonization” is the process by which the Church proclaims a saint. We would say that this person has been “glorified” in Heaven by God. You are correct that many more people are glorified who are not canonized by the Church. Just because an ordinary Joe dies in a state of grace is no guarantee he will be popularized and recognized with an open Cause in the diocese of his death.

It is, of course, presumptuous for us to say that Uncle Joe is in Heaven at his death. All our friends and loved ones need our prayers as they may be consigned to Purgatory for some time. Some may be condemned to Hell and we just don’t know this as mortals on Earth.

St. Philomena, as an example from upthread, is someone who has never been formally canonized by the Church but is widely venerated, has a shrine and an Archconfraternity and indulgences granted to their members. Her history is murky but the short story is that she was “liturgically canonized” in the past by being placed on the Calendar of Saints and then removed some time later. She is no longer liturgically venerated by the universal Church and her name does not appear in the Roman Martyrology.

Many saints who are commonly venerated today and do enjoy a place in the Martyrology were never formally canonized. The Holy See only began a formal process for canonization in the Middle Ages. Before that time, it was a process for local particular Churches and popular acclaim. Therefore, the Apostles and other saints of the early Church were never formally declared saints by a process in the Holy See.

I understood what you mean St Wendelin is a canonized saint. Patron of country people. There is a parish in a small, rural town in Illinois (Shannon) that is named for him. He is also venerated in countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, etc.

St. Timothy the Lector and his wife St. Maura.

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=6890

-Tim-

St. Lucifer

I’m not sure I understand the question, if you mean lesser known saints like St. Nicanor or regular, everyday people not well known in life like St. Maria Goretti.

St. Nicanor was one of the deacons mentioned in Acts of the Apostles, but most have not heard of this martyr. In real life he was known. Not so much now though.

St. Maria Goretti was just a poor teenager who I’m sure was unheard of by most people until she was murdered, forgave her murderer, and by doing so lead him to the faith.

Both, by the way, are two of my favorite saints.

Thank you for all the replies everyone.

Just by reading I have gathered this; correct me if I’m wrong:

Glorification is what God does, and Canonization is not done by God, rather Canonization is the act of revealing who has been glorified, is this correct?

My question is, as God reveals who has been glorified, has He revealed anyone to be Glorified by name but we have no idea who that person was or why he/she was glorified, thus we had to Canonize someone with no idea why? My dilemma is that every glorified person who has been revealed as Canonized is someone who’s story we know. Surely some lowly peasant who no one has heard of has been glorified and in turn Canonized with no reason given except that God knows why.

Since we do not use human standards to reveal who has been Canonized it would make sense that some random person no one knows of has been revealed by God to have been glorified and thus canonized, even if we don’t know their story.

Who is he? When I read your post chills went down my spine. I hope its not the Lucifer that im thinking of :frowning:

Thank you for all the replies everyone.

Just by reading I have gathered this; correct me if I’m wrong:

Glorification is what God does, and Canonization is not done by God, rather Canonization is the act of revealing who has been glorified, is this correct?

My question is, as God reveals who has been glorified, has He revealed anyone to be Glorified by name but we have no idea who that person was or why he/she was glorified, thus we had to Canonize someone with no idea why? My dilemma is that every glorified person who has been revealed as Canonized is someone who’s story we know. Surely some lowly peasant who no one has heard of has been glorified and in turn Canonized with no reason given except that God knows why.

Since we do not use human standards to reveal who has been Canonized it would make sense that some random person no one knows of has been revealed by God to have been glorified and thus canonized, even if we don’t know their story.

I don’t think it would make sense because revelation from God is used towards our salvation, and not to deliver arbitrary information that does not benefit us. What is the purpose of canonization?

If a Pope were to wake up one day and feel moved by the Holy Spirit to canonize a particular name who nobody knows anything about, then the faithful of the Church would be seeing a person who we have no means of aspiring towards. The major purpose of canonization is that the Holy See is providing for us a person who lived an exemplary, godly life, in the name of God, whom we can pray to and aspire towards. Are we canonizing people for their sake? They are in Heaven, and surely have no interest in worldly fame. It is for our sake that they are revealed to be in Heaven.

Secondly, it would do absolutely nothing to satisfy a critical mind. I could take on the mantle of Pope, buy a nice big white pointy hat, and claim to canonize some anonymous individual and say that they are glorified in Heaven. Then what? Would you then be satisfied and believe that canonization is guided by the Holy Spirit, because I decided to canonize a completely unknown individual?

No, that is not correct. From the Catechism:

828 By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors. “The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.” Indeed, “holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal.”

I think you have a misunderstanding here. God does not drop names out of the sky.

It is by acclaim of those who knew the person that their cause for canonization is brought to the Church. For example, we have a priest in our diocese who served the poor in missions and founded an orphanage, giving his whole life to the work there. People who knew him personally and knew his holiness have now petitioned for a cause for canonization to be opened.

People are not declared saints because they are “famous”. They become “famous” as a result of being declared saints in most cases.

There are many saints in heaven who are not in the canon of saints as they are known only to God.

Uh, no. God does not drop names out of the sky. It is the sanctity of the person while alive that leads others to recognize their holiness and to bring them to the attention of the Church.

Thanks for the explanation, this makes sense.

I’m not against the method by any means, I was just curious if this ever happens. We can all assume there are many glorified people who have not been Canonized so it made me wonder if any names of those people who we have no information of have ever been revealed. If the reason such a thing has not happened is because God deems it unnecessary, that’s reasonable. But, with my lacking knowledge of everything Catholicism I thought I would ask just in case.

God bless you all. :slight_smile:

dronald,

I think the problem may be the terminology. Anyone in heaven is a saint and the holy people on earth are saints as the bible tells us. The difference is “canonized saints” are submitted for formal recognition due to their holy lives on earth and are revealed by their intercession after death. Once two miracles are attributed to their intercession they can possibly be declared a “canonized saint” if their cause is approved. They are for our examples, it does nothing for someone already in heaven.You may find it interesting to look into the process of deciding if a miracle due to a saint’s intercession is accepted or not. Hopefully we’ll both be saints in heaven some day and not care in the slightest that we didn’t get canonized.

St Philomena was NOT canonized. It is not even certain she existed at all.

In 1837, Pope Gregory XVI, who had personally witnessed the miraculous recovery of Ven. Pauline Jaricot, was responsible for Philomena’s canonization and her place on the Calendar on August 11. He gave St. Philomena the title of “Patroness of the Living Rosary”. In 1837, only 35 years after her exhumation, Pope Gregory XVI elevated this “Wonder-Worker of the Nineteenth Century” to sainthood. In an act unprecedented in the history of Catholicism, she became the only person recognized by the Church as a Saint solely on the basis of her powerful intercession, since nothing historical was known of her except her name and the evidence of her martyrdom.Pope Leo XIII raised the Confraternity of St. Philomena to the rank of archconfraternity and approved the wearing of her Cord, attaching to it indulgences and privileges.
Pius IX also showed her a special devotion and made her “Patroness of the Children of Mary” in 1849.
In 1854, Rome approved a Proper Mass and Office in St. Philomena’s honor.

I think the members of the various St. Philomena Catholic Churches around the country would be surprised that their patron is “not a saint”.:blush:

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=98

SMOM, St. Philomena’s status is indeed very murky, because she was never formally canonized, she does not appear in the Roman Martyrology, and her liturgical celebration was suppressed in the 1960s. These suppressions notwithstanding, she has an active and legitimate devotion throughout the Church as seen through her shrine and Archconfraternity. There is little denying that she is a saint or that she did exist, but her status in the Church is less than certain.

I know wikipeadia is often mocked as a resource, but sometimes they have solid articles. I think their article on St. Philomena is pretty good. Excerpt:

Philomena

Saint Philomena was, as believed by her devotees within the Catholic Church, a*** young virgin martyr*** whose remains were discovered in 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla. Three tiles enclosing the tomb bore an inscription that was taken to indicate that her name (in the Latin of the inscription) was Filumena, the English form of which is Philomena.

The remains were removed to Mugnano del Cardinale in 1805 and became the focus of widespread devotion, with several miracles credited to the saint’s intercession, including the healing of Venerable Pauline Jaricot in 1835, which received wide publicity. Saint John Vianney attributed to her intercession the extraordinary cures that others attributed to himself.

In 1833 a Neapolitan nun reported that in a vision Saint Philomena had revealed that she was a*** Greek princess martyred at 13 years of age by Diocletian, who was Roman Emperor from 284 to 305.***

The shrine of her relics in Mugnano del Cardinale continues to be visited by pilgrimages from many countries, an Archconfraternity in her honour exists, as does popular devotion in various places around the world.

Discovery of the remains

On 24 May 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova an inscribed loculus (space hollowed out of the rock) was found, and on the following day it was carefully examined and opened. The loculus was closed with three terra cotta tiles, on which was the following inscription: lumena paxte cumfi. It was and is generally accepted that the tiles were in a wrong order and that the inscription originally read, ***with the leftmost tile placed on the right: pax tecum Filumena (i.e.“Peace with you, Philomena”***). Within the loculus was found the skeleton of a female between thirteen and fifteen years old. Embedded in the cement was a small glass phial with vestiges of what was taken to be blood. In accordance with the assumptions of the time, the remains were taken to be those of a virgin martyr named Philomena.[5]

In 1805, Canon Francesco De Lucia requested relics for a new altar, and on 8 June[7] obtained the remains discovered in May 1802 (reduced to dust and fragments)[8] for his church in Mugnano del Cardinale, where they arrived on 11 August, after being taken from Rome to Naples on 1 July.[7][9]

In 1827, Pope Leo XII gave to the church in Mugnano del Cardinale the three inscribed terra cotta slabs that had been taken from the tomb.[6]
Spread of devotion

In his Relazione istorica della traslazione del sagro corpo di s. Filomena da Roma a Mugnano del Cardinale, written in 1833,[10] Canon De Lucia recounted that wonders accompanied the arrival of the relics in his church, among them a statue that sweated some liquid continuously for three days.[9]

A miracle accepted as proved in the same year was the multiplication of the bone dust of the saint, which provided for hundreds of reliquaries without the original amount experiencing any decrease in quantity.[7]

Reported life of the Saint

On 21 December 1833, the Holy Office declared that there was nothing contrary to the Catholic faith in the revelations that Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù (1799–1875), a Dominican tertiary from Naples, claimed to have received from the Saint herself.[9]
…In these visions, Saint Philomena also revealed that … ***her name “Filumena” meant “daughter of light”***. (It is usually taken to be derived from a Greek word meaning “beloved”.)[6]

The spread of devotion to her in France as well as in Italy was helped when ***Saint John Vianney built a shrine in her honour and referred to her often, attributing to her the miracles that others attributed to himself.***[6]
...
Many other Saints were devoted to St. Philomena, e.g., ***St. Peter Julian Eymard***, St. Peter Chanel, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Madelaine Sophie Barat, St. Euphrasier Pelletier, ***St. John Neumann***, and Bl. Anna Maria Taigi.[19]

Problems

In his book It Is Time to Meet St Philomena, Mark Miravalle says that Pope Gregory XVI “liturgically canonized Philomena, in an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium”.[23] This contrasts with the usual view that canonization is an exercise of infallible magisterium declaring a truth that must be “definitively held”.[24][25][26]

The Roman Martyrology contains the names of all the saints who have been formally canonized, since “with the canonization of a new saint, that person is officially listed in the catalogue of saints, or Martyrology”,[27] and “as soon as the beatification or canonization event takes place, the person’s name is technically part of the Roman Martyrology”.[28] It does not now contain and in fact never included the name of this Philomena, which can be seen to be absent in the 1856 edition published some twenty years after the 1837 decree.

In 1961 two Catholic periodicals, America and Commonweal, published articles asserting that St. Philomena was “never canonized.” [29] [30]

Of course, lack of canonization does not mean lack of sainthood. Canonization was introduced only after many centuries of the Church’s existence, and for that reason none of the saints mentioned in the Roman Rite Canon of the Mass were ever canonized.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philomena

Incidentally, all of those indulgence grants were abrogated with the publication of the 1968 Enchiridion. The Archconfraternity claims that their grants were renewed but I have never found online confirmation of this. Nor do I doubt their claims, but I just can’t confirm them through reliable sources.

I drafted/posted this in another thread–not authoritative, but it’s a layman’s understanding (mine)–a little simpler–maybe supplement, from a slightly different perspective:

Canonization is an official declaration of belief that the subject thereof, is in Heaven.

The Holy Spirit is invoked, upon the same basis that Dogma is proclaimed.

The proclamation therefore rests upon the belief that the Holy Spirit continues to guide and protect the Church–as Chirst promised.

Hence it’s not ‘judging’, as the Church cannot damn or save anyone–‘judgment’ remains the exclusive province of God; rather the Church proclaims what it believes to be essentially revealed, as to the judgment of certain souls.

…and while there are thousands of canonized Saints…it is such a small number in comparison to the number of baptized persons, that it really is reserved for only those whom it may be conclusively determined were among the ‘Elect’***, by the way they lived in accordance with the Lord’s commandments, and in furtherance of His Will, and by their legacies–i.e.-***-by the fruit they bore. (Ref. "…wherefore by their fruits you shall know them’. Mt. 7:15-20, Douay-Rheims)–and t***hrough the guidance of the Holy Spirit***.

NOTE: it’s a declaration–or rather, an official recognition–not like a promotion. The Church doesn’t ‘elevate’ someone to Sainthood–just recognizes it to be the case, when the evidence is sufficiently compelling (and the Holy Spirit confirms the evidence).

…and I freely welcome any corrections or clarifications from more knowledgeable posters.

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