Becoming a canonised saint - what's required?


We’re often told we should aim to be saints. We should not be afraid to be saints.

What’s actually required to be beatified by the Church, the first step to being a canonised saint? I know it’s referred to as living a life of “heroic sanctity”, and has been conferred on people such as John Paul II, Mother Teresa and John Henry Newman, who are referred to as “Blessed”, or “the Servant of God” in anticipation of the search for miracles and other signs to make them canonised saints.

What are the components of “heroic sanctity”? I remember a friend told me that fasting and lack of sleep are two of them. Anyone have the whole list? Anyone try to follow it?


In Heaven there are many non canonized saints :slight_smile:

(the distinction between Saints and saints)

we are all called to holiness… to be saints… but we won’t necessarily be canonized.

(sorry I don’t know the answer to your question about heroic virtue…)


It’s impossible to “follow a list.” The way to become a saint is to love God with one’s whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Seeking God with everything one has, giving Him everything one has to the best of one’s ability, devoting oneself to loving Him through prayers and deeds, and pouring oneself out to Him in humility and sacrifice, and giving all one’s love to one’s neighbors in all one’s thoughts, words and deeds, conquering the flesh and the devil and rising toward Christ, those are the ways to become a saint.

Some useful means to gain sainthood include: Frequent and devout attendance of the Mass, regular Confession, frequently praying the Rosary, and applying in one’s life the Beatitudes to one’s best ability, constantly relying on the Lord and the saints for aid.

Sainthood is the whole purpose of life for everyone on Earth. Most of us won’t be recognized as saints by the Church, but all of us are called to be saints regardless.

It often takes baby steps before adult leaps and jogging, though. I wish I was beyond the baby steps, but I only have such small special spiritual duties in my daily life right now as: Trying to eat measured amounts of food rather than as much as I want (thus controlling my flesh), offering up all annoyances and grievances I experience at other people’s hands to God and responding with mercy (hard to do, but I’m trying), and obeying everyone around me as swiftly as possible, whenever they ask me to do something that doesn’t conflict with my duties (great for taking power over the flesh). Those are my non-devotional efforts I’m trying to apply in my life all the time. Though they’re all so puny! They’re hard for me to do only because I’m pathetic. I look at the great saints and see in myself little more than an infant. But luckily, even though these are only a toddler’s steps, at least these are real steps!. The saints are adults jogging marathons. I’m a baby bumbling along to the nearest chair that it will grab for support, for I have just started learning to walk.

Just as physical life is a growing process, so is spiritual life a growing process. One day, the Lord will deeply mortify my flesh and spirit. For now, He is giving me the little my pathetic spirit can handle, and I’m grateful for His goodness, even as I look forward to the days to come (with a mingling of enthusiasm, excited anticipation and fear, because of the weakness of my flesh) when He will have drawn me closer to Himself.

I think it’s the same for most believers. Most of us develop in Christ slowly, step by step, just as a physical body develops slowly and imperceptibly. When we grow in small things, the Lord will offer us bigger things, and in all things we must train ourselves to accept life’s offerings as His gracious will for us.


I suggest finding a copy of “Saints: A closer look” by Thomas Dubay.

This is an excellent book that examines the attributes of saintliness and reviews how these attributes can be put into practice. (This is not a “lives of the saints” book and it spends little time discussing specific saints; instead, it focuses on the general concept of saintliness.)

The book should be widely available because it is very recent.


I think this might be helpful to you:
Generally take alot of the links on the site with a grain of salt, though. Some are ultra-traditionalist, but it’s a good resource for things like this.

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