Is it possible that someone who has been canonized a saint actually did not go straight to heaven but got there through purgatory?
of course it is, that is why the process takes a long time, centuries sometimes, because confirmation for their cause is seen in miracles worked through their intercession, which indicates that now they are in heaven.
I think the only statement about a canonized saint is that he or she is in Heaven. I don’t think the Church says anything about the process by which he or she got there,
Is it so? Somehow I’ve always thought saints go straight to heaven and that is what the canonization means.
So, what would you call the ‘other’ folks up in heaven that went through purgatory to get there if not “saints”?
a canon is a list, the Roman canon is the list of saints who have been declared by the Church as definitely being in heaven, thus, have been “canonized”, put on the list. try the article on CA homepage it has a great description of this whole topic. There is also a recent thread on sainthood, in the last week, with some excellent links in some replies, on the topic, which would be quite helpful for you.