Protestants and Saints


I am a Methodist Christian and have recently started researching the lives of a few saints.

I have drawn inspiration and encouragement from their examples, especially the ones who showed exceptional courage and bravery in the face of persecution and how they stood up for the Christian faith. Some even lost their lives for it. I think they are excellent role models and we can learn from them and their experiences, although they were not perfect and were mere humans with human frailties who should not be worshipped in the “adoration” sense. I just kind of view them as spiritual mentors for those of us on earth, although we can also learn from faithful friends, family, and others alive here on earth.

Question for fellow Protestants:
Do any of you see value in studying the lives of the saints? If not, why not?

Question for Catholics:
How has your faith in Christ been enriched and strengthened through the saints?


I learn more from their teachings-- not the saints themselves. I have benefited from the writings of C.S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon, but I have no interest in studying their lives. Their lives are irrelevant to me and how I live my life.


Tommy,my faith in Jesus has always been there,… since I was a child and was at the age I could understand… There have been times throughout my life however that I was in a crisis and didn’t want to hear anything from anybody about God being there , my twin brother was taken suddenly, I was on my way to take him clothes at funeral parlor St. Therese who I have a great love for, and would say a small prayer for her intercession every night She answered through a little boy, who as he was giving me a single rose {St. Therese is known for giving roses} said"please don’t cry anymore, everything is alright" After that I never questioned, and yes St. Therese gave me that strength. I like your definition “spiritual mentors” for that’s what they are. God Bless you,:butterfly::butterfly::butterfly:

  1. Their example has enriched my life immeasurably. For example, St. Therese’s Little Way is a comfort for those of us who don’t feel that we can do the big things that so many powerful saints have done.

  2. Their prayers are far more efficacious than mine alone. Therefore, I ask for their intercession regularly. Especially in an emergency, it is comforting to know that the entire host of heaven is assailing heaven with prayers in our behalf.

James 5:Confession and Intercession. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. 17 Elijah was a human being like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.


See as a Catholic we believe that we are all called to be Saints. We believe that to enter Heaven we must be a Saint. Yes Saints were only human beings but they were human beings who kept trying and they put God FIRST & FOREMOST in their lives. They became less and God became more to them. Their only goal was knowing, loving and serving God in this life so they could spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

“I think they are excellent role models and we can learn from them and their experiences, although they were not perfect and were mere humans with human frailties who should not be worshipped in the “adoration” sense. I just kind of view them as spiritual mentors for those of us on earth, although we can also learn from faithful friends, family, and others alive here on earth.”

NO ONE is worshipped by Catholics but God & God alone. Anything else would be against the first commandment. We do NOT worship Saints and we do NOT worship Mary. We honor them. Just like we would honor members of our family here on Earth we honor Mary because she is our spiritual Mother and we honor the Saints because they are our spiritual family.

Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints. They are as alive in Heaven praying for us as they were when here on Earth. Just as you would ask a friend or family member here to pray for you or someone you love who is in need of prayer, we ask the Saints to intercede (add their prayer to ours) when it goes to the Lord. They are there in His presence so why wouldn’t we ask them to intercede for us.


I was Lutheran and never really focused too much on the saints. I was just never taught to focus on their lives. The apostles and St. Paul were the ones discussed most often.

When I became a Catholic, I fell in love with the saints. My faith has been enriched because I have been able to see how ordinary men and women like me have been able to discern God’s call and follow Him. Their lives also show me that God calls us from all walks of life all over time and that everyone has a place in His kingdom.



Heaven and Earth join together at Mass. This is what we believe.

We believe the Saints in Heaven are the Church Triumphant and we still here on Earth are the Church Militant



Thank you;

I hope you release that it is the HS who lead to this endeavor.

Also the term “Christian” REALLY ought to be “Catholic”:grinning:

And the effect they have on you is the intended effect and WHY we Catholics pray “to” them; BUT REALLY THROUGH them as all prayers are intended to END with God.

The reason we Catholics do this is that these Saints can be role-models for us; or are known for a particular trait or cause for which we implore there INTERCESSION

We we pay THROUGH them, they accept our petitions, THEN ADD their own on top our urs, and personally give them to Jesus on our behalf; thus increasing their efficacy

God Bless you, have you found a “favorite one yet?”

Here is a site for the Catholic Encyclopedia that you can use to look up Saints:



I like reading about their struggles and even their sins and failings because then I know that happy endings are possible and there’s hope for me.


That’s too bad. Growing up Lutheran, we often learned about the saints and the martyrs of the early Church.


Absolutely. They are the examples of the godly life He has placed in our midst.
As a cancer survivor, I am particularly fond of St. Peregrine.


Dang I missed out. We were taught that we were “saints in the making” but never explored the saints in depth. We learned about Ss Peter and Paul and how they lived their lives and became saints. That’s about it. :confused:


The Saints have enriched and strengthened my faith by showing me the rich diversity of people who can follow God in heroic ways.

Saints have come from all eras, all economic levels, all walks of life, all countries, all races, all backgrounds, in all kinds of different situations, reaching sainthood in many different ways. Some became priests or joined religious orders, some did not. Some lived very poor in a shack, some were royalty and lived in palaces. Some were single virgins, some were single people who had lived a raunchy life before turning to God, some were happily married, some were miserably married. Some had good Catholic families, some had mildly dysfunctional family situations, some had truly terrible families who hated the Church and/or them.

There have been humble saints, forceful saints, eccentric saints, calm saints, excitable saints, saints who didn’t get along with people very well and went off to be hermits, saints who loved people and spent all day working with people, saints with mental problems and addictions (St. Mark Ji Tianxiang never kicked his opium habit and couldn’t receive the sacraments for many years because it was regarded as a weakness and the priests wouldn’t give them to him). There have been super smart saints who wrote wonderful scholarly works or always got top grades, and saints who were always at the bottom of their class. (St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, was almost kicked out of seminary because he just couldn’t learn the Latin and other material after years of trying. His mentor persuaded the higher-ups to ordain him because he was such a holy guy and there was a severe priest shortage in the area.)

Some saints traveled all over their country, continent, or the world in the eras when travel was dangerous and difficult and most people didn’t go more than a few miles from their village. Some saints continue to travel all over the place in the modern era. Other saints stayed in or around one small area for their entire lives. Some saints were mystics who saw visions. Other saints seem to have been very down-to-earth people who mostly just worked hard and didn’t have, or didn’t emphasize, mystic experiences. Some of the female saints had careers, including in the era when most women were SAHMs - you had Joan of Arc riding out with the army, St. Bridget and St. Catherine being diplomats and trying to influence men in power positions, and St. Teresa of Avila reforming an order. In more recent years we have had St. Edith Stein, who was a respected academic, St. Gianna Beretta Molla who was a pediatrician, and St. Teresa of Calcutta, who founded an order and became known all over the world. And some of the female saints were SAHMs, or cloistered nuns who lived lives of prayer out of the public eye. Some of the male saints were good soldiers, or successful businessmen, or the equivalent, and some of them failed over and over at everything in life except holiness.

(exceeded character limit, continued next post)


(continued from previous post)

Some saints had a plan for doing something specific, like being a missionary to China, and it got derailed and they ended up doing something totally different. Others had a plan for doing something specific, like founding an order or becoming a priest, and they kept persevering despite many roadblocks and finally accomplished their goal. Some saints had to deal with a major disaster or evil, such as a war, which ended up putting them in the heroic position of becoming saints. Still others became saints totally by accident, such as St. Juan Diego, St. Bernadette, and Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, all of whom were just going about their daily business when suddenly Mary appeared to them and changed the course of their lives.

With so many great stories, who could ever get tired of learning about the saints? If one saint does not appeal to you, there’s dozens more to choose from. Whatever we are doing, in any walk of life, in times of success or failure, regardless of what obstacles we face including our own physical or mental limitations as well as stuff happening in the outside world or others who oppress us, we see that we can still become saints because so many other people have managed it. Without all these examples, true Christianity might seem like something limited to one group of people, for example priests or nuns only, or that there was only one path to serving God well and if you weren’t on it you were always going to fall short of the mark.

I do not understand why Protestants would not want to have saints for their spiritual “friends” - not gods, but FRIENDS, a fellow human to look up to.


I love reading and learning about those Giants of Faith - watching movies, etc. My question is do we only limit who are called Saints by Catholics? What about all those martyred in the early years of Christianity and others who may have lead lives worthy to become saints?

Just a question and not trying to be sarcastic or argumentative.




The term “Saint” actually means every person who is in heaven. “All Saints’ Day” is to honor everybody in heaven, which likely includes millions of saints whose names have been forgotten on earth and who will never be canonized with the big ceremony. Let’s say my grandmother died and after some time in Purgatory, went to Heaven; she’s now a saint.

The Catholic Church official “Saints” who are recognized in more modern times through canonization process and from previous eras by tradition are just the tiny handful of saints whom the Church has selected to honor publicly. In order to honor a saint publicly, the Church has to conduct various investigations to make sure that when the Church declares all over the media that someone is in heaven, they don’t end up looking foolish if the person turns out to have a skeleton in the closet or perhaps just never existed.

So you can certainly honor all the martyrs whose names you don’t know. There are thousands of them. if you die a martyr you go to heaven, so they are all saints. For anyone who wasn’t a martyr, you’d have to have some reasonable certainty they are in heaven, which is something that the vast majority of us (Padre Pio aside) cannot tell, although we can have hope.


And I was taught that we are at once, saint and sinner ( “Simul Iustus et Peccator” ).
St Paul:
14For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I work, I understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do. 16If then I do that which I will not, I consent to the law, that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good. For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. 19For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do. 20Now if I do that which I will not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.


Sounds like the saints run the gamut. I like that. I see value in learning from those Christians who came before us who can serve as mentors and examples for the rest of us to give us encouragement in our faith journey. Thank you very much, Tis Bearself.


John g lake was an inspiration.

And smith wigglesworth an example for all believers.

And Kenneth e Hagan a prophet

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit