Saints in purgatory?

I am confused. Is it possible for the pope to canonize a person as a saint and that person be suffering in purgatory?

Or do we believe that all saints are in heaven interceding for us and cannot go to purgatory to suffer?

How would we know and furthermore, what difference would it make? To the best of my knowledge, nothing in Catholic teaching precludes any canonized saint from passing through Purgatory. In fact all who make it to Heaven are saints and since Purgatory is a precursor only to Heaven that means that anyone there is a saint.

A Saint by definition, as I understand it, is a person beholding the beatific vision in Heaven, praying for us. A great many saints, canonized or not, we can presume have passed through some purgation, regardless of its length.

On a similar note, remember always to pray for the holy souls in purgatory, that they may be freed from their suffering and pray for us once they are accepted into heaven!

I don’t believe the Church declares whether or not the Saint experienced Purgatory, but rather the Saint has gone to heaven (which would not exclude Purgatory).

Catechism paragraph 828 on the significance of canonization of someone as a “Saint” is:
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.”

Thanks that makes perfect sense! Thanks for clearing my confusion!


If we want to know what a saint is, it is a person who is in heaven, whether canonized or not. When the Church canonizes a saint, the church is making an infallible statement that this person is in heaven. These saints have their feast days. On November 1, we celebrate all saints day. Here we honor those in heaven, not canonized, but who are nevertheless in heaven. and are saints.
Deacon Ed B

All Canonized Saints are in Heaven. Now that does not mean that they didn’t have a layover in Purgatory.

If one is canonized, it means he/she is in heaven. They may have been in purgatory, but are no longer there. Thanks Bro. Rich for prompting me to complete the answer.
Deacon Ed B

I actually don’t read the other answers before posting, I wasn’t pointing out anything regarding your post or scrutinizing your answer.

Suppose someone is in Purgatory and they are canonized. Does that mean they are automatically released from Purgatory into Heaven, or is it possible that a canonized saint is still in Purgatory?

Bro. Rich
Thanks non the less
Deacon Ed B

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