Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

How many miracles does it take to be canonized a saint?

ARCHBISHOP OSCAR ROMERO

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.Media

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/09/19 - updated on 12/09/20

The canonization process can vary depending on the saint and the history behind them.

A canonized saint in the Roman Catholic Church is someone who has lived a life of heroic virtue and whose example is particularly edifying for the Christian faithful. Not everyone is declared a “saint,” but that does not mean that they aren’t enjoyed the beatific vision of God in heaven.

For those men and women who are canonized, a lengthy process is initiated in which their lives are first examined. If they are shown to have lived a life of heroic virtue, their cause typically progresses and the next stage depends on the verification of miracles.

In order to be beatified (the last step before being canonized), an individual needs to have one miracle attributed to their intercession.

Miracles are described by St. Thomas Aquinas as “those things … which are done by divine power apart from the order generally followed in things.” This means that a miracle must have hard evidence that it did not follow the rules of nature.

One of the most common type of miracles is the sudden healing of someone. According to author Michael O’Neill, “For the cure to be considered miraculous, the disease must be serious and impossible (or at least very difficult) to cure by human means and not be in a stage at which it is liable to disappear shortly by itself. No medical treatment must have been given, or it must be certain that the treatment given has no reference to the cure. The healing must be spontaneous, complete and permanent.”


ST ROCH,CEMETERY,SHRINE

Read more:
This is how miracles are approved by the Church

The local bishop is put in charge of investigating the miracle and if it is verified, the man or woman is named “Blessed.”

After that stage is complete, a second miracle is required before the final canonization can occur to name the person a “Saint.” On occasion this requirement has been waived, such as in the case of St. John XXIII where only one miracle was verified.

Also, sometimes this procedure is adjusted for saints who have had a long history of veneration. This is called “equivalent canonization” and while the process is not identical, it still requires a history of miraculous intervention.

Cardinal Angelo Amato explained in 2014 that, “an equivalent canonization requires a longtime liturgical cult, the ‘constant and common attestation’ of credible historians about the person’s virtues, and an ‘uninterrupted reputation for wonders’ obtained through that person’s intercession.”

In this case more than two miracles are required and the canonization only occurs after a lengthy time has passed, proving the individual’s heavenly intercession.

Canonization is not meant to be a “reward” for certain men or women after their death, but a public confirmation of their saintly life and union with God. Saints are meant to encourage us in our daily struggle for sanctity and show us the path forward.


SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO

Read more:
Augustine, Pelagia, and other sinners who became great saints


CARDINAL AMATO

Read more:
Now that’s a lotta saints! Vatican’s “saint-maker” to retire after 913 canonizations

Tags:
MiraclesSaints

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
4
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
5
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
6
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.