The Lives Of The Saints, Part 1 Of 2, Catholic Audiobook
According to the Catholic Church, a “saint” is anyone in Heaven, whether recognized on Earth or not.  The title “Saint” denotes a person who has been formally canonized, that is, officially and authoritatively declared a saint, by the Church as holder of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and is therefore believed to be in Heaven by the grace of God. There are many persons that the Church believes to be in Heaven who have not been formally canonized and who are otherwise titled “saints” because of the fame of their holiness. Sometimes the word “saint” also denotes living Christians.
In his book Saint of the Day, editor Leonard Foley, OFM says this: the “[Saints’] surrender to God’s love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of Jesus that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration. They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ.”
The Catholic Church teaches that it does not “make” or “create” saints, but rather recognizes them. Proofs of heroicity required in the process of beatification will serve to illustrate in detail the general principles exposed above upon proof of their “holiness” or likeness to God.
On 3 January 993, Pope John XV became the first pope to proclaim a person a “saint”: on the petition of the German ruler, he canonized Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg. Before that time, the popular “cults”, or venerations, of saints had been local and spontaneous. Pope John XVIII subsequently permitted a cult of five Polish martyrs. Pope Benedict VIII later declared the Armenian hermit Symeon to be a saint, but it was not until the pontificate of Pope Innocent III that the Popes reserved to themselves the exclusive authority to canonize saints. Walter of Pontoise was the last person in Western Europe to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope: Hugh de Boves, the Archbishop of Rouen, canonized him in 1153. Thenceforth a decree of Pope Alexander III in 1170 reserved the prerogative of canonization to the Pope, in so far as the Latin Church was concerned.
One source claims that “there are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the Roman Martyrology and Orthodox sources,  but no definitive head count”.
Alban Butler published Lives of the Saints in 1756, including a total of 1,486 saints. The latest revision of this book, edited by the Jesuit Herbert Thurston and the British author Donald Attwater, contains the lives of 2,565 saints. Monsignor Robert Sarno, an official of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints of the Holy See, expressed that it is impossible to give an exact number of saints.
The veneration of saints, in Latin cultus, or the “cult of the Saints”, describes a particular popular devotion or entrustment of one’s self to a particular saint or group of saints. Although the term “worship” is sometimes used, it is only used with the older English connotation of honoring or respecting (dulia) a person. According to the Church, Divine worship is in the strict sense reserved only to God (latria) and never to the Saints. One is permitted to ask the Saints to intercede or pray to God for persons still on Earth, just as one can ask someone on Earth to pray for him.
A saint may be designated as a patron saint of a particular cause, profession, or locale, or invoked as a protector against specific illnesses or disasters, sometimes by popular custom and sometimes by official declarations of the Church. Saints are not believed to have power of their own, but only that granted by God. Relics of saints are respected, or “venerated”, similar to the veneration of holy images and icons. The practice in past centuries of venerating relics of saints with the intention of obtaining healing from God through their intercession is taken from the early Church. For example, an American deacon claimed in 2000 that Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman interceded with God to cure him of a physical illness. The deacon, Jack Sullivan, asserted that after addressing Newman he was cured of spinal stenosis in a matter of hours. In 2009, a panel of theologians concluded that Sullivan’s recovery was the result of his prayer to Newman. According to the Church, to be deemed a miracle, “a medical recovery must be instantaneous, not attributable to treatment, disappear for good.”
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