The term ‘Saint’ means ‘Holy’. In the New Testament, this was a term, which referred to those individuals who believed in the existence of Jesus Christ and adhered to his teachings. The devotion given to the saints by the Catholic Church is just amazing for lack of better words. Saints are the holy women and men who have lived exceptional and productive Christian life. The sad reality is that most individuals do not understand why the saints are respected so much by the Catholic Church. Saints live according to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, the Catholic Church uses this term to refer to the holy men and women who entered heaven because of their extraordinary lives of virtue.
Initially, the term ‘Saint’ was used to refer to individuals who followed Christ. Actually, St. Paul used to refer to his fellow apostles as saints. What this means is that only those individuals who were followed Jesus teachings to the latter, would qualify to be names as saints. However, as time went by, people began to misuse the name. This is because even those individuals who were not living according to the ways and teachings of Christ received the title.
As Christianity spread, it became quite clear that some Christians lived extraordinary lives. There were others who struggled. What this meant is that those individuals who lived heroic and extraordinary lives now were the only ones who qualified to be named as saints. The word “saint” was narrowed to such people.
Fast-forward, the Catholic Church began a process known as canonization. Venerable individuals would be recognized as ‘saints’ by their fellow Christians everywhere. One of the saints who have gone through the canonization process is St. Elizabeth. Others received the title through the universal recognition of the holy lives they lived (acclamation). Relevant examples of such saints are St. Paul and St. Peter.
It is important to note that the Catholic Church believe that both of these types of saints, that is, the acclaimed and canonized, are Heaven bound. The church believes that these saints both belong to the father. One of the requirements for one to be successful in the canonization process is proof of miracles that one has performed. Canonized saints are venerated anywhere. In addition to this, they can be prayed to publicly.
Examples of the most common saints are St. Michael, St. Valentine, St. Gabriel, St. Patrick, and St. Francis of Assisi among many others.