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Do newest Catholic saints have lessons for others?

Published: Saturday, April 26 2014 6:00 a.m. MDT

Making a saint

How does a Catholic become a saint? Two prerequisites are dying and having taken part in at least two "postmortem miracles," according to "Saints For Dummies," by Catholic priests Revs. John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti.

Also required is having led "an exemplary life," or having undergone martyrdom. Changing from an immoral life to one of "outstanding holiness" following "a major conversion of heart," the authors say, can trump the martyrdom requirement.

A local diocese generally proposes candidates for sainthood. The proposal wends its way through Catholic hierarchy, with every aspect of a person's life examined along with evidence for the postmortem miracles, which Revs. Trigilio and Brighenti describe as "usually … an immediate, complete and spontaneous cure of a serious and pathological disease or condition which medical science cannot explain or refute."

Once all the evidence is verified, a Vatican body known as the Congregation of Saints evaluates the material and decides whether or not a candidate's case is passed on to the pope, who makes the ultimate decision.

For his part, Jesuit author Martin laughed when asked if, at some future date, the Catholic world would ever see a "St. James Martin."

"We're all called to be saints, all of us, it's not just a vocation for just a few," he said. "But, officially, only a few of us are recognized as saints, and I doubt that will be me. But I strive to lead a holy life."

Email: mkellner@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Mark_Kellner

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