Saints are people just like us who tried to live a holy life, meaning, a person who tried to love in some way or another. This could be by being kind, gentle, merciful, listening, wise, joyful, peaceful, faithful or hardworking towards the needs of others. All those who are in heaven are called saints.
Some of these saints are officially recognised, after their death, by Catholic Church. The Church officially recognises what God has done in the life of that person when s/he was alive through a lengthy process involving an in depth study and investingation of the person's life and also by obtaining at least two miracles through that person's intercession after his/her death. Saints need not necessarily be religious, that is, a priest or a nun, they can be lay people.
There are lay people of all sorts who lived a saintly life including a the saint who mistakenly murdered his parents, one who committed rape, one who was killed by his adopted son, the saint who for many years was a man's mistress, saints who were alcoholics, saints who died in childbirth, saints who had an unfaithful husband or wife, saints who were orphaned, who were abandoned, who married young, who died young, who ran away from home, who left the Faith and later returned, who died for the Faith, who were killed in battle, who were murdered, saints who were tortured, who were fired from a job, who were disliked, who were homely or illiterate, who were mystics, who were neglected, who were poor, who were ridiculed, who were sick, who had mental problems, who endured others' bad temper, who had trouble with their in-laws, who though married lived as celibates etc.
Trying our luck at sainthood might not be such a far fetched option!
- Book: Secular Saints: Two Hundred Fifty Canonized and Beatified Lay Men, Women and Children, Joan Carroll Cruz. 1989.
- Website: Catholic Saints.