What Can Catholic Saints Teach Us?

We are blessed to have the communion of saints. Not only do their lives offer guidance in our own Christian journey, but they also act as intercessors for our most pressing needs.
We have collected our best resources and books about these amazing saints to help you find inspiration in their stories and serve as companions for your Christian walk.

NEW from Leonard DeLorenzo

When someone we love dies, it’s difficult to look beyond our grief to understand that they are still with us. In Our Faithful Departed, University of Notre Dame theologian Leonard J. DeLorenzo shows us what this means and how we are called to remain faithful in our relationships with the dead, including the saints!

He explains that the Catholic Church teaches that heaven is not so much a place as it is a perfect communion in Christ where the living and the dead are forever united.

A free small-group discussion guide is available at avemariapress.com.

Grow with Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen

Only four women—Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen—have the distinction of being named Doctors of the Church because of their impact on the faith. In Set the World on Fire, Vinita Hampton Wright offers a four-week personal retreat that immerses you in the dramatic lives, historical eras, and groundbreaking ideas of these formidable saints and invites you to develop the grit, humility, pragmatism, hope, joy, and vision these women possessed.

ORDER HERE 
Bestselling Collection of Saints from Meg Hunter-Kilmer

Pray for Us isn’t your ordinary saint book: Hunter-Kilmer highlights the sorrows, struggles, and idiosyncrasies of broken people who turned their lives around and dedicated themselves to God and his work. Through these edgy profiles, full of fresh and fascinating stories, she explores the universal call to holiness and how God can transform anyone—from grouchy theologians to bratty teenagers—into saints. You’ll discover that anyone—even you—can become a saint if you trust in the Lord.

ORDER HERE 

Collection of Saint Books

At-Home Retreats with Spiritual Masters

Books about Our Favorite Female Saints

Books about Inspiring Male Saints

Books about Mary, the Queen of Saints

Find more resources for Marian devotion here.

FREE Resources

Playlist on the Lives of the Saints

Listen to this collection of podcast episodes of inspiring saint stories and learn more about your favorites or discover lesser-known saints to help you with your own Christian walk. 

FREE Series on the Saints

Ave Explores: The Saints looks at the process of canonization, how we can grow closer to the saints, and call upon them for support and prayer as we welcome them into our homes and families. 

Find Your Saintly Match

Which saint do you relate most to? Take this quiz to see which holy man or woman you are most like and see how their story could be a model for your own life. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Saints

What are saints?

Saints are all holy men and women who are now in Heaven.

 

 What is the communion of saints?

The communion (“oneness”) of saints consists of all the faithful followers of Christ, living and deceased, in one great union. All the faithful belong to the one body of Christ.

 

What is canonization?

Canonization is the declaration of a deceased individual as a saint in the Catholic Church.

 

How does someone become a canonized saint?

Canonization begins with local efforts and leadership; a campaign is started with the local bishop and an investigation into the life of a deceased holy individual is made. The bishop can then submit evidence to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, where theologians and scholars evaluate and potentially approve the cause for canonization. A person of ‘heroic virtue’ will first be declared a ‘Servant of God’, then, with Pope approval, ‘Venerable’, followed by ‘Blessed/Beatified’ before ultimately being canonized a ‘Saint’. It can take many decades for the complete process, as the progression from ‘Venerable’ to ‘Blessed’ is contingent on a verified miracle. Another verified miracle is required for the progression from ‘Blessed’ to ‘Saint’, except in the instances of martyrdom.

 

What is a ‘verified miracle’?

A verified miracle is a miraculous occurrence for which there is no natural or scientific explanation. Verified miracles often come in the form of unexplainable healings for which there are no logical medical explanations.

 

How many saints are there?

We have beatified over 10,000 Saints in the Church, but there are likely many more unknown saints.

 

Why do Catholics pray to saints?

Catholics venerate the saints, looking at their lives as examples of how to follow Christ and be holy. Catholics do not pray to the saints in worship; rather, Catholics ask for the intercession of the saints – just as you might ask a friend to pray for you and your intentions. The only difference is that saints are our friends in Heaven – friends who are very close to Jesus and can bring our requests to Him on our behalf.

 

Are saints in the Bible?

While the process of canonization that exists today did not exist in the very early Church, from the very beginning the Church has recognized the holiness of individuals, especially martyrs, like Saint Stephen (see Acts 6-7). Many Biblical figures were later given the title of saint following martyrdom.

 

Who was the first saint?

We do not know for sure who the ‘first’ saint was. When Christ ascended into Heaven, He brought many righteous souls with Him – souls of individuals who had died waiting for the coming of the Messiah. The first official Christian martyr was Saint Stephen, but the church also recognizes the pre-Christian sanctity of many of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets. Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, are also recognized as Saints (with the Blessed Mother recognized as the greatest of all Saints).

 

What is a relic?

A relic is an earthly remnant of a saint. The mortal remains of a saint are esteemed as sacred objects. Objects worn or touched by canonized saints are also esteemed as relics, but to a lesser degree. All Catholic altars contain a saint relic.