Who is a saint?

Today, the Church celebrates St. Raymond of Penafort. It is written that Pope Gregory IX commanded him to organise, codify and edit the Church’s law (canon law). He was also elected General of the Dominicans and improved their regulations for better governance.

Undoubtedly, St. Raymond of Penafort was a good person and did important things. And many ordinary good people do important things.

Consider Marcel Callo, a leader of the French Young Christian Worker (JOC) movement, who was arrested for his role in organising workers, sent to Germany under the forced labour regime during World War II, and died in Mauthausen Concentration Camp – surely a saint.


How do we evaluate who a saint is?

Do you know someone who you would call a saint?

Can we be a saint?

Is an apostle/missionary a saint?


When declaring a saint, the Church looks at the following:

The life of a person. It looks at what the person did, how she reacted to the events of life, what people wrote and said about her, and what she wrote or said herself. For a martyr, the Church looks at the death of a person and considers the reason for the death and the circumstances surrounding the death.

The question of continuing devotion. When the person died, did the people keep the memory alive? Is the person still alive in the faith of the people? Is her life continuing in the people?

Pat Branson, in his “Being an apostle reflection”, said that Pope Francis prayed that the Lord would make us missionaries and apostles. Pat’s reflection also noted that Cardijn was the workers’ apostle and that the Church needed working-class apostles and missionaries.

While the Church may have a precise definition of a saint, would not being an apostle or a missionary, also qualify one as a saint?


Can we be an apostle today as part of our daily life?

Can we be a missionary today as part of our daily life?

Can we identify people who we know — past and present —- who are saints and honour them?


Greg Lopez


Marcel Callo (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)