The Catholic Church has set aside one day to recognize all the saints throughout the history of Christianity.

Though Catholics consider all Christians to be saints, Catholic Saints are Catholic Christians who exhibited heroic virtue during their lives. After one of these people passes away and is recommended for Sainthood, a lengthy investigation is done into the extent of heroic virtue and goodness the person exhibited while they were alive.

The person will have to go through several steps before being declared an actual Saint. For instance, Joan of Arc was a Saint (burned at the stake for not renouncing her Catholic faith), and Polycarp, who was martyred for his faith during the Second Century, is another Saint. Actually, there are thousands.

In order to be canonized a Saint, miracles must be attributed to a particular Saint’s intercession. Even today, the long list of Saints is growing. Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa are two contemporary Catholics who are on their way to sainthood.

The Catholic Church recognizes special people as saints because they pray for us in Heaven, and we look up to them as people who were examples of heroic virtue. Many Saints were martyred for their faith.

Saint Therese of Lisieux, France, only lived 24 years. She didn’t outwardly do anything that stood out from the other nuns of her order. After her death, though, in reading her writings and from deeper investigation, it was learned that she had had an extraordinarily mature conception of the nature of God. In fact, Saint Therese is not just a Saint. She is a “Doctor of the Church,” which is a Saint who had a particular teaching to offer the church.

“My mission — to make God loved — will begin after my death,” she said. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.” Because of this quote and others, St. Therese of Lisieux has been nicknamed, “The Little Flower.”

Saints are also considered to be Patron Saints of some aspect or many aspects of human life. For instance, Saint Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, prayed constantly for the conversion of her husband and her son. She was also a reformed alcoholic.

St. Monica is the patron saint of abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, Christian mothers, Bevilacqua, Italy; difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, Mabini, Bohol, Philippines, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows and wives.

Catholics everywhere call upon St. Monica to pray on their behalf.

Let us pay attention this All Saints Day to the recognized and unrecognized Saints in Heaven praying for us continually.