The word "saint" comes from the Latin word sanctus, which translates to "consecrated" or "holy." Saints are men and women who have lived their lives (and very often gave them up freely) in such a way as to be rewarded with the Kingdom of God. The road to being officially recognized by the Church as a saint in a long one. In the earliest stage, the saint-in-the-making is identified as a "Servant of God."
That stage is followed by a recognition of being "Venerable" and then "Blessed" before being recognized by the Church as a saint or "Friend of God." This official recognition by the Church as a saint comes at the conclusion of the process and ceremony called "canonization."
These saints, living exemplary lives, provide for us examples to follow so that we may, in turn, follow them to Heaven. "Feast Days" are recognized for each saint. These feast days are very often the day of the year in which they died, especially if they gave up their lives for their faith. These special saints that gave up their lives for their faith are called "martyrs."
Based on the course of their lives and the circumstances surrounding them, some of the saints serve as "patrons" of certain peoples, places, things, and occupations, as they intercede for us before God.
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