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Physiologically the period of development from puberty to full adulthood. But theologically the operations of divine grace are quite independent of this physical process. Not only can adolescents live a deep life of faith, but they are capable of reaching a high degree of sanctity, as testified by the Church's canonization of such young persons as St. Stanislaus Kostka (1550-68), St. Dominic Savio (1842-57), and St. Maria Goretti (1890-1902). (Etym. Latin adolescentia, time of youth; from the fifteenth year to the thirtieth, between the puer and the iuvenis.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.