Catholic Dictionary

Term

SAINTS

Definition

A name given in the New Testament to Christians generally (Colossians 1:2) but early restricted to persons who were eminent for holiness. In the strict sense saints are those who distinguish themselves by heroic virtue during life and whom the Church honors as saints either by her ordinary universal teaching authority or by a solemn definition called canonization. The Church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the persons are now in heavenly glory, that they may be publicly invoked everywhere, and that their virtues during life or martyr's death are a witness and example to the Christian faithful. (Etym. Latin sanctus, holy, sacred.)