Catholic Dictionary




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.)