A Guide To Catholic Saints

Saints may be those who have lived lives of extraordinary or heroic virtue or martyrs, those who have been killed for professing the faith. Saints are classified in one of nine categories: virgins, apostles, martyrs, confessors, prophets, patriarchs, penitents, the chaste, and the married. A saint’s feast day is celebrated on the date of their death.

  • Alphabetical List of Saints: Alphabetical lists of Saints, Blesseds, and Angels.
  • Saints’ Lives: Links to full text versions of the lives of various apostolic era saints, martyrs, patristic era saints, and medieval saints.
  • Writings of the Saints: Links to writings of various saints and Church fathers. Also includes links to information on incorruptible saints, specific saints, the Dominican Martyrology, and American Saints.
  • Frequently Asked Questions on Saints: FAQs on saints and canonization. Site includes information on the “Saint of the Day” and lists saints by name and date. Also includes information on patron saints.
  • Saints by Date: Saints listed by date of canonization. Includes text of the proclamation of sainthood.
  • Saints and Angels: Information on saints and angels. Lists of popular saints, female saints, and patron saints.

A martryology is a list of saints, blesseds, and martyrs arranged by feast day. The Roman martyrology is the official calendar of saints recognized and venerated by the Roman Catholic Church. The most recent Roman Martyrology was published in December 2004 but is updated as new saints and blesseds are proclaimed. The martyrology recognizes 10-20 saints per day and includes some biographical information that can be read or sung as part of the Liturgy of the Hours or during the Mass. The Roman Calendar includes those saints whose cult is celebrated by the entire church. Individual countries, religious orders, or regions may include local saints in their own calendars. All saints recognized by the Church are included in the Roman Martyrology.

  • Roman Martyrology: English translation of the Roman Martyrology as a searchable database.
  • Martyrology: Historical background on martyrologies and on the Roman Martyrology.
  • Roman Calendar: Includes a clickable calendar with texts on the saints remembered on each day.
  • Hagiography: Links to hagiographical societies and their publications. Also includes links to information on medieval saints, pilgrim saints, and art featuring saints.

The Catholic Church teaches that saints are venerated, or shown honor and respect (in Latin, “dulia”). This is distinct from the worship given to God (in Latin, “latria”). Not all cults are officially recognized. Popular devotion may be shown locally to a deceased holy person with or without the approval of the local bishop but not be recognized by the Vatican. Early saints were “canonized” in this way. The local congregation recognized their holiness and began venerating them as saints after their death and the cult was then accepted by the local bishop. Often these local cults centered on the veneration of the saint’s relics, usually the bones or special objects associated with the saint. Occasionally the saint was brought to the attention of Rome and was officially canonized. The centralization of the canonization process began under Pope Urban II in 1089 and in 1107 Pope Alexander III decreed that only the Supreme Pontiff could declare a person a saint. Pope Gregory IX incorporated this decree into Church law in 1234. Popular cults not officially recognized by the Pope provide a reasonable certainty that the person in question is in heaven. The declaration of a saint by the Pope is held to be an exercise of papal infallibility, which protects the Church from recognizing unworthy candidates as saints and provides assurance that the saint is in heaven.

  • Why and How a Person Becomes a Saint: Canonization process and role of saints in the Church.
  • Congregation for the Causes of the Saints: Brief explanation of what the Congregation is.
  • Saints: Information on the saints, list of saints, and lives of saints.
  • Saint of the Day: Link on the left gives name and information about the saint whose feast day is celebrated each day.
  • Saint Profiles: Profiles on saints designed for families. Broken down into profiles suitable for young children, older children, and teenagers and adults.
  • Relics: What they are, why they are venerated. Specific information on the relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. 
  • Veneration of Relics: Types of relics, why Catholics venerate relics. Specific information included on the relics of Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus.

Canonization is the process by which a holy person is declared a saint. A prospective saint’s cause for canonization may be opened five years after the person’s death. A postulator collects information on the person, including their correspondence and interviews with friends, family, and associates. After concluding that the person did lead a life of heroic virtue, the person is given the title “Venerable” or “Servant of God”. The faithful can then ask the intercession of the Servant of God. If a miracle occurs through the intercession of the person, it is investigated and verified by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. If the miracle is genuine, the Pope beatifies the Servant of God and he is then called “Blessed”. Blesseds are included in the Roman Martyrology and their feast day may be celebrated by their local church or their religious order. A second verified miracle is necessary for canonization, when the person becomes a saint.

  • Historical Overview of Canonization Process: How saints were canonized in the Early Church, how the canonization process was centralized, and what the process is like today. Gives specific information on the cause of Padre Pio.
  • Canonization: Includes detailed information on the canonization process and news of new beatifications, canonizations, and the opening of new causes for canonization.

Patron saints are saints who, through tradition, custom, or by declarations of the Church, are considered special protectors of certain occupations, types of people, or places, usually because of a particular attribute or biographical detail. Saints are invoked against illnesses or conditions. For example, St. Blaise is invoked against diseases of the throat because he saved a child from choking to death on a fish bone. Saints are also the patrons of occupations or types of people. For example, St. Vincent Ferrer is the patron of plumbers and St. Joseph is the patron saint of married couples. Saints can also be the patron of a church, a city, a diocese or archdiocese, a country, or a continent.

  • Patron Saints: Lists of patron saints organized by region, topic, state in life, occupation and activity, and special gifts.
  • U.S. Saints and Saints-to-be: Biographical information on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Neumann, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Venerable Pierre Touissant, and Padre Felix Verela.
  • Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman: Popular English saint, includes biography and information on the process of canonization.
  • St. Jude: The patron of desperate cases.
  • Saint Patrick: Information on his life. Includes a video about his life and his relevance today.
  • Holy Men and Women: Includes links to information on types of saints and individual saints.
  • St. Jerome: Biography of the Saint who compiled the Latin Vulgate Bible.
  • St. Anthony of Padua: The life and miracles of the patron saint of lost things.
  • St. James: Life of St. James (Santiago), images, and links to his hagiography. 
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Full text of her autobiography, The Story of a Soul .
  • Life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Her life and writings. Also information on her parents, Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin. 
  • St. Francis of Assisi: Biographical information and links to sites about St. Francis and his biographies.
  • St. Dominic: Links to online books about the life and teachings of the founder of the Order of Preachers.