Two minute read. Written by a grade 9 student
On the 13th of October Indian nun Mariam Thresia was made a saint by Pope Francis at a grand ceremony at the Vatican City.
Who is a saint and how do people become saints?
The process for becoming a saint is a lengthy one. It’s actually called canonization (that is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint)
Saints, to put it simply, are people who, the Vatican believes, are in heaven with God. But, it’s not that simple (because there may be other people in heaven too, who have not been declared saints). The Catholic Church has a formal process to determine who is a saint. First, that person’s life is thoroughly investigated. If the person is found to be good enough in terms of virtues (have the right qualities and has served people etc) then this person is called a servant of God. To become a saint, however, this person needs to have performed two miracles after death (more about miracles in a bit).
The way it works is, that a body called – The Congregation for the Causes of Saint (which basically looks into the process of sainthood), first prepares the case – meaning it finds out in depth about the person. It looks into and approves the miracles performed by this person. Having performed miracles in a key part of attainting sainthood (they literally go through hundreds or even thousands of miraculous claims!). Once they are convinced that the concerned person has indeed performed two miracles, they then recommend him or her to the Pope, who makes the final decision.
So, what are miracles?
A miracle is defined as – an extraordinary event that cannot be explained by science or any natural laws. Basically it’s something that could have happened because of an act of God. For example, Pope John Paul II was declared a saint after he was found to have performed a (second) miracle – he cured a French nun of Parkinson’s disease. The point to note is that there has to be absolutely no medical explanation for a miracle (so if the doctors, for example, have given a sick person a 10 percent chance of living with the medicine being taken, this person cannot be seen as been healed by the saint).
What did Nun Mariam Thresia Do?
Mariam Thresia founded the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Thrissur in May 1914. She lived an extraordinary life where she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted lonely people. She is also said to have had magical healing powers and also had an aura of light.
Sister Thresia died on June 8, 1926, at the age of 50 and was declared blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on April 9, 2000. Now she has been declared a saint. Her canonization ceremony took place at the Vatican City on October 13th.
Words and Places to know:
Canonization: An act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint.
Vatican City: A city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church