Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Jan 2011
It's a long road to beatification and canonization since there must be hard proof that one has lived a holy life and can be a hero to all Catholics. The first step to start the lengthy process, is in the hands of those who know the potential saint best.
Cardinal José Saraiva Martins
Prefect Emeritus, Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The main people in a process of beatification and canonization are not the bishops or the Church, but the faithful. The first step is done by the faithful when they say to the bishop: 'this, for us, is truly a saint.'"
When the faithful ask a bishop that a person should be beatified, the bishop names a commission to prove that ones reputation of holiness is true.
This is where the collection of documents that prove, with facts, the sanctity of the individual, begins. It's called the diocesan phase. Once obtained, the documents are sent to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The second stage begins at the Vatican. Historians and theologians work together to reconstruct the persons biography exactly, including their spirituality and signs of heroism.