On November 1st, the Church celebrates the feast of All Saints known and unknown. We can be certain that besides the saints canonized by the Church there can be many more whom are not in the canon of the Church. They too deserve honor and gratitude.
God grants us a random sample of holy people who now share the fullness of the kingdom of God. They are people who lived among us and have led most exemplary lives while on earth. Through the process of beatification and canonization, they are presented to the living members of the Church as examples and models of Christian growth. This practice of imitation of saints stems from the earliest centuries of the Church. The intercession of the saints is also a means of growth in faith. As we are called to holiness awaiting our entry into heaven, we follow their example of growing in holiness. From time to time God provides us with models of holy lives through the Church.
Two weeks ago (October 18th, 2015) the Holy Father Pope Francis canonized four holy people. A married couple - parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux – Louis Martin (1823-1894) and his wife Marie Zelie Guerin Martin (1831-1877); a Spanish religious woman, Sister Maria of the Immaculate Conception (1926-1998), and an Italian priest, Vincenzo Grossi.
It is the first time a married couple has been canonized together. Louis Martin and Marie Zelie had nine children; four died in infancy and five entered the religious life. With all the family demands, what did they do to attain holiness? What we know is that they lived a normal Catholic life; attended daily Mass, had family prayer, fasted whenever they could, respected the Sabbath, visited the elderly and sick, and welcomed the poor into their home.
There are many more awaiting sainthood. The Church is very cautious in declaring anyone a saint. After careful study and examination of the heroic virtues a person lived, and people have received favor for their prayers through the intercession of the holy person; the Church considers canonizing the person.
We have many saints from all walks of life; young, old, men, women, children, and professionals of all kinds. At present the relics of St. Maria Goretti is touring North America. Maria Goretti who lived (1890-1902) just 11 years, daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write, but knew to love God and the importance of the virtue of chastity. She knew death was better than sin, and she chose death when her assassin gave her that choice. She was canonized in 1950, with the largest crowd till then, 250,000, present in St. Peter’s Square to witness it. As her relics (mortal remains) tour the cities of America, large crowds continue to flock to her seeking her favors.
We believe in the communion of Saints. They are with us to help us and intercede for us.