What is a Saint?
In the Catholic Church, the saints are ordinary people like you and me who made it to heaven. They’ve done nothing that you and I cannot do, if we persevere in following Jesus Christ and living our lives according to His teaching.
Catholic devotion to the saints is nothing more than respect and admiration for the memory of the deceased heroes of the Church. We honor them as men and women of heroic virtue who can serve as our role models. They were no more perfect than are we; but, at the end of their lives – and hopefully, ours – they received from Our Lord his words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We also ask the saints to intercede for us. Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you when you were having a hard time? That is how Catholics “pray to” the saints – we pray with saints, not to them. As James says, “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”
Well-known saints like those below often are remembered in a special way on particular days during the year.
Saint of the Week
St. Stanislaus of Cracow
Stanislaus was born of Polish nobility near the city of Cracow. After the death of his parents, he distributed his inheritance to the poor and was ordained as a priest. He was elected bishop of Cracow in 1072 and the example of his devout life and his preaching led to the conversion of many of his penitents. He was a vociferous critic of sinful living, criticizing peasants and royalty equally. He confronted King Boleslaus the Cruel over his seizure of church lands, his unjust wars and his immoral living. Although Boleslaus initially repented, his backsliding brought intense criticism from Stanislaus, despite charges of treason and numerous death threats. When Stanislaus finally excommunicated him, an enraged Boleslaus murdered him with his own hands at the altar as he said mass.
With John the Baptist, Thomas More, Thomas Becket, and Oscar Romero in their own times, Stanislaus showed the prophetic courage required to stand against the excesses of those in power.