The Catholic Church doesn't "make" someone a saint the way a studio makes someone a movie star. If a person lives a life of heroic virtue, and miracles are attributed to that person, and they have passed away, they are eligible for the process of being declared a saint. The stages before sainthood are "Servant of God", "Venerable", "Blessed" and finally, with the consent of the pope, "Saint".
So what does all of that mean? It means that at the time of their elevation to sainthood, the Catholic Church agreed that the deceased were spiritually upright, did good things in the world and performed a miracle. It means that at that time, the saint in question was the sort of person the Catholic Church felt the world needed as a model for its behavior. It means the saint embodied the best of humanity, in that age.
Every saint is in some way a commentary on the society they lived in. Saints' deaths are often terrible, and symbolic of the sacrifices they made in life. Saints are still people, and like all people, they have their flaws, their sins and their private conflicts. How well do you know your Catholic saints? Find out, with this quiz.
How much do you know about how car engines work? And how much do you know about how the English language works? And what about how guns work? How much do you know? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks is about more than providing great answers about how the world works. We are also here to bring joy to your day with fun quizzes, compelling photography and fascinating listicles. Some of our content is about how stuff works. Some is about how much you know about how stuff works. And some is just for fun! Because, well, did you know that having fun is an important part of how your brain works? Well, it is! So keep reading!