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Articles on Saints

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People pray in front of the tomb of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI inside the grottos of St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican, on Jan. 8, 2023. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Calls for Pope Benedict’s sainthood make canonizing popes seem like the norm – but it’s a long and politically fraught process

A specialist in Catholic liturgy and rituals explains that while several popes have been canonized, it is a long process that may take several years to examine and uncover any hidden flaws.
Bearers carry the relic and the statue in honor of St. Anthony of Padua during a procession in Rome, Italy. St. Anthony of Padua was proclaimed a doctor of the church in 1946. Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images Europe via Getty Images

Why are some Roman Catholic saints called doctors of the church?

Saints are recognized for exceptional virtue and faith. But some also are commemorated for their scholarship.
A sculpture of two saints meeting and embracing embodies the importance of touch in Renaissance culture as a form of devotion and ultimately a way to access the divine. (Renaissance Polychrome Sculpture in Tuscany database)

Belief in touch as salvation was stronger than fear of contagion in the Italian Renaissance

After a year of pandemic social distancing, we know touch is a much-desired privilege. In the Italian Renaissance, people longed to touch not only each other, but also religious sculptures.
Hindu devotees attend evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges River during the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar, India. Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears

Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage that started earlier this month in India, has survived wars and famine since its origin. But the biggest threat has been the spread of illness – back then as now.
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis during his beatification ceremony in Assisi, Italy. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Who are patron saints and why do Catholics venerate them?

Many saints are venerated for specific reasons, professions or even nations. There are saints who are believed to provide assistance in selling a property.
Josaphat sits Dreaming in a Landscape, from the Workshop of Diebold Lauber, c 1469. Getty Musuem

How the Buddha became a Christian saint

It was only in the 19th century the West became aware of Buddhism as a religion in its own right – but the Buddha had been a Christian saint for centuries.
Two manuscripts of the visionary, writer and composer St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) survived the Dresden bombings after a librarian stashed them in a bank vault. (Avraham Pisarek/Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia)

How two women pulled off a medieval manuscript heist in post-war Germany

Two precious manuscripts hidden in a bank vault survived the Allied bombing of Dresden, but one wound up in Soviet hands — until it was smuggled home.
Deaf worshippers sign a hymn while following sign language interpreter Diely Martinez at Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in New York City, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. AP Photo/Emily Leshner

Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are

Deaf Christians can often feel excluded in churches. But the Christian contemplative tradition that celebrates silence and considers it a form of prayer can bring a new understanding of faith.

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