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Sainthood, Saint Cuthbert and Saint Maria Goretti

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A saint is said to be someone who has achieved a degree of extraordinary behaviour, or closeness to God, saints were also called hallows during the ancient time. The history of saints goes down back to the year after Jesus was born. Catholics believe only God can make a saint in the sense that he performs miracles through them.

The first set of people to be canonised as saints were the martyrs who were killed during the Roman war after Jesus Christ was born. During that period, there were no rules guiding the Catholic Church so any martyr who was killed was immediately proclaimed a saint. Centuries passed and the catholic church decided to pass laws guiding sainthood so they made it a rule that anybody, who died ford their faith and lived a life worthy of emulation was to be declared a saint, the catholic church was never strict with any law they passed especially the laws guiding the canonization of saints so therefore more martyrs were killed because of their faith and the number of saints began to increase between the sixth and seventh centuries. Bishops from all over the world decided to start proclaiming saints, the number of saints increased to thousands so, pope Alexander got angry with the amount of people being canonised especially the people who did not deserve it. He made this decision when he got the News that someone who was fighting for alcohol was killed and canonised as a saint, pope alexander said he was not worth to become a saint because he did not live a life worth emulating so he passed the law that only popes could canonize saints. After much deliberation by the catholic church, they formalized the laws of the church especially the laws guiding saints, they made it known that a Non-martyr who had died but lived and extraordinary life would have to perform different miracles especially healings, before canonizing one as a saint. In present times the doctors, had to confirm that the healing took place without their assistance or help of any medication, most times the healings can even be explained by science.

There are various process one must follow to become a saint, there is beatification and later canonisation, but before that the bishop from the area of the saint would first investigate on the person, to know the life of the person if it is a life worth emulating and also find out from people if they have witnessed any miraculous deed from the person and finally if the books written or told about the person are true. After his investigations, he then sends his findings to the Vatican City where it would either be rejected or accepted. The Vatican City would also furthermore carry out their investigation. To see if everything said about that person is true. If their investigations are positive and true they now go ahead to name the person servant of God.

The moment one is declared a servant of God, it does not mean that the person is in heaven but that, the person’s life on earth was pure and the person is worth emulating. If the Vatican City is convinced about the life style of the person then they call him venerable. Once someone is declared or called blessed it means that that person has indeed performed a miracle which is certain that the person is in heaven. The miracle performed by the person must be unexplainable and later the pope confirms this miracle.

Finally, before one is declared a saint, he must perform other miracles also and must also be confirmed that it cannot be explained before one is finally called a saint.

St. Cuthbert, life was written by bede, Cuthbert was born into a noble family in the mid 630s, he was born in the North east of England in Dunbar in current day east Lothian. During that period, there was a political clash in the kingdom which resulted to the spread of pagan rule, although Cuthbert through his whole life followed the Christianity of his kingdom. There was war between the Romans and Irish but it did not the Irish monks from building monasteries in the kingdom. During that period, the Romans reformed the city of Dunbar and even though Cuthbert was educated in a Celtic way, he had no choice but to be reformed in the roman way. Cuthbert began to perform miracles at an early stage in his life but, according to the catholic doctrine, it was yet to be confirmed because he was still alive. The king of Deira, in the 6th century noticed the piety and obedience in Cuthbert and also found his life worth emulating, so he built a monastery in Ripon and made Cuthbert guest master where he assisted Eata in administering in the monastery. Eata later died and Cuthbert took over the activities of the monastery, he thought monks the doctrine, preached to them, went on journeys to different cities and most especially performed remarkable miracles. Cuthbert was known for his miraculous works and his generosity to the poor so he was nicknamed “wonder worker of Britain”. He continued his miraculous work and later retired in 676 to an island which is presently known as Cuthbert cave, he decided to live a life of great austerity were no one could see him but he never stopped blessing people from his window. He later died on the 20th of March 687AD.

After the death of Cuthbert, many miracles happened in his name especially with animals and nature. Some of his miracles were that he cured the monk Walstod from diarrhoea; the sea provided him with materials especially timber for his toilet. In modern day, if Cuthbert was to be canonised he would be a modern-day saint because his body was not corrupted meaning it did not decay which proved that he is worthy to be a saint and also the miracles he performed.

Saint Maria Gorretti is one of the youngest saints in the history of the Catholic Church, she was a virgin until her death, she was born into a poor family in Italy where they had to work on other people’s planation to feed theirselves. They shared houses with Giovanni and his son Alexandro he used a lustful eye to see Maria. Her father died of malaria and her mother was left alone to fend for her 5 children.

Maria was brought up with the fear of God in her so she always prayed and obeyed her mother. In July 1902 she was stabbed 14 times after refusing Alexandro’s request to sleep with her insisting it was a mortal sin. On her dying bed and last hour Maria insisted that she had forgiven Alexandro and that she wishes for him to be with her in paradise. She was beatified by pope pious XII and three years later on the 24th of June, he canonized her a saint. After her death she performed so many miracles especially the healing of the woman who had cancer. Maria Gorretti is a modern-day saint because she was canonised in the modern day, the miracles she performed and most especially her body has not decayed till date.

Both saints performed miracles which people have testified to especially the church, both saint Maria Gorretti and saint Cuthbert are saints which the catholic church recognises till date. There are certain differences seen in both Cuthbert and Maria such as their origin, their life meaning that Cuthbert was a priest while Maria was still a child. Cuthbert lived to achieved so many things but Maria was not given the opportunity to, although they had different characteristics, they both had similar attributes, which was that miracles were performed in their names, their bodies till today have not been corrupted. In conclusion there is only one way in deciding who will become a saint which is either, the miracles they perform or that their body still remains intact even after many years of being buried. The reason to this is because that is the only significant and physical way to prove one is a saint. If this being the only criteria, then both saints would have passed to become a saint especially Cuthbert because he performed more miracles than Maria Gorretti while were both alive, and also because their body still remains intact or has not been corrupted in the place they are being buried. Also, both saints would have passed the criteria both in modern and ancient not minding the laws that were being passed during that period about the canonisation of saints.

In my opinion, I feel the church should not return to the original definition of sainthood because during that time, anybody could become a saint not minding the life the person lived and also not understanding what it means to become a saint, so anybody with a life not worth emulating could become a saint. But in present time, processes are being carried out before one becomes a saint which is very more organised in today’s world.

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Sainthood, Saint Cuthbert and Saint Maria Goretti. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from
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