The following information came from page 36 of the Sept. 22, 1997, issue of Newsweek. “Requiem for a Saint” was written by Kenneth L. Woodward with Tony Clifton, Sudip Mazumdar and Vibhuti Patel.

Informal phase

A local group promotes devotion to the deceased.

Investigative phase

The local bishop appoints officials to collect writings by and about the candidate. They hold tribunals in which witnesses for and against the “cause” give testimony. The Vatican checks its archives for anything that would prevent the cause from proceeding.

Evaluation and judgment phase

Local bishops send testimony and other material to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. A relator who oversees the writing of a biography is appointed. Eight theologians and the promoter of the faith judge the cause. If it’s approved, cardinals and bishops of the congregation vote. If the pope approves, the candidate is declared “Venerable.”

The miracle process

A candidate must have a miracle credited to his or her intercession. Only miracles that occur after the candidate’s death count. The evidence is judged by medical experts and then judged by a panel of theologians.


Once the miracle process is approved by the cardinals and the pope, the pope beatifies the candidate.


Before a candidate can be canonized, one more miracle is required. That miracle must have occurred after the beatification. Then the pope canonizes the saint.