Making Sense of Saints

The inner workings of the canonization process

Rules, Relics and Rites

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, May 6, 2014 – With the recent canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, people worldwide saw the culmination of a lengthy process of proclaiming someone a “saint.” While most media covered the event, many people are still puzzled by the process, as well as the peripheral elements associated with saints such as relics, patronage, symbols, and more.

In a new primer on the procedure, Making Sense of Saints: Fascinating Facts about Relics, Patrons, Canonization, and More (Our Sunday Visitor, 2014), author Patricia Ann Kasten presents a thorough recap of the topic in a fresh, fun, and approachable way. It grapples with the broad question of what constitutes a saint, and shows why the entire communion of saints affects the faithful today, no matter when each was canonized.

What many people don’t realize is that saints are canonized because of the exemplary sanctity of their lives – which may be entirely separate from something they were widely known for, such as receiving apparitions, or producing great writings.

Making Sense of Saints encompasses the four steps to canonization, the “rules” for saints, saints’ symbols and their meaning, relics and why they are venerated, monastics and doctors of the church, the “communion of saints”, and more. Each chapter includes reflection questions to help Catholics grow closer to the saints, understand their intercessory role, and emulate their example.

For an interview with Patricia Kasten, please contact Christine Valentine-Owsik at: (215) 230-8095 or

About the author

Patricia Kasten is an award-winning Catholic journalist. She is author of Linking Your Beads: The Rosary’s History, Mystery, and Prayers (Our Sunday Visitor). Kasten is also the writer of popular weekly word search and crossword puzzles that appear in many newspapers and parish bulletins around the country.

About Our Sunday Visitor

The world’s largest English-language Catholic publisher, Our Sunday Visitor serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing, offertory, and communication services. Established in 1912, Our Sunday Visitor publishes a wide range of books including Bibles, biographies of the saints, books by Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, children’s books, devotionals, bible studies, inspirational works, and curriculum. Our Sunday Visitor is a not-for-profit organization, returning a portion of net earnings back to the Catholic community through the Our Sunday Visitor Institute. For more information, visit