November 1, 2023
"I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying: !! ALLELUIA!!! As the Apocalypse says, an immense crowd, myriads of myriads, the 144,000 redeemed of the earth, "come, great and small, praise your God"! But who are these "guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb", from the "camp of God", from the "beloved city"? And above all... how many are there?
For those of you who like numbers, the Catholic Church has a total of over 20,000 saints and blessed! Incredible, isn't it? It seems rather difficult to establish an exact count, is it lack of precsion or a mystery?
Of course, it's largely thanks to our beloved Holy Pope John Paul II that the list has grown by leaps and bounds! In his 25-year pontificate alone, he beatified 1341 blessed and canonized 483 saints, as if the third millennium were one of exponential growth!
For his part, Pope Francis "broke the record" by canonizing the 813 martyrs of Otranto, a small village in southern Italy, martyred by the Turks in 1480, on August 14, just like Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
This collective canonization makes Italy the country with the most canonized saints, closely followed by France and Spain. Let's just say they know how what makes a saint !
France has more than 170 saints and 150 blessed. Spain comes third with 112 saints and 67 blessed. Poland comes next, followed by Germany, England, the USA, etc.
The time elapsing between the date of the saints' death and that of their canonization is variable at best: from St. Clare of Assisi, who at her funeral was almost declared a saint by the Pope himself, an authority of a different stature to the Santo Subito of people of all ages, through the regular 5 years - 5 years shortened, however, for the canonization of St. John Paul II or St. Teresa of Calcutta - to St. Joan of Arc, whose canonization was delayed for almost 500 years... politics oblige.... And let's not forget Saint Hildegard, who was finally canonized "de facto" by virtue of the veneration of the faithful by Pope Benedict XVI, more than 600 years after her death, when she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, a kind of "equipollent" canonization as they're called...
“So, surrounded as we are by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us not let ourselves be robbed of the crown! Let's run with endurance the test that's set before us.” And let us be passionate about discovering their lives! May all the saints be for us like stars announcing the glorious coming of the one who makes us saints, "because I am HOLY"!