May 3, 2011
What are Accepted Miracles for Sainthood?
Given the recent beatification of Pope John Paul II, it seems timely to talk about the Catholic Church’s thoughts on “accepted miracles” regarding beatification and sainthood. The miracle ascribed to the late Pope is the sudden cure of a French nun’s neurological disorder after she prayed to his memory. Miracles ascribed to saints and blessed individuals have varied significantly over the ages. Most traditional miracles tend to involve unexpected, immediate and totally complete healing that cannot be explained by modern science – such as in the case of the French nun. There are other miracles that are accepted, but far less common. This includes incorruptibility, odor of sanctity, signs of stigmata, bilocation and levitation.
Incorruptibility – This refers to cases where, despite a complete lack of embalming or preservation, the body does not decay following death.
The odor of sanctity – Following death a sweet smell of roses exudes from the body. Again, only non-embalmed bodied qualify.
Signs of stigmata – One or more of the five wounds resembling those that Christ suffered during the crucifixion are visible on a person while they are alive.
Bilocation – While alive, the person is proved to be in two places at once.
Levitation - Cases where there is evidence that a person is able to suspend in the air, defying the laws of gravity.
References: Saints for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti