“By baptism, all Christians are called to be saints. We are all to live our life in such a way that gives glory to God. Saints are people who are in heaven after living a life of charity and goodness. The Church recognizes some saints as such, but everyone’s life goal should be to strive for holiness.
We pray with saints, not to them, much like we ask our friends to pray on our behalf when we are in trouble or need. Scripture indicates the value of asking people to pray for us. Saint Paul ended his letter to the Thessalonians with a request for prayers (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
We can privately honor anyone who passed away whom we feel lived a holy life. From the beginning of Christianity the still-living honored and asked for intercession from exemplary deceased Christians. With the approval of the local bishop, the community declared those religious (already honored by the people) to be saints.
That practice changed at the end of the first millennium. From then on, public honor of an individual as a saint required the official approval of the Catholic Church. This certification, called canonization, required a very in-depth and lengthy process.
. . . The Church offers us saints as role models for holiness. Saints focused on all things God-like and served others before themselves. Mother Theodore said in order to become a saint we must be very submissive to the will of God. We must want only what God wants. She also said that we are obliged to suffer and to not make others suffer. ”
Excerpt from Seven Principles of Sainthood Following Saint Mother Theodore Guerin