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Antonio Sicari: Lay sanctity is holiness in work place and in every aspect of life


In recent decades, the Church has started processes of beatification of lay people who are not martyrs, they instead proved their faith throughout their everyday lives. They are part of what Pope Francis calls "the saints next door." 

Among them are mothers, students, engineers, and politicians.  

Carmelite Fr. Antonio Maria Sicari is familiar with many of their stories. In the past 30 years, he has written 155 biographies of saints or people in the process of beatification. 

FR. ANTONIO SICARI
Writer
"We need to get out of this mentality of 'holiness' as only for priests and nuns." “I'll give you three examples. First there is Dr. Giuseppe Moscati. Then there is also Jérôme Lejeune, a scientist who lived out his holiness through his profession. If you read his children's letter, they say: Our father loved us and gave himself fully to his profession, without taking anything away from us.' The third example is Giancarlo Rastelli. He was a cardiologist who won several awards and medals for developing treatments for heart conditions. He said 'Sanctity for those who are ill is called science.'”

Antonio Sicari says these are examples of "lay" or "professional" holiness. However, he explains that simply being good at their jobs does not make them saints. 

FR. ANTONIO SICARI
Writer
"The fact is, you cannot say someone is holy because they care about their career. They have to take care of everything in their lives. Life is life, holiness is holiness of life, and holiness of the whole person."

In 2015, the pope canonized the couple, Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin. He was a watchmaker and she was a home-maker. They were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. The Church has officially recognized the couple's liturgical feast on their wedding anniversary. 

Another example is Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, a chemistry teacher who combined her work with a generous apostolate. For example, she pioneered Opus Dei's work in Mexico and promoted social service initiatives. 

She is an example of celibacy in lay life. She was not a consecrated woman, but she renounced marriage in order to devote her heart fully to God and to others. 

FR. ANTONIO SICARI
Writer
“It's as if Jesus said to us,'Given that you have to do my part, don't do it in a half-hearted way. Can I call upon you to do it always, everywhere, in every way, with everyone?' “It is about, above all, loving everything and everyone because they are of God. He has entrusted me with them, for His personal reasons, and for the time He says.”

The Second Vatican Council remarked the goal of every Catholic is to live out the faith as a saint. Likewise, everyone has the responsibility to live out Christian virtues as heroes. 

For this reason, in recent decades, popes have canonized or beatified lay people who, either in marriage or celibacy, have lived out their faith while dealing with everyday life circumstances.