One of the things about becoming a saint is that there is some planning involved besides just living a life of heroic sanctity. For one planning the day you die. You really want to pick a day on the calendar where you will not be eclipsed by a more famous saint. If you are down to your last breath check the liturgical calendar and if it’s a famous saint’s feast day try to hold off till the next day. If you plan to be a martyr you might have less flexibility about this, though the benefit is that the investigation into your cause will go much faster.
Plus I think you really want to figure out what you are going to be the patron saint of ahead of time. Otherwise you might get one of those ironic patronages the Church seems to love so much. Pick wisely because you will be doing it for eternity or else you might get put in charge of the lost and found like St. Anthony.
Also I think you want to make it easy for the investigation into your cause. The less writing you do the better for those poor souls who have to read everything you wrote. For example don’t ever start a blog, believe me the investigators will thank you if you don’t. If you use Foursquare, just check-in to churches and retreat houses. If you use Facebook and somebody pokes you, never poke them back so as to turn the other cheek. It might also be helpful to maintain a list of everybody who knows you to make it easier for the investigators in their interviews. Remember the investigation into the cause of your sainthood can be long and drawn-out so the easier you make it for them the faster you are raised to the altar.
It is very important to remember to stay in good terms with your diocese and especially your bishop since he begins you investigation process. In fact a promoter group (‘Actor Causae’): diocese, parish, religious congregation, association, asks the bishop through the postulator for the opening of your investigation. So to be proactive get your friends and others together to form such a group while you are still alive and this will get things rolling much faster when you die. Set up your cult (in the Catholic sense) ahead of time and you won’t be sorry.
It is also a good idea to tag your personal possessions. This way it will be much easier to catalog your 2nd and 3rd degree relics. Don’t worry about 1st degree relics since they pretty much have that figured out.
There is also concern relating to incorruptibility. Now you probably won’t be be one of the uncorruptables, but if you are here on some tips. Remember you could be on display for hundreds and hundreds of years so any facial plastic surgery you are considering you might want to get it done sooner than later. Plus you just have to let some things go. For example no matter what you are wearing when you die it is going to go out of fashion. Though later on your clothes will probably come back in fashion just as long as you aren’t buried in a leisure suit.
This is a really important tip. Make sure you provide lots of photos of yourself smiling. Those iconographers always want to make you look so dour and we want to take St. Teresa of Avila’s advice about dour-faced saints. It couldn’t hurt to get with a good iconographer ahead of time to make sure they get it right.
Now you can’t plan everything ahead of time. For example you kind of have to wait till you die to get with God about the two miracles you are going to perform via intercession to him. Stay on good terms with God and this should go off without a hitch.
So as Patrick Coffin says “Be a saint, what else is there?” and plan ahead.
Update: In a later post I consider steps on planning to become a Doctor of the Church.