The Catholic Church requires that a saint of either gender has been dead for five years and must have lived a life of heroic virtues and performed at least two miracles. The heroic virtues of a saint include prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice, also referred to as the cardinal virtues.
Both male and female saints are considered to be exemplars of the four heroic virtues. Temperance is the virtue of subjugating one's own desires to the will of God, while fortitude involves the ability to endure great challenges in the name of faith. Prudence is often defined as using right reason in one's dealing with the world, or the ability to apply one's knowledge effectively in service of God. Finally, justice is defined as the possession of a Christian moral sense that is acted upon in the world.
When a person is proposed for sainthood, a bishop of the Church performs an initial investigation to determine if there are any circumstances that disqualify the person from sainthood. If there is no evidence of such an issue, the next step involves collection of proof that the proposed saint did in fact live a life of heroic virtue. If this requirement is satisfied, proof of two miracles is sufficient to elevate the candidate to sainthood.