When we think of saints we usually think of unusual people—popes, bishops, missionaries, miracle workers, Carmelite nuns, even the occasional king or queen. And so we get the idea that sanctity is only for "special" people.
People who are not like us.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Saints are just people. They're people who, just like us, were called by God to be His friends, to be faithful every day to the little details of life, to choose the better thing when a choice was offered—and, ultimately, to be with God in heaven, enjoying his presence forever.
This is not to say that a lot of the saints we celebrate throughout the year were not extraordinary people. They were. Born in extraordinary circumstances, given extraordinary talents or extraordinary graces.
And to a certain extent that's why they're canonized. Because of the situation of their lives, their sanctity was noticed, and the Church took the trouble to determine whether they were definitely in heaven, thereafter celebrating them in a special way. But while their extraordinary gifts or circumstances are part of how they came to be canonized, these things are not why they became saints.
They became saints for the same reason that you will be a saint . . . if you become one. Because they took their circumstances as the will of God and lived their lives for Him. Because they chose God above all things, over and over and over again.
St Louis IX isn't a saint because he was a king. He became a saint because he found himself King of France and lived that role as well as he could. Because he chose God's will over every other consideration every day.
St Therese isn't a saint because she was a Carmelite in nineteenth century France. She became a saint because she generously decided to follow the vocation she was called to, and then lived that vocation faithfully every day.
The Church loves to celebrate Her extraordinary saints because their beautiful lives inspire us and give glory to God. But once a year she reminds us that there are uncounted other men, women, and children who were friends of God in more ordinary ways and who also intercede for us in Heaven. The feast of All Saints reminds us that we, too, are called to love God above all things, whatever our life's circumstances.
It's also helpful to remember that the saints—even the extraordinary, canonized ones—weren't born that way. Remembering them as real people, not just statues or holy pictures helps.
St. Camillus de Lellis was a dissolute soldier with a gambling addiction and major anger-management problems before he answered God's call. (A Soldier Surrenders by Susan Peek)
St. Dymphna was a young princess in a pagan court. (The King's Prey by Susan Peek)
St. Margaret of Castello was a blind cripple born to abusive parents. If anyone had the cards stacked against them becoming a saint, it was her. (Child, Unwanted by Corinna Turner)
St. Cloud could hardly have been born into a more dysfunctional family. (Saint Cloud of Gaul: The Prince Who Traded Kingdoms by Susan Peek)
Bl. Carlo Acutis was an ordinary modern teen. He wore sneakers and had a computer. (The Boy Who Knew: Carlo Acutis by Corinna Turner)
St. Wenceslaus was a prince in a war-torn kingdom. He had to fight for both his kingdom and his Faith. (Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones)
These stories about real saints remind us that saints had to struggle just like we do, and sometimes against even bigger obstacles. Fictional characters can also provide an example of choosing God. Pick up pretty much any novel from Catholic Teen Books, and you'll find characters who are aiming for holiness by trying to do the right thing.