steps to sainthood

OK, Mother Teresa was “beatified” today, which is one of the (I think) 3 steps to full Sainthood, AFAIK, the 2nd step. What is the 1st “step”?

And, what are the qualifications for each “step”?

Try this site How Stuff Works.

A local bishop investigates the candidate’s life and writings for evidence of heroic virtue. The information uncovered by the bishop is sent to the Vatican.
A panel of theologians and the cardinals of the Congregation for Cause of Saints evaluate the candidate’s life.
If the panel approves, the pope proclaims that the candidate is venerable, which means that the person is a role model of Catholic virtues.
The next step toward sainthood is beatification. Beatification allows a person to be honored by a particular group or region. In order to beatify a candidate, it must be shown that the person is responsible for a posthumous miracle. Martyrs, those who died for their religious cause, can be beatified without evidence of a miracle. On October 20th, 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified. She will now be known as Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata.
In order for the candidate to be considered a saint, there must be proof of a second posthumous miracle. If there is, the person is canonized.

Here is a short overview of the process. To answer your question, the first step is a local movement within a parish or diocese, and eventually, if there is enough evidence, the local ordinary (bishop) will petition Rome and a cause for sainthood officially opened. The next step is beatification (giving the title Blessed), which allows local veneration. Finally, canonization imparts the title Saint, and allows universal veneration by the Church.

It is me or does the word “beatified” bring to mind visions of a dark alley and a ball bat?

whuckfistle, my error. I left out the Venerable bit of the first step. That’s what I get for providing a quicky, off-the-top-of-my-head answer.

So what specifiically was the posthumous miracle that Mother Theresa was responsible for? Is this information available, or do they keep that secret?

The miracle was the healing of an abdominal tumor. Once again, though, there is some controversy, with allegations that Rome had already determined the answer of whether the miracle was valid or not prior to the completion of the diocesan inquiry. Here is an account from Dec. 2002.