Saints or "Saints"?
Some old Bibles have numerous mention of "saints"; that word has its special significance.
Image courtesy
I recently saw TV docu-drama on France's Joan of Arc, who asserted God would give her military victory.  Wounded, captured, tried (lead by Bishop), repented, sentenced, (abused?), recanted, condemned  beyond "salvation", finally she was handed over in 1431, by "Mother Church", to the hated English, to be exposed, scorned and thoroughly burnt. Surely the victim of a toxic mix of church, politics and male angst. Almost 500 years later she was "cannonised", or, titled "Saint". (In this paragraph a few words look like Bible words but are clearly a long way from the NT use. One such word, which older Bibles included, was "saints".)

Some words have everyday use which is not necessarily connected to Bible use. If the adjective 'saintly' is used today it immediately adds ideas to whatever or whoever is being described. If someone is described as a 'saint', the effect is similar. Not really so in the New Testament (NT).

Consider the related verb. The use in Matthew 6:9, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (ESV) gives us pause. Is God's name not holy? Does God's name need to become holy? To ask the questions is to have the answer! Moreover, God's name CAN and SHOULD be known amongst humans to be holy. I like the alternatives given in the ESV footnote: Or, Let your name be kept holy, or, Let your name be treated with reverence. Just the same, what does it mean?

Could Jesus' words have been in Paul’s mind when he evoked the words of Isaiah 52: For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24 CEV)? The form of Paul's words apparently comes from the Septuagint (LXX). Alarmingly, that indictment surely potentially comes down today to me and all those who might be called by the old name, the ‘saints’. The prayer that God's name be holy is primarily to be fulfilled amongst God's own family!

Another occurrence of the verb is in Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (ESV; NRSV is similar). The NLT renders the verb as:  'He (God) has set apart for himself'. The old Wycliffe had "made holy".

The word 'saints' is common enough in old versions of the Bible. The meaning of the Bible text there is, however, different from our everyday, and so translators have a bit of a challenge to consider. Here is a NT example found in Acts 9:13 in the NRSV (which retains the older translation):
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man [ie, Saul/Paul], how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. We see Ananias using the term 'saints' to describe Jesus' Jerusalem followers, post Resurrection. This would be the first recorded example. Considerably later we read Paul routinely using the term in greetings. (Not that we necessarily have everything Paul wrote, nor even his first 'epistle'.)

The word 'saints' (hagios - ἅγιος) is a relatively frequent NT word. (For example, we are familiar with the expression, 'The Holy Spirit'.)  A different telling instance I find in Jesus' challenging directive from Matthew 7: “Do not give dogs what is holy” (ESV). In that context the word is clearly not translated as 'saints', nor as 'God's people'! But, nonetheless, the common ground is clear I think - what is given over to God as belonging to God alone.
Accordingly with the above comment, Paul often used the plural form of the word addressing all of those who are believers in each location or group, not merely a select, designated or recognised few. (The step taken by translation committees to overcome today's confusion in ideas is to render as 'God's people', or, as 'God's holy people' instead of 'saints'.) Some contemporary Bible translations in English do not even include the word ‘saint(s)’. Contrast the ESV, which has 82 occurrences, including 21 OT.

Here is a quote containing the word twice - but with different usage.
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you (2 Corinthians 12:12 NRSV). Who were these people described under the word primarily conveying holiness? It would seem odd to call them the 'holies', or, the 'sacreds'. Nor were they 'saintly', irreproachable individuals of perfected character! However, surely the word does imply an appropriate style of living and behaving. So also: But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints (Ephesians 5:3 NRSV). And an injunction from 1 Peter 3:15 (uses the verb) to remind readers of the inner work: but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you (NRSV - underline added).

Incidentally, the word(s) 'saints, etc, is(are) noticeably absent from Galatians. Does that support an earlier and primary date for the letter - say the year 48? Clearly (see table below) Paul made a lot of use of the word(s) in the other letters. Did it become routine over time to address the followers that way - perhaps after the Acts 15 Jerusalem 'council'? In time the word would be replaced but meantime, in a movement increasingly non-Jewish, it could easily include all disciples of Jesus.

So, in the primitive days of early followers of Jesus, 'saints' was a handy expression to encompass all of God's people in a particular area. The identification of 'God's people', or 'God's holy people', brings a challenge to think about. The title is not simply a 'brand' label but a call to exhibit the true likeness. The word is addressed or refers to collections of people and is thus consistently plural in form ("saints", not "saint").

Eventually 'saint' became effectively a fixed title, part of certain names and to be used in labels for suburbs, teams, or buildings! I think that later formal designation usage is not related to the above. I am confining my interest to the NT text, not the subsequent history.

As for Jeanne d'Arc
 - I am saddened that she suffered so at the hands of wicked men. I am sure there were "saints" to be found then, even males, but her tormentors could not have been amongst them.

In writing this I have researched NT uses of the word rendered 'saints' (grammatically an adjective) and the related words. I think the results are informative, so include below in tabulated form as an image. There is also an OT background to the use of 'saints' as a 'label' for some part of God's people. (So the references to the LXX.) A search using an old-style version (eg ESV) shows the OT instances.

Drawing on BibleGateway search (GNT of SBL) I think this table (below) is now a thorough listing of all NT uses of the word (adjective and verb) and related nouns. It includes uses as 'holy'. Synonyms not included. Also below is a copy of the relevant page from the Lexicon I used. This shows the range of meanings given to the words. (Abbott-Smith indicated his verb and noun lists are exhaustive.)

Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NRSV) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.