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May 30

St Joan of Arc statue - May 30

Saint Joan of Arc

Laywoman, Mystic, Martyr

(Around 1412 – 1431)

“I entrust myself to God my Creator, I love him with my whole my heart.

Saint Joan of Arc

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life

Joan of Arc (her French name Jeanne d’Arc) was born on January 6, 1412, in Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France. Born to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romee, she was one of five children. Joan had three brothers named Jacquemin, Pierre, and Jean, and one sister, Catherine. As a child, she was a shepherdess. Her parents were well-off peasants, known to all as good Christians. From them, she received a sound religious upbringing, influenced by the spirituality of the Name of Jesus, taught by Saint Bernardine of Siena. Joan did not know how to read or write, but that did not stop her. 

Visions

From age 13, Joan received visions from Saint Margaret of Antioch, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Michael the Archangel urging her to free her country from the English. Joan’s compassion and dedication in the face of her people’s suffering were intensified by her mystical relationship with God. In 1428, at age 16, she requested to be taken to Chinon to talk Charles VII of France about her visions. 

Led an Army

Joan overcame opposition from churchmen and courtiers.  Convinced of her devotion and purity, Charles sent Joan on , who was about seventeen years old, to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. Carrying a banner that read “Jesus, Mary”, she led the troops into battle. Joan brought hope to the demoralized French army. Nine days after her arrival, the English abandoned the siege. Joan encouraged the French to aggressively pursue the English during the Loire Campaign, which culminated in another decisive victory at Patay. This vistory opened the way for the French army to advance on Reims unopposed, where Charles was crowned as the King of France with Joan at his side. During this time of victories, she was severely wounded. 

Captured

In early 1430, Joan organized a company of volunteers to relieve Compiègne, which had been besieged by the Burgundians—French allies of the English. She was captured by Burgundian troops on May 23, 1430. When she was captured by the Burgundians during the defense of Compiegne, she was sold to the English for 10 thousand francs. On December 23, 1430, she was led to the city of Rouen.

Her Trial

In Rouen, the long and dramatic trial began in February 1431. It was a great and solemn trial, at which two ecclesiastical judges presided, Bishop Pierre Cauchon and the Inquisitor Jean le Maistre.  These judges were theologians who lacked charity and the humility to see God’s action in this young woman. Even in trial, Joan lived prayer in the form of a continuous dialogue with the Lord.  Her dialogue with the judges was illuminated and gave her peace and security. She asked him with trust: “Sweetest God, in honour of your holy Passion, I ask you, if you love me, to show me how I must answer these men of the Church” (PCon, I, p. 252). Also, Joan had her beautiful affirmation: “We must serve God first” (PCon, I, p. 288; cf. Catechismo della Chiesa Cattolica, n. 223). She declared with total surrendur and trust: “I entrust myself to God my Creator, I love him with my whole my heart” (PCon, I, p. 337). She also stated at her trial: “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.” 

Her Martyrdom

Although she astounded her judges by her answers, she was condemned to death as a heretic. Joan was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431 in Rouen, France. In 1456, her case was re-tried, and Joan was acquitted (23 years too late). Saint Joan of Arc had a profound influence on a young Saint of the modern age: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In the context of a completely different life, spent in the cloister, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux felt very close to Joan, participating in Christ’s suffering for the world’s salvation. The Church has brought them together as Patronesses of France, after the Virgin Mary.

Born:                    January 6, 1412, in Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France

Died:                    May 30, 1431 in Rouen, France

Beatified:            April 18, 1909 by Pope Pius X

Canonized:         May 16, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Feast Day:          May 30

Patron Saint:    France; Imprisoned People; Military; Prisoners; Rape Victims; Soldiers; Women Army Corp (WACs); Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES)

Source:

Reflection

While there have been other young women saints, none of these saints, as a teenager, were asked to led an army into battle like Saint Joan of Arc. The peculiar way in which God used her, reminds us that God calls us to a myriad of causes and lifestyles, each of which is important in God’s eyes. Saint Joan of Arc had a high standard of Christian living making prayer the guiding motive of her days. Further, her incredible courage and trust in God are a model to which we should all strive. 

In what ways does God communicate with you? Do you listen to his voice as Saint Joan of Arc listened to him and not limit what God may be asking you to do?

Prayers

God took a young girl like Saint Joan of Arc, who had not ridden a horse or carried a weapon before, and strengthened her to listen to his plans for her to go into battle. May God, take us with all of our frailities, and give us the strength to do great things in the name of the Lord. Saint Joan of Arc intercede for us so that like you, we may spend the right amount of time in prayer and then proceed into action for God’s works in whatever small or large ways we may be called.

Saint Joan of Arc, pray for me.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – The unlikely connection between Sts Therese and Joan of Arc

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Joan of Arc

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 30 May – St Joan of Arc (1412-1431)

Angelus – The quiet prayer life behind St. Joan of Arc’s bravery

A Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St. Joan of Arc

Catholic Culture – Peasant Girl to Battlefield Commander: St. Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years’ War by Christopher Check

Catholic Exchange – Joan of Arc: Model of Strength by Emma King

Catholic Fire – St. Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc)

Catholic Ireland – May 30 – St Joan of Arc (1412-31)

Catholic News Agency – Who was Joan of Arc?: Answers to your questions about this heroic saint

Catholic Online – St. Joan of Arc

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Joan of Arc

Franciscan Media – Saint Joan of Arc

Independent Catholic News – St Joan of Arc

Loyola Press – Saint Joan of Arc, 1412-1431 Feast day May 30

New Advent – Thurston, H. (1910). St. Joan of Arc. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Joan of Arc’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press -Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431)

Saint of the Day – May 30 Saint Joan of Arc

uCatholic – Saint Joan of Arc

Vatican – Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wikipedia – Elizabeth Ann Seton

Video Link