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Saint Joan of Arc

AKA: Jean D'arc
Jeanne d'Arc
Jehanne Darc
Maid of Orleans

Born: c. January 6 1412; Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France

Died: May 30, 1431; Rouen, Normandy (then under English rule)
Burned Alive

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion

Beatified: April 18, 1909 by Pope Pius X

Canonized: May 16, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Feast Day: May 30

Patronages:  Captives
France
Imprisoned People
Martyrs
Opposition of Church Authorities
People Ridiculed for their Piety
Prisoners
Rape Victims
Soldiers
Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service
Women's Army Corps
Place: France

Representation: Bareheaded girl in armor with sword
lance and/or banner

On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine.  At a very early age she heard voice: those of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret. 

At the first messages were personal and general.  Then at least came the crowning order.  In May 1428, her voices told Joan to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom.  For at that time the English King was after the throne of France, and the Duke of Burgundy (the chief rival of the French King) was siding with him and gobbling up even more French territory.

After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the 17 year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the siege of Orleans on May 8, 1429.  She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.

In May 1430, as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundinans and sold to the English when Charles and the French did nothing to save her.  After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would help him to become Archbishop.

Through her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was trapped into making a few damaging statements.  When she refused to retract the assertion that it was the Saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adultress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.  She was 19 years old.  Some 30 years later she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, making official what the people had known for centuries.

Prayer:  Lord, You wondrously raised up Saint Joan, Your Virgin, to defend the faith and her country.  Through her intercession grant that the Church may overcome the snares of her enemies and enjoy unbroken peace.  Amen.

 


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