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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Sisterhood of Saints: Joan of Arc

May 30, 2022
Painting of St. Joan of Arc looking at the sky
Until the bitter end this holy warrior was confident she had remained obedient to God.

The conflicts known as the Hundred Years’ War had been going on for 75 years by 1412. All told, it’s estimated that 3.5 million people died in the battles between Britain and France.

Surely, people wondered if peace would ever return. The Lord sent an unlikely leader: a slip of a French peasant girl named Joan who knew only the rudiments of prayer, and could not read nor write.

The voices—eventually, she would identify them as St. Michael, St. Margaret of Antioch, and St. Catherine of Alexandria—started when Joan was 13 or so, first telling her to be a good girl, then telling her to save France by coming to the aid of the dauphin. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the child who had been outgoing and cheerful became increasingly thoughtful and silence.

Finally, when Joan was 17, she was convincing enough in her insistence that she was allowed to lead an army into Orleans, which had been under siege by the English for seven months. The maid and her army emerged victorious. Her prediction to the dauphin that she would see him crowned King Charles VII came true less than three months later.

But then things changed. Charles didn’t seem interested in her assistance anymore, and 17 months later, Joan was an English prisoner. Almost overnight, Joan went from being lauded as a national hero to being shunned. No one came to her aid—not even Charles, and she was burned at the stake as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress. To the end, she was confident she had remained obedient to God and the voices.

The Hundred Years’ War dragged on for 22 years after Joan’s execution. Three years after that, she was retried before a papal court—and found innocent. She was not canonized until 1920.

 

Inspiration

“You have been with your counsel and I have been with mine. Believe me that the counsel of my Lord will be accomplished and will stand, and this counsel of yours will perish.” —St. Joan of Arc

Challenge

Pray for someone you have betrayed. Perhaps it’s a former friend or coworker; perhaps it’s someone with whom you volunteered. If it is possible to do so without causing still more pain for the other person, ask him or her for forgiveness.


Click here for more holy women!


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Comments

Tom Joyce
Mon, 05/30/2022 - 11:27 AM
Tom Joyce
I can think of no better Saint to recognize on the same day we Celebrate Memorial Day in the USA. Her courage and Devotion to a cause serve to represent the sacrifice of those in Military service that put their lives on the line. May we all pause in appreciation of those that gave their lives for our Freedom.
Martha blochlinger
Mon, 05/30/2022 - 03:22 PM
Martha blochlinger
I have always admired Joan, I was fortunate to visit France and the Church and memorial in Rouen. I will always remember it. I pray to her and for her and all our Military everywhere.
Joanne
Mon, 05/30/2022 - 08:28 PM
Joanne
I always wonder why God was so particular with Joan in directing her military career so precisely for France. And then to let France just slip back into the same lousy situation. Am I mistaken in this observation? What could have been Gods plan here in using her?

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