Also known as
Jean D'arc; Jeanne d'Arc; Jehanne Darc; Maid of Orleans
One of five children born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romee. Shepherdess. Mystic. From age 13 she received visions from Saint Margaret of Antioch, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Michael the Archangel.
In the early 15th century, England, in alliance with Burgundy, controlled most of what is modern France. In May 1428 Joan's visions told her to find the true king of France and help him reclaim his throne. She resisted for more than three years, but finally went to Charles VII in Chinon and told him of her visions. Carrying a banner that read "Jesus, Mary", she led troops from one battle to another. She was severely wounded, but her victories from 23 February 1429 to 23 May 1430 brought Charles VII to the throne. Captured by the Burgundians during the defence of Compiegne, she was sold to the English for 10 thousand francs. She was put on trial by an ecclesiastical court conducted by Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, a supporter of England, and was excuted as a heretic. In 1456 her case was re-tried, and Joan was acquitted (23 years too late).
"About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." - Saint Joan of Arc, as recorded at her trial
6 January 1412 at Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France
burned alive on 30 May 1431 at Rouen, France
11 April 1905 by Pope Saint Pius X
16 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV
God is gracious
captives; France; imprisoned people; martyrs; opposition of Church authorities; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; rape victims; soldiers; WACs; WAVES; Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service; Women's Army Corps
St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. 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 voices: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
At first the messages were personal and general. Then at last came the crowning order. In May, 1428, her voices "of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret" 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 evermore French territory.
After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the seige 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 Burgundians 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 adulteress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was nineteen years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920, making official what the people had known for centuries. Her feast day is May 30.
Joan was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
bareheaded girl in armor with sword, lance or banner
Prayer to St. Joan of Arc
In the face of your enemies, in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, you held firm in your faith. Even in your abandonment, alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith. Even as you faced your own mortality, you held firm in your faith. I pray that I may be as bold in my beliefs as you, St. Joan. I ask that you ride alongside me in my own battles. Help me be mindful that what is worthwhile can be won when I persist. Help me hold firm in my faith. Help me believe in my ability to act well and wisely. Amen.