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Jan 14, 2023 1030 Shalom Tidings
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The Braveheart

Few Saints of the Catholic Church have captured the popular imagination like Joan of Arc. Her story is depicted in paintings, sculptures, and numerous films.

Born into a peasant family in 1412, Joan grew up illiterate, but acquired a profound love for the Church and a deep faith in God from her mother. Because she loved prayer and the sacraments, her neighbors said, “She was so good that all the village loved her.” She cared for the sick and homeless, often even giving them her own bed.

By the age of thirteen, Joan began to hear the voices of Michael the Archangel, Saint Margaret of Antioch, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. They told her she was to liberate France and ensure the French heir to the throne was installed as France’s rightful king. She won his trust by telling him details of his past only someone with divine knowledge could know. At the time, France was dominated and ruled by England.

Convinced that her “voices” came from God, Joan heroically and faithfully obeyed their instruction, despite obstacles and suffering. Prayer and contemplation remained primary in her life even as she led battles, during which she never raised the sword against an enemy

Though two years earlier a commission had “declared her to be of irreproachable life, a good Christian, possessed of the virtues of humility, honesty and simplicity”, Joan was accused of witchcraft and heresy after the English captured her, receiving no support from the very King she put on the throne. At her trial, Joan manifested her deep faith and wisdom, and despite being wrongly condemned, she never lost her faith in God or the Church. When she was burned at the stake, she proclaimed the name of Jesus while holding a crucifix to her heart, causing an observer to say, “We have burned a saint.”

Her death increased her fame and popularity. Twenty years later, a new trial declared her innocent of all her alleged crimes. After her reputation grew over the centuries to epic proportions, Joan was beatified in 1910 by Pope Pius X and canonized eleven years later by Pope Benedict XV. She is now the patron Saint of France and one of the Church’s most beloved Saints.

Joan’s obedience to God ensured France kept the Catholic faith during the Protestant Reformation while England abandoned it. France remained a solid center of Catholicism from which it would spread to northern Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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