Tuesday, May 30, 2006

St. Jeanne D'Arc


One of my favorite saints is St. Joan of Arc because her life exemplified the trust and obedience to the will of God even through terrible adversities and at such a young age. She is a model of holy courage and patient endurance. The account of her passion moves one to pray for her intercession. Her feast day is May 30.

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

The Holiness of Joan of Arc

1. Her gift of knowledge

The answers of St Joan to her judges on the subject of grace or the workings of God's Providence amongst men are astonishing, not in their wording and conciseness alone, but in the theological knowledge they imply. The judges asked her: "Are you in a state of grace, Joan?" "If I am not, God put me there", she replied; "if I am, please God so keep me." To an examiner at Poitiers who suggested that "if God wills to save France it is not necessary to have soldiers", she answered: "In God's name the soldiers will fight and God will give the victory". "Act and God will act; work and He will work" is a saying of hers which expresses the same idea.

2. Her love for the poor

Her kindness and her charity towards the poor were also remarkable. One Simon Musnier declared: "She liked to take care of the sick. I know this for certain. When I was a child and I was ill it was she who nursed me." Another witness tells us that she had known Joan to give her own bed to some poor homeless woman and to spend the night herself by the hearth in the next room. This was what Christian charity meant to her.

3. Her suffering at the hands of men

She was imprisoned in the castle and put in an iron cage until the trial began, that is to the end of January. Afterwards, she was chained by the waist, wrists and ankles to a heavy beam. To add to "her martyrdom"—as her Voices called it—she was watched day and night by three common soldiers who shared her room and tormented her with insulting words and rejoiced over her misery. Instead of burning her or drowning her straightway, the Duke of Bedford, governor of the English possessions in France, chose the more subtle method of having her judged and convicted by the ecclesiastical court which was to be held at Rouen under his eyes, not in the law courts, but in the castle. In this way, not Joan alone, but those who had employed her, and approved of her, the French king and the French clergy, would be branded, like her, with infamy, "heresy and schism".

4. Her martyrdom

Two sergeants came and forced her down from the platform where she stood and led her to the Bailiff who represented the English authorities. So far she had been excommunicated but not sentenced to death: yet no judgment was read in the name of the king, no sentence was pronounced, and the Bailiff, merely waving his hand, to signify these legal formalities were not worth troubling about, said: "Menez. Menez"—that is: "Take her away. Take her away"—and she was straightway taken to the stake and handed to the executioner.

She asked for a cross and a soldier hastily made one with two pieces of wood tied together—she kissed it and put it in her bosom. Then her arms were pinioned behind her back and she was chained to the stake. At her request, Isambart, who, as well as Ladvenu, was attending her, sent for the cross of a near-by church and held it before her right to the end of her long agony. "To the end of her life", affirms Martin Ladvenu, "she maintained and asserted that her Voices came from God and that what she had done had been done by God's command. She did not believe that her Voices had deceived her, and in giving up the ghost, bending her head she uttered the name of Jesus in a voice that could be heard all over the market-place by all present, as a sign that she was fervent in the faith of God."

Her heart was unconsumed. By order of Cardinal Beaufort, the ashes and all that remained of St Joan were put into a sack and thrown into the Seine "that the world might have no relic of her of whom the world was not worthy"
Catholic forum

5. Her execution and its effect

In the afternoon of the same day, the executioner came to the Convent of the Dominicans, saying to them and to Brother Martin Ladvenu, that he feared he was damned because he had burnt a saint.

Maitre Jean Tressart, when he returned from the execution, groaning and weeping sadly, lamented to me what he had seen at this place, saying to me: "We are all lost; we have burnt a Saint"; adding, that he believed her soul was in the hands of God because, when she was in the midst of the flames, she constantly called on the name of the Lord Jesus. St. Joan of Arc Center


Blogger poetbdk said...

I enjoyed your article about Saint Joan of Arc.

Ben D. Kennedy

12:04 PM  

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