Church Remembers Saint Joan of Arc – Patroness Of Soldiers And France

Joan of Arc was born in 1412 to a poor peasant family in the little village of Domremy, in the province of Lorraine.

This was during the era known as the hundred years war. One day, while she was watching her sheep, St Michael the Archangel, the patron of her country, told her, “Daughter of God, go save France!”

For three years she heard the voices of saints calling her to action. When she was sixteen, she began her mission.

In 1429, when she was only 17, despite opposition from churchmen and courtiers, she was given a small army and liberated the city of Orleans. In her white, shining armor, she rode with her banner flying above her, with the names of JESUS and MARY.

St Joan and her army won more and more battles. The English armies had to retreat. She was severely wounded, but her victories from February 1429 to May 1430 brought Charles VII back to the French throne. The King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.

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Rouen, France - Church of St Joan of Arc
The next year, however, she was captured by French allies of England and sold to the English for 10 thousand francs. The French king did nothing to save her. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by a bishop who hoped that the English would make him an archbishop.

When asked complex theological questions, Joan answered: “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.” She refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done. She said:

One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.

She was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake. Her last word was “Jesus”. This was in 1431, and she was only 19 years old. In 1456 her case was re-tried, and Joan was acquitted, but it was 23 years too late.

In 1920, Pope Benedict XV proclaimed Joan a saint.

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