30 May – St. Joan of Arc, Virgin: Martyrology, Marvelous reading, Movies

Today we celebrate the feast of the quintessential “¡Hagan lío!” gal.

Today, in the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum we find interesting saints, including St. Petronilla and St. Ferdinand III, King of Castille.  We also find Otto Neururer, a priest who died in Buchenwald (more HERE), and Luke Kirby, a priest who died on the Tyburn Tree along with William Filby, Lawrence Johnson and Thomas Cottam during the reign of Elizabeth I.  There are also William Scott, Richard Newport in the reign of James I.   Matthis Kalemba was killed by Muslims in Uganda.  In ancient times St. Gabinus died a martyr in Sardinia.  St. Dymphna died in Brabant.

So much death.  So much glory.

But one of the most interesting, to me at least, is that of St. Joan of Arc.

Her entry.  Perhaps some of you readers would like to try your hand…

Rothomagi in Normannia Galliae, sanctae Ioanne d’Arc, virginis, puellae Aurelianensis nuncupatae, quae, cum fortiter pro patria dimicasset, tandem in hostium potestatem tradita iniquo iudicio condemnata est et igne cremata.

I have long thought that St. Joan of Arc is a fine saint to inspire young people, including boys, because of her martial spirit.

A friend of mine in the Swiss Guard has Joan etched on his breastplate… and some of you, dear readers, made that happen!  We had a campaign here to raise money for his armor.  Here’s a shot from last 6 May 2016 during the swearing in of the new Guards.  And there’s Joan!

17_05_06_Giuramento_01

On the other side is St. Joseph.  Very cool.

Pope Benedict spoke of St. Joan in a General Audience in 2011. Here is the VIS account of the audience.  My emphases and comments.

JOAN OF ARC: BRINGING THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL INTO HISTORY

St. Joan of ArcVATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2011 (VIS) – During this morning’s general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 3,000 people, Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431), whom he described as “one of the ‘strong women’ who, at the end of the Middle Ages, fearlessly brought the splendid light of the Gospel into the complex events of history”. [I wonder if many Catholics today haven’t been cowed by the relentless secularism and relativism and even open anti-Catholic bigotry we find in the public square.  And now we have anti-Catholic behavior from highly visible leaders of the public square and in the Church.  We need a revitalization of our Catholic identity.  It won’t be accomplished with what we have been doing.  It’s time for a change.]

The life of Joan of Arc, who was born into a prosperous peasant family, took place in the context of the conflict between France and England known as the Hundred Years War. At the age of thirteen, “through the ‘voice’ of St. Michael the Archangel, Joan felt herself called by the Lord to intensify her Christian life and to act personally to free her people”.

She made a vow of virginity and redoubled her prayers, participating in sacramental life with renewed energy. “This young French peasant girl’s compassion and commitment in the face of her people’s suffering were made even more intense through her mystical relationship with God. One of the most original aspects of her sanctity was this bond between mystical experience and political mission”. said Benedict XVI.

Joan’s activities began in early 1429 when, overcoming all obstacles, she managed to meet with the French Dauphin, the future King Charles VII. He had her examined by theologians of the University of Poitiers who “delivered a positive judgment, they discovered nothing bad in her, and found her to be a good Christian”.

On 22 March of that year Joan dictated a letter to the King of England and his men, who were laying siege to the city of Orleans. “Hers was a proposal of authentic and just peace between two Christian peoples, in the light of the names of Jesus and Mary”, said the Holy Father. But the offer was rejected and Joan had to fight for the liberation of the city. Another culminating moment of her endeavours came on 17 July 1429 when King Charles was crowned in Reims.

Joan’s passion began on 23 May 1430 when she fell into the hands of her enemies at Compiegne and was taken to the city of Rouen. There a long and dramatic trial was held which concluded with her being condemned to death on 30 May 1431.

The trial was presided by two ecclesiastical judges, Bishop Pierre Cauchon [Somehow appropriate.] and the inquisitor Jean le Maistre, but in fact it was conducted by a group of theologians from the University of Paris. These “French ecclesiastics, having made political choices opposed to those of Joan, were predisposed to hold negative views of her person and mission. The trial was a dark page in the history of sanctity, but also a shining page in the mystery of the Church which is, … ‘at the same time holy and always in need of being purified’“.

“Unlike the saintly theologians who illuminated the University of Paris, such as St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Duns Scotus, … the judges were theologians who lacked the charity and humility to see the work of God in this young girl. Jesus’ words come to mind, according to which the mysteries of God are revealed to those who have the hearts of children, but hidden from the wise and intelligent. Thus Joan’s judges were radically incapable of understanding her, of seeing the beauty of her soul“, the Pope said.

Joan died at the stake on 30 May 1431, holding a crucifix in her hands and invoking the name of Jesus. Twenty-five years later a trial of nullification, instituted by Pope Callixtus III, “concluded with a solemn sentence nullifying the condemnation and … highlighting Joan of Arc’s innocence and perfect faithfulness to the Church. Much later, in 1920, she was canonised by Pope Benedict XV“.  [I am happy to have a relic of St. Joan, which: ashes collected at the time and place of her execution by burning.]

The Name of Jesus invoked by this saint in the last instants of her earthly life was as the continual breath of her soul, … the centre of her entire life”, the Holy Father explained. “This saint understood that Love embraces all things of God and man, of heaven and earth, of the Church and the world. … Liberating her people was an act of human justice, which Joan performed in charity, for love of Jesus, hers is a beautiful example of sanctity for lay people involved in political life, especially in the most difficult situations”.  [In his first Message for the World Day for Peace, Pope Benedict spoke of the need of military intervention at times in order to establish the foundation upon which peace can be fostered.]

“Joan saw in Jesus all the reality of the Church, the ‘Church triumphant’ in heaven and the ‘Church militant’ on earth. In her own words, ‘Our Lord and the Church are one’. This affirmation … takes on a truly heroic aspect in the context of the trial, in the face of her judges, men of the Church who persecuted and condemned her”.

“With her shining witness St. Joan of Arc invites us to the highest degree of Christian life, making prayer the motif of our days, having complete trust in achieving the will of God whatever it may be, living in charity without favouritisms or limitations, and finding in the Love of Jesus, as she did, a profound love for His Church”.

Furthermore, if you have never read Mark Twain’s superb novel about St. Joan do try to get it soon? Twain, not exactly friendly toward the Church, thought it was his finest work.

This would be terrific summer reading also for young people who can read a little above their age.

US HERE – UK HERE

It is on Kindle, too, for $0.00!   With Prime.

If you are not a Prime member, HERE  [Also… Try Prime Discounted Monthly Offering

Also, some years ago, I spent an evening watching some of a Joan of Arc movie marathon. I wrote about it HERE.

St. Joan, pray for us!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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5 Comments

  1. mamajen says:

    I finally read Mark Twain’s book a couple months ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it! He took the subject matter quite seriously and thoroughly researched, but nevertheless his trademark sense of humor was present. There was a bit about a spectator at the trial throwing a stone that had me rolling! The book really piqued my interest in St. Joan. Highly recommend.

    And now I shall venture off to read about the movies. I’ve been wanting to watch a film adaptation of her story.

  2. Liz says:

    Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death. He loved St. Joan of Arc (and had that very book mentioned) but it was only later that we realized that he had died on her feast day. St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!

  3. Herman Joseph says:

    Fr. Z, thought you might like this story. I was brought into the Church in 1993, at 22 years old, and my conversion was evidently due to Our Lady and to St. Therese. St. Joan quickly became a holy friend as well. Some years later, after getting my BA in Theology from Franciscan University, I became the pro-life coordinator/director for our diocese. Loving St. Joan and knowing that what is behind abortion is a preternatural enemy–the devil–I had the happy inspiration to have a banner made, just like St. Joan’s–well, as close as I could get, and it was very close–and carry it into battle when I, and others, went to pray at abortion mills, and I also had it up during our pro-life conferences (with Fr. Frank Pavone a frequent speaker). One thing I added to St. Joan’s design was the diocesan coat of arms, to remind the devil I was there not on my own authority, but with that of the diocese. The sword wielded on that battlefield was of course the Rosary. I don’t know what happened to it, they had layoffs many years ago, the pro-life position included, but I did love my banner, a la Saint Joan.

    One more thing about St. Joan, in regard to current times: St. Joan encouraged and prayed that the enemy would lay down their arms and stop fighting. She cared for their souls. But, when they would not leave she did what had to be done: no compromising, no running away, no hiding, no being overcome with fear and laying low. She trusted God, loved the Virgin Mary, longed for Paradise, and charged into battle. The opposite of what so many are doing today. She, and so many other martyrs who were so young yet in Christ victorious–Philomena, Agatha, Perpetua–they should be our best friends and examples!

  4. Johann says:

    St Joan of Arc, pray for us.

  5. LeslieJohnson says:

    On Amazon, people are complaining about the tiny print on the Kindle edition. I just downloaded the same book in two volumes from Project Gutenberg, for free, with no font problems. If you’re worried about Fr. Z not getting the Amazon commission, you can always use Paypal to send him something directly. I did!

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