Today the church remembers a young teen with a calling: Saint Joan of Arc, Fierce Warrior and Visionary.
Saint Joan was born in Northern France to a peasant family in 1412, when Britain controlled most of France.
In 1428 Saint Joan traveled to Vaucouleurs to see would-be King Charles. She was rejected twice from his audience, but the third time is the charm. She revealed that she had received a vision from Saint Michael and Saint Margaret to fight for France’s independence.
At 17 years of age she entered the war to great prestige, and upon her arrival at the battle of Orleans, the city’s siege ended within days. She went on to fight valiantly and bravely in a series of other campaigns and in 1453 The Hundred Years War was ended in a French victory, (though some cities remained under British control) with French morale bolstered by stories of the young warrior.
King Charles was coronated with Saint Joan by his side.
Joan continued her campaign for a unified France, she joined an assault on occupied Paris. The attempt failed and Joan was wounded.
In 1430 Joan assembled an army of volunteers to continue fighting for France, and she was captured by Burgundians. In captivity a pro-English bishop put her on heresy trials and, once convicted, she was burned at the stake on this day in 1431 at the age of 19.
About a decade after her death her trial was overturned by Pope Callixtus III, and she is now considered a national symbol for the French people. And though she was only officially canonized in 1920, she has long been venerated by the faithful seeking an inspiring story of a young person’s ability to influence global events.
Saint Joan of Arc is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that the young are powerful and should be given the opportunity to act on it.
Let those with ears to hear, hear.
-historical bits taken from public sources
-icon written by Theophilia