St. Joan of Arc was born in Domremy, Francs in 1412 on the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. Her parents, Jacques and Isabelle were peasants. She was the youngest of four children, having three older brothers. She helped her mother with spinning and helped shepherd the animals. She was very devout as a child enjoying her religious faith and spending her free time in church.
St. Joan grew up during the “Hundred Years War”, which never seemed to end. The French were losing the war while she was young. England was invading the country of France causing much suffering. Joan prayed with great devotion and fervor for the suffering people.
At the age of thirteen, Joan began to have visions and hear voices which counseled her. She claimed to hear the Voice of God, Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch. In 1428, the voices told her to go tho the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom. She was told to accompany Prince Charles to his coronation. St. Joan went to the town of Vaucouleurs seeking help from the military commander. After three trips he decided to listen to her.
She was given an escort of six which included two knights. They left on Feb. 23, 1429. The journey was 400 miles, taking eleven days in the winter to travel. She was given permission to meet with Prince Charles VII. However, he concealed himself in the crowd to test Joan. Joan, however, recognized him. St. Joan spoke to him, saying:
“I am Joan the Maid and to you is sent word by me from the King of Heaven that you will be anointed and crowned in Reims and you will be Lieutenant to the King of Heaven who is King of France.”
After being questioned by clerics who asked for a sign Joan was eventually given a sword, armor and a banner with the names of Jesus and Maria to lead the French Army to Tours in 1429. She was only 17 years old.
St. Joan led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orleans and Troyes. Prince Charles was then anointed King with St. Joan at his side holding the banner in 1429.
St. Joan was later captured and then sold to the English. Joan spent six months in prison before she was put on trial for heresy and witchcraft. After being found guilty she was burned at the stake in 1431. Her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second trial was held 25 years later which overturned the first verdict because it was politically motivated. Joan was declared a martyr.
St. Joan was beatified by Pope Pius X and canonize by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 who said that she is a “most brilliantly shining light of God.”
I know this now,
Every man gives his life for what he believes.
Every woman gives her life for what she believes.
Sometimes people believe in little or nothing.
One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it and then it’s gone.
But to surrender what you are and to live without belief
is more terrible than dying…even more terrible than dying young.
Quote of St. Joan of Arc
May is the Month of Our Lady.