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Feast of St. Joan of Arc

Painting of St. Joan of Arc

May 30 is the Feast Day of St. Joan of Arc.

As a patron saint and heroine of France, Joan of Arc was born in Domremy, France on January 6, 1410. France was largely under the power of the England at the time of the Hundred Year’s War. Joan, a peasant girl and shepherdess, began to hear the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret at the age of thirteen.

In 1428, these voices told Joan to go and help the heir to the throne of France recapture his country. Joan saw the Dauphin, rallied an army, and marched on Orleans. She was victorious and won battle after battle, freeing the cities of France.

In 1429, the Dauphin was crowned King of France with Joan at his side. Joan continued to lead her army until she was betrayed and sold to the Bishop of Beauvais, an ally of England, for 40,000 gold francs. The bishop put her on trial for treason and heresy, and condemned her to be burned at the stake. She was treated shamefully by the clergy before her death on May 30, 1431.

To the very end of her life, Joan of Arc insisted that the voices she had heard all of her life were divine in nature. As she burned to death, she called on her three favorite Saints for help. As she was about to lose consciousness, she yelled out: “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus.”

Years later, at the request of her family, the trial was reviewed and the verdict reversed.

500 hundred years later, on May 16th 1920, Pope Benedict XV proclaimed (and later canonized) her as a Roman Catholic Saint — St. Joan of Arc.

St. Joan of Arc pray for us.

Painting of St. Joan of Arc in battle armor

Powerful Prayer to St. Joan of Arc

In the face of your enemies,
in the face of harassment,
ridicule, and doubt,
you held firm in your faith.
Even in your abandonment,
alone and without friends,
you held firm in your faith.
I pray that I may be as bold
in my beliefs as you, St. Joan.
I ask that you ride alongside me
in my own battles.
Help me be mindful that
what is worthwhile can be won
when I persist.
Help me hold firm in my faith.
Help me believe in my ability
to act well and wisely.
Amen.

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