Posted by: fvbcdm | May 30, 2017

Feast of Saint Joan of Arc (30 May 2017)

On the 30th of May in the year 1431, a nineteen-year-old girl was taken from her prison cell in the French city of Rouen, the capital of the region of Normandy.  She was taken to the city’s marketplace, where she was chained to a stake.  Bundles of wood were then piled around her and ignited.  She died the terrible death of being burned alive.  Her name—Saint Joan of Arc.  Her crime—hearing heavenly voices and acting upon them.

As she was being tied to the stake, she asked that a cross be held where she could she it.  One of our Dominican priests ran to a nearby church and brought a crucifix.  He held it up before her eyes.  She cautioned him not to come too close for fear that he too might be burned.  She died crying out, “Jesus!  Jesus!”

Because she had become not only a religious patroness of France but also one of its most famous historical personages, her feast day on May 30 is celebrated each year with great honor among the Catholics of France.  But, since she has not been placed in the Universal Calendar of the Church, we don’t usually find mention of her in our calendars here in this country.  There is hardly a church in France without a statue of Saint Joan of Arc.  Our cathedral here in New Orleans has a statue of her because of its French heritage.

When she was fourteen-years-old, she began to her voices speaking to her.  They identified themselves as Saints Michael, Margaret, and Catherine.  As time passed they began to urge her to go to the uncrowned King of France and have him crowned and consecrated.  After any number of difficulties, she was brought before him, and, by confiding to him certain messages that her voices had given to her, she convinced him of her authenticity.  He put her in charge of an army which lifted the English siege of the city of Orleans and won several other battles, bringing encouragement and renewed hope to the nation.  She would never allow any soldier to take part in their military operations who had not attended Mass and received Holy Communion that morning.

She lead the King to the city of Reims, where French coronations always took place.  Her mission was then finished.  She was betrayed into the hands of the English, imprisoned, accused of witchcraft, sorcery, and heresy, and condemned to be burned.  A few years later, her condemnation was reversed by a French court.  In 1920, she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.  Let us pray, through her intercession, that her nation, for which she gave her life, will return to its former glory as one of the most Catholic nations of the world.  Thank you for allowing God to love you, God bless you.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

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