Born: Jan 6, 1412
Death: May 30, 1431
Patron: France (along with St. Therese of Lisieux). She is also known as the Maid of Orleans.
Joan of Arc is one of the most compelling saints. I know a few Catholics (and one non-Christian) who consider her an admirable figure in history.
She was the youngest of five children in a peasant family. When she was twelve years old, she had her first vision. It was eventually revealed to her that she would aid the Dauphin and save France. She was laughed at by Robert de Baudicort, the commander of Vaucoulers. But when her prophecies came true, she was sent to the Dauphin. After a n examination cleared her of heresy, she was allowed to lead an expedition to relieve Orleans. She had two victories and on July 17, Joan was present at the crowning of Charles VII. She failed to capture Paris the next month and was captured sold to Britain. This resulted in her trial for charges of heresy and witchcraft. She was eventually burned at the stake. But in 1456, she was declared innocent by Pope Callistus III and canonized in 1920.
To me, Joan is a compelling figure because of her unwavering faith and duty to God and her country. She didn’t care if people believed her. She didn’t care that she would be deemed a heretic. Some might see the declaration of heresy as proof of the “error of religion”, as she was not believed, but think about it: would you believe her? If she told you “I had a vision that I would save France”, wouldn’t you scoff too? She knew what God wanted of her. We have to stand up for what we believe in, even when others think it is wrong. That is what Joan of Arc means to me, not the crime that was committed against her.