Saint Joan of Arc was born in 1412 to a peasant couple in Paris. Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Saints Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.During the Hundred Years War, Joan led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes.This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, Joan was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men’s clothes. The English resented France’s military success–to which Joan contributed. On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I.
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. Even as you faced your own mortality, 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.