Rorate Caeli

600
Joan of Arc :
I - A Saint in armor

6 janvier 1412 – 6 janvier 2012
A special guest-series by Côme de Prévigny

Joan of Arc (I) : A Saint in armor
What mysterious force could transform an ignorant shepherdess from the outskirts of a nation in agony into a warlord behind whom the despaired regained courage, after whom saints rebuilt a nation that deserved the title of "Eldest Daughter of the Church"? Saint Pius X declares it: "Called by the Lord to defend her fatherland, [Joan] responds to her vocation with an enterprise that the entire world - and herself, in the first place - considered impossible; but that which is impossible to men is always possible with the help of God."[1]

France in the early 15th century was bruised, dismembered, weakened by a century of war. Her titular sovereign [2] was nothing more than a misfortunate sire, envied by his vassals, who had been divested, by his mother, of the northern half of the country, sold to its English neighbors. It seemed to be the end of la belle France of Saint Louis when, on February 25, 1429, Joan presented herself before the dauphin Charles and affirmed to him that she had received the mission to deliver Orleans and to have him crowned at Rheims. She had miraculously overcome all obstacles: the concern of her mortified parents, the intense reticence of the sire of Vaucouleurs, the nocturnal crossings of enemy territory, the mockeries of the Crown's liegemen. Most jeered at the seventeen-year-old whose experience was limited to the guarding of sheep and who declared herself to be the bearer of a message of God revealed by Saint Michael and Saints Catherine and Margaret in person in person! "Chosen by God - Pius XII says-, the unwavering conscience of her mission, an ardent yearning for holiness, fed by the wish of best fulfilling her august vocation, will lead her to overcome obstacles, ignore dangers, confront the powerful of the earth, meddle in the international problems of the age, and even to transform herself in an ironclad captain, formidable, ready to storm." [3]

Her divine determination, examined by the tribunals of the Church, at last vanquished the king's hesitations, and the little shepherdess from Domrémy achieved victory after victory. The miserable French army turns into the bright elite corps that follow the heroine in her epic journey from Orleans to Rheims, through Jargeau, Patay, and Beaugency. Going to daily Mass, praying every day, going to confession and receing Communon very frequently, this friend of God and of the saints encoouraged her soldiers to the regular reception of the Sacraments, expelled from the army, wih great firmness, the women of ill-repute, and cared for the soul of each of her ennemies, by having them assisted by a priest. The warriors, used to a life of binging rather than to one of religion, and to fowl language more than to Communion, fell one after the other before the heavenly charm. "All marveled that, in military matters, she acted with as much wisdom and foresight as a captain who had fought for twenty or thirty years." (John II of Alençon). "Neither the others nor myself had bad thoughts when we were near her. In my opinion, there was something divine in that" (John of Orleans).

With the distrust of the king's counselors being overcome with time, the "Maid of Orleans" was made a prisoner near Compiègne by the Burgundians who decided to sell her to the English. The long calvary of Joan would then begin, condemned by a sham ecclesiastical procedure that rendered her to the civil power to be delivered, without verdict, to the flames. On May 30, 1431, she was burned alive in Rouen, but the geopolitical balance had been permanently reversed. The lady whose very presence at the head of the armies terrified the enemies, who believed her to have come from hell, had given hope back to the French, who reconquered all their territory in a few years. Less than one century later, the leavening of errors accumulated for years would plunge England in the darkness of Protestant error. What would have happened to France and to the Church of Rome if a Protestant power had remained in place surrounding the very heart of Catholic Europe? By the divine mission entrusted to Joan of Arc, God had providentially protected the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

Beatified in 1909 by Saint Pius X, the liberator of Orleans and of France was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920. The nineteen years she had spent here on earth make her an example of trust in Providence and of determination in acting in obedience to God: "The warmen will make battle, she said, but God will deliver victory."


[Part II: A Saint in isolation]
[Part III: A Saint under excommunication]
_____________________________
Notes:

[1] Saint Pius X, Address of December 13, 1908.
[2] Charles VII, king of France 1403-1461.
[3] Pius XII, Radio message to France, June 25, 1956.

13 comments:

Peterman said...

Saint Jeanne, Maid of France, bring forth the new Catholic Monarch for the Holy Kingdom of France in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Xavier Rynne said...

Beautiful statue of St. Joan. I went to Catholic schools my whole life but never knew that Mark Twain wrote a brilliant novel on Joan. I highly recommend it.

Steve said...

"Mark Twain wrote a brilliant novel on Joan."

I really didn't care for it. Much prefer the Regine Pernoud books. And if you want to see a Pernoud book literally unfold on your television, you must get Joan the Maid, The Battles, The Prisons, by Jaques Rivette. Joan lives!

LeonG said...

How could The Church ever be totally against war? There are times when it is justified.

thewhitelilyblog said...

I own Twain's novel in order to look now and then at the book that conquered the atheist, for that's what Joan did. He could not get her out of his mind. The book itself, however, is dull. Twain has no insight into sainthood.

When this blog calls someone a 'guest contributor' or whatever the term used was, does that mean permission was given for the use of the work?

Thank you for the link to the Pernoud books!! Now, in return,a recommendation of a bio of another awesome woman saint, Sigred Undset's of Catherine of Siena. It is so very moving it caused me to get a statue of the saint for home, from Images of Heaven (they have one of Joan, too). I took away one of Catherine's strategies converting local heavies and popes: she never condemned, she only returned again and again to the price Christ paid out of love for the sinner. You can say *anything,* if you couch it that way, is what I am finding.

If anyone on the thread is interested in the Catholic/writing aspects of the conversation, they might enjoy my "St. Flannery--Not!" on my blog.

New Catholic said...

Lily, it means that the text was written for us by our guest.

Juventutem London said...

Who is Come?

Barbara said...

"Pius XII says-, the unwavering conscience of her mission, an ardent yearning for holiness, fed by the wish of best fulfilling her august vocation, will lead her to overcome obstacles, ignore dangers, confront the powerful of the earth, meddle in the international problems of the age, and even to transform herself in an ironclad captain, formidable, ready to storm." [3]

Fantastic! As the Americans say AWESOME! - St.Joan - Do pray for us!

"All marveled that, in military matters, she acted with as much wisdom and foresight as a captain who had fought for twenty or thirty years."

Well,so what do you think of that gentlemen?

And this:

"Neither the others nor myself had bad thoughts when we were near her. In my opinion, there was something divine in that" (John of Orleans)."

Totally stunning! What holiness and purity!

"By the divine mission entrusted to Joan of Arc, God had providentially protected the Eldest Daughter of the Church."

Is there weeping in heaven? Do you weep at what has happened to your beloved country, Dear St. Joan?

She is magnificent! And I do love that statue!


Barbara

Fortiter Pugnem said...

While we're on to good books...Nicholas C. Prata. Angels in Iron. Get it. Read it. Again. Now THAT is Holy Jihad. It's as smooth and riveting as Tom Clancy.

I have studied Mark Twain a lot. Let's just say he was the Hitchens of his day. Read "Connecticut Yankee". He hated the Church. That's why his book makes no sense, though I personally loved it because I like Twain's style (it reminds me of myself).

Cali said...

www.corpuschristianum.org !

Xavier Rynne said...

Ignatius Press issued Twain's book some years ago. I think Father Rutler had a blurb describing Twain as being like a "furtive Nicodemus" in approaching Joan's life and being amazed by it. It has been a while but I thought Twain did a good job with the trial.

Long-Skirts said...

Fortier Pugnam said:

"I have studied Mark Twain a lot. Let's just say he was the Hitchens of his day. Read "Connecticut Yankee". He hated the Church. That's why his book makes no sense, though I personally loved it because I like Twain's style"

I agree with you. I too like Mark Twain and I thouroughly enjoyed his Joan of Arc but unfortuneately I think he saw her more as a "femininst" type, as many non-Catholics do today, because she went up against the mean "bad men" of the Church, i.e. the Hierarchy, of course true Catholics understand how much she loved Mother Church and her Priests.
I also agree, the Connecticut Yankee is terribly anti-Catholic.

Barb in NY said...

I guess my comment didn't show up, so I'll start again....

I love this statue of St. Joan-it's by the 19th century French sculptor Emanuel Fremiet. The original is in the Place des Pyramides, Rue de Rivoli, across from the Louvre. I took photos of it on both of my visits to Paris (1985 and 2000).

When I used to have TV and watched coverage of the Tour de France cycling race, I rejoiced to see views of St. Joan's statue as the racers headed towards the Champs-Elysees and the finish line-there was a camera right behind it!

And there are also copies of this statue in [at least] three places in the USA: New Orleans, LA (obviously!); Philadelphia, PA; and in Washington State (I think in Seattle).

And yes, I loved this blog entry for St. Joan's 600th birthday! 'Merci Mille Fois, Monsieur le Comte!"

Barb in NY