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She “was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.” — Sir Winston Churchill
“She is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” — Mark Twain
Who is she? Joan of Arc, “The Maid of Orléans.”
In her own words, she tells of how it all began: I was thirteen when I had a Voice from God for my help and guidance. The first time that I heard this Voice, I was very much frightened; it was mid-day, in the summer, in my father’s garden. I had not fasted the day before. I heard this Voice to my right, towards the Church; rarely do I hear it without it being accompanied also by a light. This light comes from the same side as the Voice. Generally it is a great light. Since I came into France I have often heard this Voice.
The voice, God, told her to go forth and force the English out of France and then take the Dauphin (the first born son of the Charles VI) to Reims where he would be coronated. However, driving out the French had proven problematic for the French. The French military was in such disarray that it was often said that 200 English “could put to flight 1,000 of the French.” Yet Joan persisted that God wold prevail in fulfilling her visions; therefore, the Dauphin’s religious leaders recommended putting her to the test. If this peasant girl can rout the English out of Orléans, then she is who she says she is. What the French had not been able to accomplish for many months, they accomplished in five days with Joan as their rallying point.
Her story is absolutely too fascinating for me to try or even want to summarize here, so I’ll share with you one of my favorite quotes of hers. The episode occurs as she is traveling to see the Dauphin for the first time. The journey is dangerous, with those in her party always in danger of being attacked by the English. However, Joan’s faith in what God has called her to do is unwavering. She says to those with her, “I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to messire the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!”
Over time, that passage has been shortened to a “Tweetable” length: ”I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
God has not given us all visions, but we know that he has counted all the days of our lives and is as near to us as we are to ourselves; therefore, look to Joan and witness her unwavering faith and do not be afraid to live, for as God was with Joan, He is with all who love Him and follow his ways.
Let us pray: Oh God, Who hast raised up in an admirable manner, the virgin of Domremy, Saint Joan of Arc, for the defense of the faith and country, by her intercession, we ask Thee that the Church triumph against the assaults of her enemies and rejoice in lasting peace; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.