Hello dear readers. I am truly honored you stopped for a minute to read these. The words that I write are my reflections of this truly remarkable and humble young woman who I can easily say has changed my life when she introduced herself to me.
As I reflect on how instrumental she has been in my life, I can’t help but get somewhat emotional as I write. Yes, lol, I have tears of joy and remorse as I am currently typing. After this posting, it will be official, I have re-consecrated myself to Beloved Mary, and have consecrated myself to Saint Jeanne. My mind races thoughts and emotions as I write this.
Collecting my scattered thoughts, I am filled with tears. I went to Saint Joan’s church in Hershey PA, an amazing and beautiful church filled with delightful and colorful stained glass windows. I found myself standing underneath the statue of a little child, Saint Joan looking up to Mary, it… it was nearly too much for me. How I wanted to break down in tears in thanks and admiration for this saint. How I wanted to drop to my knees and give her thanks for all the help she has given. I had to constantly bite my lip during the hour long Mass, just trying to fight back the tears. As of today, as I consecrated myself to Mary and Joan today, until the end of days, I stand under my beloved Saint Joan’s banner, letting her lead me to the Lord. How honored, and yet, utterly and completely unworthy I felt to stand in this giant of a Saint. And yet here I am, looking up to her, consecrating myself to her and Our Lady, in her church. To even think about celebrating Mass with her own Earth while she is there in Heaven, doing the same thing together, was truly sobering.
I find it to be a bittersweet day. How joyous I am that we celebrate that 590 years ago, Joan of Arc was admitted to Heaven. It’s also bitter in how the life of a pious 19 year old girl was taken away from her. Yet before her martyrdom, those that sentenced her went on a vicious and cruel campaign that we could never imagine to unlawfully declare her heretic.
Yet, I am reconciled with these bitter feelings now that she has been declared a Saint 151 years later.
I can say without a doubt, this young Saint has fundamentally changed me directly and indirectly, most likely in ways I can only begin to image, by the grace of God. This story is just a small token of thanks to my heavenly friend, no, sister in the truest sense of the word. While I am not related to her by blood, I find that there a spiritual bond does exist, and these spiritual bonds are infinitely stronger than bonds of blood, and I don’t mean that lightly.
I often pray to Saint Jeanne, “St. Jeanne, help me to write a story that honors your faith and memory.” And it scares me that I could misrepresent her because I want to do my best, ya know? She’s been looking out for me and I can feel her presence in my life. I owe it to my “sister” to tell her side of things.
So who was she? Who was the real Saint Joan of Arc? She was a young woman, a peasant girl from a backwater nowhere, who saved France and was treated so unjustly and denied certain basic rights because of politics and war.
She was a military genius that drew up sound strategies (without having ANY military education of any sort.) She always rushed to the thickest of action, inspiring those under her banner to fight with more determination and bravery. Yet at the same side, she detested warfare. Not once did she take a life personally, by the end of sword, rather, she carried her banner, inspiring her troops and causing dread in her enemies. Ironically enough, she used her sword once, to chase prostitutes out of her army’s camp. In some cases, it broke lol. I could definitely see that being a thing.
She was a pious woman. Deeply spiritual. Remaining little and humble of heart in all manners, only concerning herself with things of God and war. It’s interesting to think her spirituality of being truly humble in all things would be codified and amplified in her future heavenly sister of Saint Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way. She didn’t allow any swearing in her presence, and would reprimand those who did very harshly. As stated before, she did not tolerate “camp followers” They were either chased out by her personally or wed to one of her soldiers.
She was a crafty and intelligent woman (without any formal education.) During her trial, she often ran circles around those that questioned her. It is unfortunate we don’t have the transcripts of her first, and should have been ONLY trial, when Charles VII sent her to the college of Poutiers, where the Inquisition tested her for a month. To which they announced she was not heretic. It is unfortunate that we no longer have the written account of her testimonies. What insight we could get out of her answers. She answered the questions faithfully and without fear of persecution, and was found not to be a heretic.
Yet during the English Trial (which was most certainly illegal. It actually makes me angry just thinking about it. I can go into reasons why it was considered illegal at a later point), To say she destroyed her judges would be an understatement. They had to conduct the trial in her jail for fear she might turn public opinion against the judges. Many of her answers were changed, altered, or completely left out in three out of the four transcripts we have. Thankfully, there was one scribe who did his best to honor the defendant, much to the annoyance of the judges.
How did Saint Jeanne go out?
Well I can say it was, three men, out fifty some judges rushed her out to the stake when they found her wearing men’s clothing… which she probably never given women’s clothing or worse. Strange how almost ALL of her judges wanted to re-explain her sentencing rather than put her to death. Yet the THREE main judges kept it a secret and handed her over to the English.
She went out boldly and stoically, with love and compassion towards her captors, praying for those who wronged her and for her own salvation. The last thing she said, her last word was “Jesus” which was shouted in praise and in loving affection.
It’s strange, how one person is most likely the second most written about person in history, first easily being Jesus. Both secular and religious, Catholics and non-Catholics admire this young woman and the virtues she had. Her life is a source of inspiration, yet doing personal research and cultivating this relationship with her, I can definitively say, I am only scratching the surface of this remarkable person. Her life has so many lessons we can apply to our own. Her determination, humility, brilliance, piety are just the beginning. Her death, alone, has so many lessons we can learn.
One I found true, is that even in our lowest and darkest moments, when we are nearly beaten, or beaten, we can still come out on top. We have only to look upward. Saint Jeanne is a prime example of this. No peasant girl can claim that they altered the course of history, burned at the stake as a heretic (dare I say a very low moment), yet proclaimed a Saint and is universally looked up to as a role model. I mean heck…
A former French president better than I could ever. President of France Raymond Poincaré wrote that Joan’s canonization “fulfills the last part of her mission in bringing together forever in the sacredness of her memory” one-time mortal enemies England and France: “In her spirit, let us remain united for the good of Mankind” This was written in 1920, after WWI, where Englishmen and Frenchmen fought side by side.