||January 6, 1412|
||May 30, 1431|
||May 16, 1920|
by Pope Benedict XV
St. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of our church. She was born in rural Champagne, France as the daughter of poor peasant farmers. She exhibited extreme piety as a child. At the age of thirteen, she began to receive messages from God, angels and saints in the form of voices and visions.
Eventually, God told her to lead France's armies against the English. After an audience with Charles VII, she was eventually given command of troops .
In 1429 St. Joan of Arc conquered Orleans, Patay and Reims. She attacked Paris but was injured and taken off the field. Paris stood. In 1430 she was captured by the Burgundians, who were in league with England. The Burgundians sold her to the English, and the French royalty did little to help her. Because she could not be executed for her defense of France, the English persuaded the corrupt Bishop of Beauvais to have her executed as a witch and heretic. She was burned at the stake for her supposed heresies.
23 years later, she was declared innocent by another investigation of the Church. In 1869 her cause for beatification was introduced, and she was beatified in 1909 by Pope Pius X. She was later canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. For more information, check out the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on St. Joan of Arc.