Saturday, May 24, 2014
As we remember our soldiers this year during Memorial Day Weekend let us also remember that Saint Joan of Arc is the patron saint of all soldiers for good reason. I can think of no better person to be the patron saint of soldiers than Joan because her own military career gave her intimate knowledge of what it means to live and die as a soldier. While everyone seems to remember Joan’s great military victories few seem to know that she also suffered the agonies of war having been wounded on three separate occasions as well as having been captured and kept as a POW for over a year before she was executed. Because of her own experiences as a soldier Joan can truly empathize with what all soldiers go though during war. One episode from Saint Joan’s life that best demonstrates her own great love and compassion for soldiers and demonstrates why she is indeed the perfect person to be the patron saint of all soldiers occurred just after her greatest victory at the Battle of Patay. Coming across a mortally wounded enemy soldier Joan dismounted from her horse and held the man’s head in her lap and comforted him as he died. In reflecting upon this incident from her life one can only wonder as to the mysteries of God and how through His grace the likelihood that Saint Joan has continued to comfort dying soldiers on many battlefields down through the years in a similar way as their loving patron saint. This year on Memorial Day let us remember Saint Joan and her example as the ultimate soldier: strong yet merciful, courageous yet loving. A true soldier of God!
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Saint Joan of Arc achieved complete victory at Orleans and fulfilled the promise she had made only few months earlier to liberate the city. On the morning of May 8th following the previous day's spectacular storming and taking of the fort Les Tourelles by the French, the English defenders remaining around Orleans left their siege positions and assembled in order of battle in an open field near the city. The French forces came out of Orleans to oppose the English and for an hour the two armies faced each other. During this time Joan called for mass to be held. A citizen of Orleans, Jean de Champeaux, later testified as to what happened next: "The masses completed, Joan said to look and see whether the English were facing them. 'No, the English are turned towards Meung' someone replied. 'In God's name,' Joan replied, 'They are going. Let them go, while we go give thanks to God and pursue them no farther, since today is Sunday." And thus total victory was achieved at Orleans as the English retreated away from Orleans. Joan and her army returned to Orleans and celebrated with the citizens of Orleans, a celebration that is renewed every year on May 8th in honor of the "Maid of Orleans."
Video of Annual Celebration in Orleans honoring Joan