Friday, May 22, 2015

Joan of Arc: A Soldier’s Saint

During Memorial Day weekend this year as we remember and honor all of our soldiers let us also remember that Saint Joan of Arc is the patron saint of soldiers for a very good reason. I can think of no better person to be the patron saint of soldiers than St. Joan because her own military career gave her an intimate knowledge of what it means to live and die as a soldier. While almost everyone seems to know about Joan’s great military victories few seem to remember that she also suffered the agonies of war having been wounded on at least 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 touching incident from Joan’s 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!