Saint Joan of Arc on stage, in cinema and in catechism | National Catholic Registry


Saint Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920 not because of her military triumphs or her mystical visions, but because she loved Jesus and his Church.

On May 30, 1431, after being found guilty of being a heretic and a relapsed witch, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France. She died repeating the name of Jesus. Her family worked for years to get her rehabilitated; in 1456 she was cleared of all charges in another trial. Pope Pius X beatified her in 1909 and Benedict XV canonized her in 1920. As patroness of France and soldiers, statues of her are often featured in French cathedrals and churches along with the memorials of thousands of World War I dead and his image. was also used to recruit posters during this war to end all wars.

Saint Joan of Arc is a popular saint among playwrights and novelists: George Bernard Shaw wrote a play about her, as did Jean Anouilh, Charles Peguy and Maxwell Anderson. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was very devoted to Saint Joan and portrayed her in convent plays in 1894 and 1895. Shakespeare included her in one of his history plays, Henry VI, part 1; because she fought against the English in France, Shakespeare is not at all sympathetic to her. Voltaire and Friedrich Schiller wrote plays about her in French and German with radically different points of view.

St. Joan has been portrayed in films by actresses ranging from Renée Jeanne Falconetti (The Passion of Joan of Arc), Ingrid Bergman, Jean Seberg, Milla Jovovich and Leelee Sobieski. The actress known as Valli (Baroness Alida Maria Laura Altenburger von Marckenstein-Frauenberg) portrayed Saint Joan of Arc in the film in the film, The miracle of the bells.

Tchaikovsky wrote an opera about her based on Schiller’s play; Arthur Honegger wrote an oratorio using Paul Claudel’s poetry as a libretto.

Samuel L. Clemens loved him. He said of her:

He was a beautiful, simple and adorable character. In the records of the Trials it appears in clear and brilliant detail. She was sweet and comely and affectionate, she loved her home and her friends and her village life; she was miserable in the presence of pain and suffering; she was full of compassion: on the field of her finest victory, she forgot her triumphs to hold on her knees the head of a dying enemy and comfort his spirit which passed through words of pity; at a time when it was common to shoot prisoners, she stood fearlessly between her own and evil, and rescued them alive; she was indulgent, generous, disinterested, magnanimous; she was free from any stain or defilement of baseness. There is no flaw in this rounded and beautiful character.

Under his pseudonym, Mark Twain, he wrote a great historical novel, claiming to be a contemporary chronicle. He loved him so much he even acknowledged his Catholic faith wholeheartedly – and Clemens/Twain had no respect for organized religion.

Saint Joan has been presented as a madwoman, a feminist, a visionary, a martyr, a patriot, a warrior – but as Pope Benedict XVI noted in his January 26, 2011 general audience, she is a saint worthy of be quoted. several times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Statements from the 1431 trial

Although she was a simple peasant, Saint Joan’s answers to some of the questions put to her during her trial for heresy were clear and concise enough to confuse her judges. They have documented his answers, so these are not legendary; these are part of an official court record.

In the Catechism’s discussion of “The Church: The Body of Christ” (795), Saint Joan is quoted in one of the additional commentaries:

A response from Saint Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: “Of Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know that they are one thing and that don’t complicate the matter.

It is also quoted in the section dealing with “Grace and Justification” (2005) in the context of how we can know if we are in a state of grace:

A happy illustration of this attitude is found in the response of Saint Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: Asked if she knew that she was in the grace of God, she replied: “If I do not am not, that it pleases God to put me there; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.

Two of her words are also quoted: in the section on “The Implications of Faith in One God,” she is quoted in paragraph 223: “Therefore, we must first serve God. Finally, his last words are referenced in paragraph 435: “Many Christians, like Saint Joan of Arc, have died with only one word, Jesus, on their lips.”

When Pope Benedict celebrated it in his series of lectures on Holy men and women of the Middle Ages and beyondhe offered some glimpses of how Saint Joan was able to respond so insightfully to the great theologians:

Dear brothers and sisters, the Jesus name, invoked by our Saint until the very last moments of her earthly life was like the continuous breathing of her soul, like the beating of her heart, the center of her whole life. The Mystery of Charity of Joan of Arc what so fascinated the poet Charles Péguy was this total love for Jesus and for his neighbor in Jesus and for Jesus. This Saint had understood that Love embraces the whole reality of God and of the human being, of Heaven and earth, of the Church and of the world. Jesus always occupied a special place in his life. . . Loving him always means doing his will. She declared with total abandon and confidence: “I entrust myself to God my Creator, I love him with all my heart” (pcon, i, p. 337). Through the vow of virginity, Joan consecrates her whole being exclusively to the unique Love of Jesus: “it is the promise she made to Our Lord to preserve well the virginity of her body and her spirit” (pconI, p. 149-150).

And he concluded: “Dear brothers and sisters, by her luminous testimony, Saint Joan of Arc invites us to a high quality of Christian life: to make prayer the common thread of our days; have full confidence in the doing of God’s will, whatever it may be; to live charity without favouritism, without limits and drawing, like her, from the Love of Jesus a deep love for the Church.

Total love for Jesus

Saint Joan is perhaps known as the great warrior saint of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France – which actually lasted 116 years between 1337 and 1453 – which liberated Orléans and brought King Charles VII to the throne. She is famous for her visions and mourned for her cruel death at the hands of judges who, as Pope Benedict XVI said, “were theologians who lacked charity and humility to see God’s action in this young wife” and “were radically incapable of understanding her”. or to perceive the beauty of his soul. Yet, as he reminded us in 2011, Saint Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920 not because of her military triumphs or her mystical visions, but because she loved Jesus and his Church, even when she was condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal.

This article was originally published on May 30, 2017 at the Register.


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