Saint Joan of Arc's story is one of the most unusual and dramatic of all the saints. The closest parallels among the saints to her astounding life are those of lay miracle-workers from a millennium prior. Born in 1412 to landed peasantry, she grew up pious and devout but otherwise not unusual. However, when she was 13, in 1425, she began to experience locutions and visions from heavenly actors, including St. Michael, St. Margaret of Antioch, and St. Catherine of Alexandria. They would become the means of Joan's passage into an altogether unique vocation.
As France was embroiled in severe political and military conflict at the time, fighting against both the English and their Burgundian allies, the voices urged Joan to take up arms and fight off the English to save France. Denied twice by a local garrison commander, she was at last heard out. Sent to an audience with the crown prince of France, she convinced him that her inspiration was divine by revealing a secret to him only he could understand. With her purity and devotion verified, she was given armor and a standard, as well as an ancient sword, with which she began to lead an intensive and massive campaign, successfully defeating the English and driving them out in 15 months. She also escorted the prince to be crowned king, who soon granted her and her family the rank of nobility. Burgundy was the next problem; when she was captured in a campaign, she was brought to trial by these forces allied with the defeated English. The trial was a sham and a disgrace, politically motivated: she was accused of heresy by her "demonic" visions and wearing men's clothes (which had been most prudent for her to avoid immodesty). Through it all, Joan showed that indeed she must have been in the grace of God, and, though she was at length burned at the stake, she died for love of God and conviction of her unique and divine mission. 20 years later, a rehabilitation trial annulled and overturned the falsified sham trial, and at last, 500 years later, Joan was finally canonized a saint of the Church.
In this enthralling biography, discover the life of the Maiden, a tremendous and completely outside-of-the-box saint. Through her life, God showed that his work is always miraculous and unexpected; see why in these pages.
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