Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Saint Joan of Arc

detail of the World War I War Stamps lithograph featuring Joan of Arc; by Haskell Coffin, 1918; restored by the Library of Congress; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

At Domremy, on the Upper Meuse, was born on 6 January 1412, of pious parentage, the illustrious heroine of all time, Saint Joan of Arc. Taught by her mother from earliest years to pray each night “O God, save France,” she could not help but conceive the ardent love for her country which later consumed her life. While the English were overrunning the north of France, their future conqueror, untutored in worldly wisdom, was peacefully tending her flock, and learning the wisdom of God at a wayside shrine. But hearing voices from heaven and bidden by Saint Michael, who appeared to her, to deliver her country from the enemy, she hastened to the King and told him that she had been sent by God to help him and his realm. The King, however, was reluctant in accepting her services and delayed in making a decision. Still, he proceeded to thoroughly investigate her character and had her placed under the most watchful scrutiny of Churchmen and counselors. But they found nothing except records of purity, piety, humility and devotion to the cause to which she believed herself to have been called by God. At last after much deliberation and further delays she was entrusted with the leadership of the Army. Scarcely did her banner, inscribed “Jesus, Mary,” appear on the battlefield than she raised the siege of Orleans and led Charles VII to be crowned at Rheims. But many difficulties arose and her further course was much hampered by the actions of the King who would not follow her advice and at last entirely abandoned her to the enemy. Having fallen into the hands of the English who gave her a mock trial she was falsely accused, adjudged guilty and finally burnt at the stake as a heretic. But God is just, for after almost five hundred years, the maid of France has taken her rightful place in the ranks of the Church Triumphant, the beauty of her holiness and virtue are revealed and she has been placed on the calendar of Saints. It was Pius X of saintly memory who first elevated her among the Blessed and she was canonized on 13 May 1920, by Pope Benedict XV.

MLA Citation

  • John Dawson Gilmary Shea. “Saint Joan of Arc”. Pictorial Lives of the Saints, 1922. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 December 2018. Web. 7 May 2021. <>