Joan of Arc, Visionary

30 May -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of any Saint, page 513

Joan of Arc was born at Domrémy in 1412, the daughter of a peasant farmer. She first heard voices of particular saints when she was fourteen years old, telling her to save France, which was caught up in the Hundred Years War with England. Though at first she was dismissed, her credibility increased when some of her predictions began to come true. She managed to identify the disguised dauphin -- later to become Charles VII -- whose approval she gained. She persuaded troops to be set to relieve Orléans and rode at their head, wearing white armour. They were successful in battle, which increased the morale of the army and enhanced the reputation of Joan. When the dauphin was crowned king at Rheims, she stood at his side. Her voices had warned her that her life would be short yet she was dangerously naïve in not seeing the jealousies she provoked. After some failures in battle, she lost favour and was eventually sold by the Duke of Burgundy to the English, tried in a court for heresy by the Bishop of Beauvais and eventually burned at the stake on this day in 1431. Twenty-five years later, the pope formally declared her innocent. She was made second patron of France after her canonisation in 1920.