Saint Joan of Arc
Born: January 6th, 1412 Died: May 30th, 1431
What she said
"About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."
What the world was like
Joan of Arc lived at the time of the beginning of the Renaissance, which was a revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning. This was a time of transition from medieval times to modern times.
When Joan of Arc was born, France was involved in the Hundred Years War with England. Because of this war, much of the farmland in France was ruined and people were starving because of lack of food. During Joan's life, many people in France died from the Black Death, a deadly plague that was spreading throughout Europe. People lived in fear of not only the English and the plague, but also of local French people who raided towns and villages.
Who she was
Joan of Arc grew up in France. Her father was a farmer. Although she did not have much formal education, her mother taught her prayers. Joan always listened to her parents and tried to do what they asked of her. She attended Mass every day and she tried to help the poor. She was quiet and preferred to play alone rather than with others. She enjoyed playing in the woods and she was good at spinning and weaving cloth.
While Joan was growing up, there was a war going on between France and England. This war had lasted almost one hundred years. France was divided and had no king. Joan began hearing the voices of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret. They told Joan that she was chosen by God to unite France and to help Charles be crowned king. Joan was very surprised because she knew nothing about politics or about the military. She wanted to serve God, but she did not know how to help her country. Finally, she realized that this was God's will and He would lead her.
At first she was laughed at, but soon Joan was leading the French army with a banner that said "Jesus and Mary." She began winning battles. Soon the English were gone from many towns in France. The French soldiers loved Joan. Eventually, she saw Charles crowned the king of France.
Later Joan was captured and became a prisoner of the English. She was sentenced to death. Although she was afraid, Joan remained faithful to God and calmly went to her death holding a crucifix.
What this saint means to us today
Joan of Arc was faithful to God's will in her life. Even when she was laughed at, she kept her focus on God and what he asked her to do. It seemed to be impossible for a teenage girl to become a soldier, lead an army, and unite the country of France, but Joan did just that because of her faith.
When things seem to be impossible in our lives, we can be like Joan and let our faith guide us.