At Domremy, on the Upper Meuse, was born on January 6, 1412, of pious parentage, the illustrious heroine of all time, St. 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 St. 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.
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.
Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).