Saturday, April 30, 2011

Joan the Maid

I have been an admirer of Joan of Arc for many years now. My mother's name is Joan after her, and I gave the same name; Mary Joan to my first and long awaited daughter. I have read a few books on her and the transcript of her trial, simply fascinating.  Talk about a strong woman! She has quite a following still too. I know over the years when I have encountered others who also were devoted to her they shared a similar kind of awe, which almost has the feel of a secret club of sorts, that makes one stop and say "you too?" Mark Twain wrote about her and considered it his best work. She stirs the hearts of many as is shown by the following comments:

"Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years." 
                        Winston Churchill-Legendary British Prime Minister in WWII

"Consider this unique and imposing distinction. Since the writing of human history began, Joan of Arc is the only person, of either sex, who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen." 
                     Louis Kossuth-19th Century European Freedom Fighter

"Jeanne’s mission was on the surface warlike, but it really had the effect of ending a century of war, and her love and charity were so broad, that they could only be matched by Him who prayed for His murderers."
                        Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-Famous Scottish author of Sherlock Holmes Fame.

"Joan of Arc was not stuck at the cross-roads, either by rejecting all the paths like Tolstoy, or by accepting them all like Nietzsche. She chose a path, and went down it like a thunderbolt. Yet Joan, when I came to think of her, had in her all that was true either in Tolstoy or Nietzsche, all that and more.
                        G. K. Chesterton- English writer and philosopher

"She was perhaps the only entirely unselfish person whose name has a place in profane history." 
                        Mark Twain-19th Century American Writer 

There is something so true and noble about Joan, her life was both so wonderful and tragic, so much of her seems to say  so very clearly  "God was here". As you walk through her life , the scent of Him is all about her in a fabulously strong and  unmistakable way. I have left below a few of her most famous quotes which have the true Joan essence for you to reflect on. I know I find great inner strength when I read her words:

Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.

Act, and God will act.

During her trial her judges tried to trick her into answering an impossible question on whether or not she was in a state of grace ( since it is not possible to know for certain) listen to how she outwitted the old foxes:

If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.

Since God had commanded it, it was necessary that I do it. Since God commanded it, even if I had a hundred fathers and mothers, even if I had been a King's daughter, I would have gone nevertheless.

Get up tomorrow early in the morning, and earlier than you did today, and do the best that you can. Always stay near me, for tomorrow I will have much to do and more than I ever had, and tomorrow blood will leave my body above the breast.


  Joan speaking to Pierre Cauchon after learning of her impending execution:
"Bishop, I die through you" 

Joan asking for a crucifix to be held level with her eyes:
"Hold the crucifix up before my eyes so I may see it until I die." 

Her last words:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

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