Joan of Arc.
How far would you be willing to go to respond to God’s call on your life? When as the daughter of a peasant family in Champagne in 1426, 14 year old Joan heard heavenly voices calling her to “save” France from the English, she decided to obey the call, no matter what the consequences.
Teenage girls who want to rescue their country from foreign troops were considered every bit as crazy back then as they would be now. But Joan eventually came to the notice of the Dauphin (Later Charles Vll) who decided to make use of her obvious ability to inspire the French people to fight. And so Joan, dressed in her white armour, rode at the front of the French army when they relieved Orleans in April 1429. Her presence and belief in her divine calling to get rid of the English, did wonders for the morale of the troops, who loved her even more when she sustained a wound in the breast, and made little of it.
A campaign in the Loire followed, and then in July the Dauphin was crowned at Rheims with Joan at his side, carrying her standard. More battles followed the following winter, until eventually Joan was captured and sold to the English. They attributed her success to witchcraft and spells, and imprisoned her at Rouen. She was brought before judges, where her spiritedness and shrewdness of her defense were impressive to witnesses.
Despite that the judges declared her to be false and diabolical, and she was condemned to die as a heretic. She was burnt at the stake in the market-place at Rouen on 30 May 1431. Joan died as she had lived; with total faith in God and certainty that she was obeying his will for her life. She died with fortitude, looking at a cross and calling on the name of Jesus. Her ashes were thrown into the Seine.
Joan’s integrity and courage are what shine down the centuries. Here is a patron saint for you if you feel that God is calling you to do something extraordinary: something that is way, way beyond your comfort zone; but something that could right wrongs and make a difference in the world.