St. Joan of Arc by Rev. Denis Lynch, S.J., 1919

The name and fame of Jeanne d’Arc are in the catalogue of common things, like the rainbow; of things so familiar that an effort of the imagination is needed before we can appreciate the unique position of the Maid in history. The story of her career, as one of her learned French historians has said, is the most marvelous episode in our history, and in all histories.

She was the consummation and ideal of two noble human efforts toward perfection. The peasant’s daughter was the Flower of Chivalry, brave, gentle, merciful, courteous, kind, and loyal. Later poets and romance-writers delighted to draw the figure of the Lady-Knight; but Spenser and Ariosto could not create, Shakespeare could not imagine, such a being as Jeanne d’Arc.

“She was the most perfect daughter of her Church; to her its Sacraments were the very Bread of Life; her conscience, by frequent confession, was kept fair and pure as the lilies of Paradise. In a tragedy without parallel or precedent the Flower of Chivalry died for France and the chivalry of France, which had deserted her; she died by the chivalry of England, which shamefully entreated and destroyed her; while the most faithful of Christians perished through the ‘celestial science’ and dull political hatred of priests who impudently called themselves the Church!’

“She came with powers and with genius which should be the marvel of the world while the world stands. She redeemed a nation; she wrought such works as seemed to her people, and well might seem, miraculous. Yet even among her own people, even now, her glory is not uncontested.”

Such is the power of this story, such its tyranny over the heart, its magnetism to draw tears, that, well or ill told, it will ever make the hearer weep, be he young or old, chilled by the growing years or steeled by the hardness of life. Let no one blush for tears like these, for their cause is fair. No recent sorrow, no personal affliction of any kind, may so justly thrill an upright heart.

“By roads infested with brigands she traverses France; she wins the court of Charles VII; she throws herself into the war; and in the camps which she had never before seen, in the combats which she had never shared, she is surprised at nothing. She rushes intrepidly into the midst of the fray; she is wounded, but she never wavers; she animates the veteran soldiers; she transforms the multitude into a military array, and no one knows any longer the meaning of fear. The youthful form of the maiden blunts the point of the lance and breaks the foeman’s sword: with her stainless bosom she shields the heart of France.

“Her recompens? Betrayed and subjected to outrage, and judged unjustly, in her last and most fearful struggle she is as constant as in those that went before; and the words caught from her dying lips will cause tears to flow forever more.

“….Abandoned by her king and by her people, whom she saved, by the cruel path of flame she returns to the bosom of God. . . . No ideal that man has conceived ever approached this most certain reality.”

“Thy country’s sin, the insult, and the shame,
The scaffold’s doom, the faggot and the flame–
All these shall pass and be remembered not;
Fair Charity with kindly tears shall blot
From France’s shield the black corroding stain,
Caught from thy blood, O Lily of Lorraine!

The hero’s heart shall lose its thirst for fame,
And truth be dead, and virtue but a name,
Ere men shall cease to honor thee who gave
To France, to liberty, to truth–
In battle’s bloodiest trenches undismayed,
‘Neath insult meek, in persecution brave.
Thy love, thy life, thy stainless youth,
O Virgin, Patriot, and Martyr Maid!”

–From the Introduction.

The Litany of St. Joan of Arc
Composed by Louis, Bishop of Saint Die

Lord, have mercy on us!
Jesus Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Jesus Christ, hear us!
Jesus Christ, graciously hear us!

Our Heavenly Father, Who art God,
have mercy on us!

Son, Savior of the world, Who art God,
have mercy on us!

Holy Spirit, Who art God,
have mercy on us!

Holy Trinity, Who art God,
have mercy on us!

Holy Mary, virgin Mother of God,
pray for us. *

Our Lady of the Assumption, principal patron of France, *
Saint Michael the Archangel, patron and special protector of France, *
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and Martyr, *
Saint Margaret of Antioch, virgin and Martyr, *
Saint Joan of Arc, chosen by God at Domremy, *
Saint Joan of Arc, informed [of her mission] by Saint Michael, the Archangel and his Angels, *
Saint Joan of Arc, compliant to the call of God, *
Saint Joan of Arc, confidant [in] and submissive to her voices, *
Saint Joan of Arc, model of family life and labor, *
Saint Joan of Arc, faithfully devoted to Our Lady, *
Saint Joan of Arc, who delighted in the Holy Eucharist, *
Saint Joan of Arc, model of generosity in the service to God, *
Saint Joan of Arc, example of faithfulness to the Divine vocation, *
Saint Joan of Arc, model of union with God in action, *
Saint Joan of Arc, virgin and soldier, *
Saint Joan of Arc, model of courage and purity in the field [of battle], *
Saint Joan of Arc, compassionate towards all who suffer, *
Saint Joan of Arc, the pride of Orleans, *
Saint Joan of Arc, glory of Reims, *
Saint Joan of Arc, liberator of the Country, *
Saint Joan of Arc, abandoned and imprisoned at Compiegne, *
Saint Joan of Arc, pure and patient in thy prison, *
Saint Joan of Arc, heroic and valiant before thy judges, *
Saint Joan of Arc, alone with God at the hour of torment, *
Saint Joan of Arc, Martyr of Rouen, *
Saint Joan or Arc and Saint Therese of Lisieux patronesses of France, *
All the Saints of France, intercede for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us, that we may become worthy of the promises of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Oh God, Who hast raised up in an admirable manner, the virgin of Domremy, Saint Joan of Arc, for the defense of the faith and our country, by her intercession, we ask Thee that the Church may triumph against the assaults of her enemies and rejoice in lasting peace; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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