Monday, May 15, 2006
St. Joan of Arc, Patroness of France...
Yes, it's poor St. Joan that lesbians refer to as their own. Why? Because she dresssed as a man and went into battle. And, in their mind, she defied the male hierarchy of the Church. Witches or adherents to wicca, the pagan religion, also claim her because she was tried and convicted of witchcraft by her enemies. All of these attributions are totally false. The process for her canonization straightened all of that out.
Joan was born in 1412, a daughter of peasant farmers. When she was seventeen, after a series of locutions, she persuaded the Dauphin, Charles VI of France to give her the command of the royal army and lead a campaign against the British invaders. Her military successes enabled Charles to be crowned King of France at Rheims shortly after Joan took command. This was Heaven's charge to the young Joan. Since her duties were over it seem Providence allowed for her capture in 1430. Handed over to the British, charges of heresy and witchcraft were lodged against her. She was condemned to death and burnt alive at Rouen, May 30, 1431. Her case was investigated and declared null and void in 1456 and Joan was exonnerated of all charges. She wasn't canonized however until 1920, and not as a martyr, as many believe, but as a holy virgin.
Where have these lesbians got it wrong? She was not a cross dresser; in her time there was no armor for maidens - women were not warriors in Europe, she had to wear male armor. Our Lord commanded her. She had a mission, she was never in defiance of ecclesiastical authorities, in fact she was very humble and obedient. God frequently chooses the weak, the lowly, and despised to confound the proud and powerful of the world. In this case he chose a peasant girl. And she was never a witch, though she was charged with this crime. As history demonstrates, she was later exonerated - Joan also died embracing the crucifix, dying as valiantly as a martyr in the odor of sanctity.
It is certainly true that the Bishop of Beauvais conspiried with the British to convict St. Joan falsely, however she never defied the Church authorites in the sufferings she had to undergo. In fact, as many saints before and up until now, she willingly suffered at the hands of those who ought to be her advocate and support for the sake of their own good and for the good of the Church.
I do believe however, St. Joan of Arc would be a good patron for those women struggling with gender identity and same sex attraction, but she was not a lesbian or a witch. St. Joan of Arc pray for us!