On this day in 1920, almost five hundred years after her death, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was canonized in Rome. Born Jeanne D'Arc in the village of Domremy, Eastern France, this beloved heroine was 13 when a blaze of heavenly light and divine voices inspired her to rally Charles VII's forces against the occupying English army.
With strong faith, the young peasant girl convinced her soldiers that God was on her side. She inspired her army with her courage and her determination terrified her enemies, who believed she had supernatural powers. "I refer to God, who made me do everything I have done," she said.
After an extensive battle, Joan liberated Orleans in the Loire Valley in May 1429. Two years later, the English convicted her of witchcraft. They placed a pointed hat with the words "heretic, relapsed, apostate, liar" on her head, then burned her at the stake. Her followers gathered her ashes and tossed them into the River Seine.
"You say you are my judge." she said at her trial. "Consider well what you do for in truth I am sent by God and you put yourself in great peril."
Charles VII reopened Joan's case and her conviction was overturned in 1456. The patron saint of France and French soldiers, this Maid of Orleans stayed true to her beliefs and lived her life with faith, self-determination, and courage. France responded to her passion.
With faith and courage, you can accomplish anything.