Thursday, 27 January 2011

An extraordinary lay saint: Joan of Arc

A few days ago I wrote about an 'ordinary' lay saint, Catherine of Genoa.

This week, the Pope gave his General Audience on another lay saint, but one who led a much more extraordinary life, St Joan of Arc.

Unfortunately the full (non-copyright) English version of the text probably won't meander its way onto the Vatican website for another week or two (of course you are set if you can read Croatian - that language's version generally appears in a day or two!), but in the meantime you can go and read the Zenit version on their site.

Here is a short teaser:

"Today I would like to speak to you about Joan of Arc, a young saint from the end of the Middle Ages, who died at age 19, in 1431. This French saint, quoted many times in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is particularly close to St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of Italy and Europe, of whom I spoke in a recent catechesis. In fact they are two young women of the people, lay and consecrated in virginity, two committed mystics, not in a cloister, but in the midst of the most dramatic realities of the Church and of the world of their time. They are, perhaps, the most characteristic examples from among those "strong women" who, at the end of the Middle Ages, fearlessly took the great light of the Gospel to the complex vicissitudes of history. We could place her next to the holy women who stayed on Calvary, close to Jesus crucified, and Mary, his mother, while the apostles fled and Peter himself denied him three times."

Great that the Pope is bringing to us such an interesting selection of women saints, who played, and continue to play, such key roles in the Church in disparate ways!

Oh that God might call such saints forth today - and that we all might overcome our lukewarmness and cowardice and say yes to God's call to us all to be great saints as St Teresa of Avila instructs!

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