Joan of Arc was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church

April 19, 2022

On April 19, 1909, Joan of Arc was beatified by Pope Pius X of the Roman Catholic Church. Derived from the Latin words beatus and facere, respectively meaning “blessed” and “to make,” beautification is the process by which the Catholic Church formally recognizes a person’s entrance into heaven after their passing. Such recognition is considered to be a great honor, and furthermore allows the beatified person to be utilized in prayer via a doctrine known as the Intercession of the Saints.

Joan of Arc’s beatification took place at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Born in the Kingdom of France in 1412, during the Middle Ages, she was approximately seventeen years old when she left her hometown and requested to speak to King Charles VII. Her request was ignored two times, in likely part due to her being a young woman from a peasant family. On her third attempt, however, she successfully saw the King.

She testified to receiving messages from three divine figures: the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine. She said they had instructed her to do everything in her power to support the King in recovering the Kingdom of France from English conquest. The King believed her testimony and swiftly sent her to the Siege of Orléans as a member of the relief army. In less than two months after her arrival, she played a decisive role in defeating the English at the Battle of Patay.

She continued her work in defending France with much success, boosting the morale of the French army and French citizens along the way. In 1430, however, she was captured while organizing volunteer efforts and delivered to the English. She was put on trial by an English-siding French bishop, declared guilty of heresy, and burned at the stake. She was nineteen years old at her time of death.

Beatification is sometimes used synonymously with canonization or admission into sainthood by the Catholic Church; however, there are differences between the two. In the case of Joan of Arc, after her record was cleared of all charges, she was the recipient of both honors.

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