JOINT ISSUE WITH FRANCE 600TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF ST. JOAN OF ARC

JOINT ISSUE WITH FRANCE 600TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF ST. JOAN OF ARC  

This year marks the 600th anniversary of the birth of St. Joan of Arc. Leaving aside the disputes over her mystical visions, during her life she perceived and promoted a way forward for France, which was in disarray and dominated by the English at the time. She supported the legitimacy of Charles VII as heir to the throne. Her efforts gave hope to the people. Her military victories, starting with the liberation of Orléans, and the growing consensus among the people, had a positive impact for the French in the Hundred Years War. During a military campaign, she was imprisoned and sold to the English by their allies the Burgundians. With courage and clarity of vision, she faced a trial for heresy where she was found guilty and condemned to death by burning at the stake. She affirmed that her actions were a response to a divine order. Rehabilitated by the Church on 7 July 1456 by Pope Calixtus III, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. His Holiness Benedict XVI spoke about her and St Catherine and noted how they were "two committed mystics, not in the cloister, but in the midst of the most dramatic reality of the Church and the world of their time. They are perhaps the most representative of those ‘strong women’ who, at the end of the Middle Ages, fearlessly bore the great light of the Gospel in the complex events of history" (General Audience, 26 January 2011). Vatican City State and France will participate in a joint stamp issue. The image chosen for the occasion is taken from a miniature painted twenty years after her death and found today in the Historic Centre of the National Archives in Paris.