ABOUT MAID OF HEAVEN
Maid of Heaven is the loving title given to Saint Joan of Arc by author Ben D. Kennedy. Both the book that bears the title and the website MaidOfHeaven.com have been created to tell the true story of the remarkable and incomparable Saint Joan of Arc.
The journey to create the book Maid of Heaven: The Story of Saint Joan of Arc began several years ago when Ben D. Kennedy began to intensely study the life of Saint Joan of Arc. A voracious reader and experienced historian, Ben read everything that he possible could about Joan's life and was most impressed by the actual words that Joan herself spoke while she was alive. Ben was amazed by the spiritual maturity of the simple young maiden named Jehanne d'Arc and by how much he had learned about God through studying her life and her words.
In 2005, Ben started to dream about creating a poem about the life of Saint Joan that would incorporate some of her famous quotes that had had such a profound effect upon his own life and relationship with God. Ben knew that creating such a poem would be a difficult, if not impossible, task. He began writing in the late summer of 2005 but was only able to complete a few stanzas. Attempting to cover her life seemed like a dream that would probably never come true due to the scope and complexity of Saint Joan of Arc's life.
Ben was at least able to create the most important first stanza that establishes the central themes of Joan's life being her incredible faith in God and the fact that she was a true soldier. In referring to Saint Joan as Maid of Heaven, Ben felt he was giving her the ultimate title she deserved after beginning her mission as the Maid of Lorraine, being elevated to Maid of Orleans after her first great victory at Orleans, and being elevated to Maid of France after saving her country. To Ben, Maid of Heaven seemed like the title that God Himself would bestow upon His loyal Maid who had faithfully served Him until her final breath.
Most beautiful Maid of Heaven, how brilliant is your light.
Like a shining star, you point the way to the Father of all light.
Praise be to Him for sending you here to show us how to fight.
Throughout 2005 and into 2006, Ben continued to struggle to find a way to organize Saint Joan's life in his mind in a way that he could communicate it in a poem. One day in the late summer of 2006 while he was in a worship service at his church it seemed to hit him that the first stanza was analogous to the birth of Christ when God had placed a "shining star" over Bethlehem to lead people to the birth of His Son. Realizing that the words he had written in his first stanza were way beyond his own capabilities inspired Ben to increase his efforts. From that point forward the words seemed to just flow out of him although it was not until early November of 2006 that Ben finally finished his epic poem Maid of Heaven.
(Read more about the "Inspiration" that Ben received while writing Maid of Heaven HERE)
Why Tell Joan of Arc's Story Poetically?
ONCE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EPIC POETRY IS UNDERSTOOD, IT BECOMES OBVIOUS THAT THE BEST WAY TO TELL THE STORY OF SAINT JOAN OF ARC IS THROUGH AN EPIC POEM.
Percy Shelley once stated that poetry is the highest form of writing because only poetry gives thoughts that are at the heart of humanity. More Here
Out of all the types of poetry that exist it is the epic poem that is "universally admitted to be the highest and most difficult form of poetical composition." - A Manual of Composition and Rhetoric
Throughout history some of the greatest stories of heroic struggles have been told by epic poems like Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey .
Encarta Encyclopedia offers the following:
long narrative poem, majestic both in theme and style. Epics deal with legendary or historical events of national or universal significance, involving action of broad sweep and grandeur. Most epics deal with the exploits of a single individual, thereby giving unity to the composition. Typically, an epic includes several features: the introduction of supernatural forces that shape the action; conflict in the form of battles or other physical combat; and stylistic conventions such as an invocation to the Muse, a formal statement of the theme, long lists of the protagonists involved, and set speeches couched in elevated language. Commonplace details of everyday life may appear, but they serve as background for the story and are described in the same lofty style as the rest of the poem.
The Greeks distinguished epic from lyric poetry, both by its nature and its manner of delivery; lyric poetry expressed more personal emotion than epic poetry and was sung, whereas epic poetry was recited.
Epic poems are not merely entertaining stories of legendary or historical heroes; they summarize and express the nature or ideals of an entire nation at a significant or crucial period of its history. Examples include the ancient Greek epics by the poet Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The characteristics of the hero of an epic are national rather than individual, and the exercise of those traits in heroic deeds serves to gratify a sense of national pride. At other times epics may synthesize the ideals of a great religious or cultural movement. The Divine Comedy (1307-1321) by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri expresses the faith of medieval Christianity. The Faerie Queene (Books I-III, 1590; Books IV-VI, 1596) by the English poet Edmund Spenser represents the spirit of the Renaissance in England and like Paradise Lost (1667) by the English poet John Milton, represents the ideals of Christian humanism.
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