Saint Joan of Arc Feast Day
The feast day for Joan of Arc is celebrated on May 30th every year which is the anniversary of her death by burning in the old square of Rouen on May 30, 1431.
Saint Joan of Arc's feast day is a chance to remember her for the great woman of faith that she was and to celebrate her ultimate victory over evil.
As Pope Benedict XV proclaimed in 1920 at Joan of Arc's canonization ceremony:
"May the whole world hear, and just as it has come to admire her brave deeds in defense of her country, may it now and henceforward venerate her as a most brilliantly shining light of the Church Triumphant."
Painting by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake titled:
"Jeanne at the stake"
Eyewitnesses present at the execution of Saint Joan of Arc later testified at her Trial of Rehabilitation about the events surrounding Joan's death on May 30, 1431.
Maugier Leparmentier - Apparitor of the Archiepiscopal Court of Rouen
"On the day when Joan was burned, the wood was prepared for the fire to burn her before the sermon was finished or the sentence had been pronounced. And no sooner had the sentence been read by the bishop, without any delay, she was taken to the fire, and I did not see that there was any sentence pronounced by the lay judge. She was at once taken to the fire and once in the fire she cried more than six times "Jesus," and above all with her last breath she cried in a loud voice "Jesus!" so that all present could hear her. Almost all wept with pity, and I heard that after her burning, that the ashes were gathered up and cast into the Seine."
Jean Massieu - Court Bailiff
"On the Wednesday, the day which she was condemned, prior to her leaving the castle, Holy Communion was brought to her without due reverence, without stole or lights, which greatly displeased Friar Martin, who had heard her confession. I was sent to fetch a stole and lights, and then Friar Martin gave her the sacrament. And then she was led to the Vieux Marche, and beside her walked Friar Martin and myself, with an escort of eight hundred soldiers armed with axes and swords. And when she came to the Vieux Marche she listened to the sermon with great fortitude and most calmly, showing signs and evidence and clear proof of her contrition, penitence and fervent faith she uttered pious
and devout lamentations and called on the Blessed Trinity, and upon the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, and on all the blessed saints in Paradise, naming many in her devotions, her lamentation, and her true confession of faith. She also most humbly begged all manner of people, of whatever condition or rank they might be, and whether of her party or not, for their pardon and asked them kindly to pray for her, at the same time pardoning them for any harm they had done her. This she continued to do for a very long time, perhaps for half an hour and until the end. The judges who were present, and even several of the English, were moved by this to great tears and weeping, and indeed several of these same English, recognized God's hand and made professions of faith when they saw her make so remarkable an end.
They were glad to have witnessed her end and said that she had been a good woman. When she was handed over by the Church, I remained with her, and she asked most fervently to be given a cross. An Englishman who was present heard this and made her a little one out of wood from the end of a stick and handed it to her. She received it and kissed it most devotedly, uttering pious lamentations and acknowledging God our Savior, who suffered for our redemption on the Cross, of which she had there the symbol and representation. Then she put that cross on her breast between her body and her clothes and humbly asked me to let her have the crucifix from the church so that she could gaze on it continuously until her death. I saw to it that the clerk of the parish church of Saint Sauveur brought it to her. When it was brought, she embraced it closely and for a long time and clung to it until she was tied to the stake.
While she was praying her prayers and piously lamenting, I was urgently pressed by the English, and by one of their captains in particular, to hand her over to them, as they were in a hurry for her death. While I was doing my best to comfort her on the scaffold, this man said to me, 'What priest, are you going to keep us here till suppertime?' Then without any formality or any reading of the sentence, they dispatched her straight to the fire, saying to the executioner, 'Do your duty.' And so while she was still uttering devoted praise and lamentations to God and the saints, she was led and tied to the stake. And her last word, as she died, was a loud cry of 'Jesus'."
Martin Ladvenu - Priest of the Order of Saint Dominic
"On the morning of Joan's death, by permission and order of the judges and before her sentence was brought to her, I heard Joan's confession and administered our Lord's Body to her, which she received with such humility, devotion, and copious tears as I could not completely describe. From that moment, I did not leave her until she gave up her spirit. Almost everyone who was there wept for pity, in particular the Bishop of Therouanne, Louis de Luxembourg. And I have no doubts about her having died a true Catholic, indeed, I should like my soul to be where I believe Joan's to now be. After the sentence, she got down from the platform from which she had heard the sermon and was led by the executioner, without further sentence from the lay judge, to the place where the wood was prepared for her burning.
The wood was piled on a scaffold, beneath which the executioner lit his fire. When Joan saw the fire, she told me to get down and to raise our Lord's Cross very high so that she could see it, and this I did. Right up until the end of her life she maintained that the Voices she heard were of God, and that all that she had done she had done at God's command, and that she did not believe that she had been deceived by her Voices, and that the revelations she received were from God. And that is all I know."
Jean Riquier - Priest
"Master Pierre Maurice visited her that morning, before she was led to the sermon in the Vieux Marche; and Joan said to him, 'Master Pierre, where shall I be tonight?' And Master Pierre responded, 'Do you not trust in God?' She replied that she did and that , with God's aid she would be in Paradise. This I have from Master Pierre himself. When Joan saw the fire set to the wood , she begin to cry aloud, 'Jesus, Jesus!' and right up to her death she went on crying, 'Jesus!' And after she had died, being afraid that it might be said that she escaped, the English told the executioner to push the fire back a little so that the spectators could see her dead, and no one could say that she escaped..."
Born January 6, 1412
Died May 30, 1431
Isambard de la Pierre - Priest who held the cross up for Joan to see
"One of the English, a soldier who particularly loathed Joan and who had sworn to carry a faggot to her pyre with his own hand, was struck with a stupor or something of an ecstasy as he did so and heard her crying out the name of Jesus in her last moments. He was taken to a tavern near the Vieux Marche and given strong drink to be restored to his senses. And while he was eating with a friar of the Dominican order, this Englishman confessed to the friar, who also was an Englishman, that he had committed a grievous sin, and that he had repented of what had done against Joan, whom he now considered a saint. For it had seemed to this Englishman that at the moment when she had given up her spirit there appeared a white dove which flew toward France."
Hymn of Dedication