Joan of Arc Turns 600

Yesterday, January 6th, was the Feast of the Epiphany – or Three Kings’ Day. Traditionally celebrated by the church on the first Sunday following the 6th, Epiphany is a celebration of the arrival of the Wise Men to worship the newborn Christ Child.
And, I may add, the reason our Christmas decorations are still up. :)
January 6th is also the day that is traditionally observed as the birth date of Joan of Arc. In fact, yesterday, the French celebrated her 600th birthday…

And how typical of the magic of Joan’s story that she should have been born on so important a Christian holiday, the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrating Christ’s baptism and the coming of the Magi. Just another wonder in the life of the transcendent young woman who heard the voices of angels and presented the dauphin of France with a secret sign that only he would know, a sign that convinced him of her authenticity as a messenger from God.

Source: Kansas City Star ~ Celebrating the real Joan of Arc

Except, no one is certain when the “Maid of Orleans” was actually born. The Star’s article points out that the coincidental date with Three Kings Day was probably chosen for purely political purposes;

Which is a shame because of all the stories in the world, Joan’s is one of the least in need of embellishment. She should not be remembered because she showed the dauphin some trinket, or was an illegitimate member of the French royal family, or revealed secrets that no one else knew (all of which are, like the Jan. 6 date, almost certainly mythological). What makes Joan an iconic figure, as inspirational today as she was six centuries ago, was her faith, her unswerving dedication to her cause and, above all, her astounding bravery. It was this bravery that was demonstrated at her very first battle when, as the wounded French soldiers, bloodied and disheartened, streamed back to the safety of the walls of Orleans, 17-year-old Joan rushed out into the crush of arrows and swords to give battle.


Mark Twain’s Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is probably the least known of all his works. But it’s my favorite – actually one of my all-time favorite books, period – and it was also his personal favorite:

“I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none.”
~ Mark Twain ~

Twain fictionalizes Joan’s story somewhat, but only to better tell the tale. The miracles of her life and accomplishments need no embroidering. It’s an excellent book and a wonderful story. One that inspires the reader to look beyond daily trivialities to higher things.




“Consider this unique and imposing distinction. Since the writing of human history began, Joan of Arc is the only person, of either sex, who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen.” ~ Louis Kossuth ~


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One Response to: Joan of Arc Turns 600

  1. Pingback: Catholic France surrenders to Islam | Designs on the Truth

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