The First Electronic Church of America

S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

May 30, 1997

       Saint Of The Day:

            Joan of Arc

aint Joan of Arc, in French, Jeanne d'Arc, is a national heroine and the patron saint of France, who united the nation at a critical hour and decisively turned the Hundred Years' War with England in France's favor. Joan was born of peasant parentage in Domremy . When she was 13 years old, she believed she heard celestial voices. As they continued, sometimes accompanied by visions, she became convinced that they belonged to St. Michael and to the early martyrs St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret . Early in 1429, during the Hundred Years' War, when the English were about to capture Orleans, the "voices" exhorted her to help the Dauphin, later Charles VII, king of France. Charles, because of both internal strife and the English claim to the throne of France, had not yet been crowned king. Joan succeeded in convincing him that she had a divine mission to save France. A board of theologians approved her claims, and she was given troops to command. Dressed in armor and carrying a white banner that represented God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, she led the French to a decisive victory over the English. At the subsequent coronation of the Dauphin in the cathedral at Reims, she was given the place of honor beside the king. Although Joan had united the French behind Charles and had put an end to English dreams of control over France, Charles opposed any further campaigns against the English. Therefore, it was without royal support that Joan conducted a military operation against the English at Compigne, near Paris. She was captured by Burgundian soldiers, who sold her to their English allies. The English then turned her over to an ecclesiastical court at Rouen to be tried for heresy and sorcery. After 14 months of interrogation, she was accused of wrongdoing in wearing masculine dress and of heresy for believing she was directly responsible to God rather than to the Roman Catholic church. The court condemned her to death, but she penitently confessed her errors, and the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Because she resumed masculine dress after returning to jail, she was condemned again -- this time by a secular court-and, on May 30, 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in the Old Market Square at Rouen as a relapsed heretic. Twenty-five years after her death, the church retried her case, and she was pronounced innocent. In 1920 she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV; her traditional feast day is May 30. Joan of Arc has been widely depicted in literature and art. Notable examples include the statue by the French sculptor Francois Rude (1784-1855), in the Luxembourg Museum, Paris, and that by the American sculptor Anna Vaughn Hyatt (also known as Anna Huntington, 1876-1973), on Riverside Drive, New York City. A painting of Joan by the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-84) is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. She has been the subject of such plays as Die Jungfrau von Orleans (1801) by the German dramatist Johann von Schiller; Saint Joan (1923) by the British playwright G. B. Shaw; and Joan of Lorraine (1946) by the American playwright Maxwell Anderson. The French composer Arthur Honegger wrote of her in his oratorio Joan of Arc at the Stake, which was first performed in 1938. The American writer Mark Twain wrote the biography The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896); she was the major figure in a notable chapter of the History of England (1754-62) by the Scottish philosopher David Hume; and the French philosopher Voltaire commemorated her in his narrative poem La pucelle d'Orleans (The Maid of Orleans, 1756).

MODEL: Joan's courage. She stood up to authority when she knew she was right. That took pluck, particularly when she knew how they liked to barbecue pretty young women in those days.

Your Birthday Today:

May 30
Day of the Independent Gemini

Swift, Resilient, Dexterous

Sensitive, Precarious, Nervous

Solo flyer. If you were born on May 30, you long to be free and independent. Every few years, you feel frustrated if you don't wipe the slate clean and try something new. Ruled by the number 3 and the planet Jupiter, you are optimistic but your schemes may be totally impractical.

Flaky by nature. You appreciate responsibility and try to be dependable, but somehow you can just never carry it through. People that depend on you often become angry when you disappoint them. But they should realize that you're not trying to do harm; instability and change are just part of your nature. Even your mood and personality can change in a flash. You are like several people in one body.

Promises, promises. You often make promises you can't keep, always assuming you can back out of it if things get hairy. Unfortunately, many people actually believe what you say and hold you to it later. This can be especially dangerous with money. It's no surprise that you work best as your own boss chasing your own personal goals.

Grand schemes. With all your nervous energy, you move with quick, youthful, self-assurance. Your snappy decisions may leave others with jaws agape. Some admire the confidence and drive you put behind your decisions and ideas. Those who know you best see red flags upon hearing your latest wacky scheme.

Some advice: Do things in small steps, finishing one thing before starting another. Don't promise the moon. Think before you leap into an endeavor. Don't fritter your time away if it's just another frivolous scheme.

Also born on this day: Dave McKenna (jazz pianist) Christine Jorgensen (early transsexual) Wynonna Judd (country-western singer) Jane Deeter Rippin (head of American Girl Scouts) Benny Goodman (jazz, classical clarinetist, composer, bandleader) Howard Hawks (director, producer) Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig) Gale Sayers (football halfback) Lydell Mitchell (football receiver) Keir Dullea (actor) Cornelia Otis Skinner (writer) Paola Fendi (fashion designer)