“A being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her.”
Mark Twain said of her,
After years of constant humiliating defeat and the demoralization of France’s military and civil leadership, Joan’s urgent request to be equipped for war and placed at the head of the army was granted. So this illiterate farm girl who claimed that the voice of God instructed her to take charge of her country’s army and lead it to victory, in fact did lead the French military forces to victory after victory.
However, in 1420 Joan was captured and placed on trial for heresy. On May 30, 1431, she was burned at the stake and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. She was 19 years old. The Church later declared Joan a martyr and canonized her as a saint in 1920.
After his service in the military, Fr. Cerrone began to study St. Joan of Arc in earnest. Eventually, his research and devotion culminated in the authoring “For God and Country” a book about how prayer and the Church’s sacramental life gave St. Joan of Arc the strength to overcome.
The artist who sculpted and casted the statue is Julia Levitina, a young Ukrainian woman currently living in Philadelphia. She has received numerous awards in figure modeling and her sculptures are recognized for “uplifting the human spirit.”
A group of sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist capped the spirit of the occasion with an impromptu performance of “Salve Regina.” (see video below)
I can think of no better conclusion to this Blog than to quote from Mark Twain’s own Conclusions to Personal Recollection of Joan of Arc:
“Love, Mercy, Charity, Fortitude, War, Peace, Poetry, Music–these may be symbolized as any shall prefer: by figures of either sex and of any age; but a slender girl in her first young bloom, with the martyr’s crown upon her head, and in her hand the sword that severed her country’s bonds–shall not this, and no other, stand for PATRIOTISM through all the ages until time shall end?”