ST. JOAN OF ARC (30th May)
The “Maid of Orleans” and liberator of France, Jean d’Arc was a native of Domremy in Lorraine. The youngest of five children of a poor farmer named Jacques, she was born on 6th January 1412 and from her 13th year, was conscious of supernatural “voices” directing her. Three years later these voices (Sts Michael, Margaret and Catherine) insistently urged her to lead the French King’s armies to victory over the English, just when their complete defeat seemed imminent – “It is God who commands it!” Charles VII, to test her when she came to court, disguised himself and mingled with the countries, but Joan singled him out quickly and won his confidence by revealing to him a personal secret. The city of Orleans was on the point of falling into English hands, when Joan’s arrival reanimated the defenders so that by successful sorties they were able to raise the siege. Other towns were similarly freed, and in 1429 Charles VII was solemnly crowned in the cathedral of Rhymes, with Joan standing near him. He later conferred nobility on Joan.
Joan was captured at Campaign by the Burgandians, the ungrateful Charles abandoned her to her fate – she was sold by her captors to the English, who, in order to rid themselves of one who inspired their troops with superstitious terror, had her condemned for witchery by subservient prelates and judges. On 30 May 1431, just 19, she was burned alive at the stake at Rouen. A generation later, a re-trial of her case, at the request of her family, established Joan’s complete innocence.
Joan of Arc was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on 16 May 1920. She is the Patron of France.
ST. MARIA GORETTI (6th July)
Maria Goretti was born the third of seven children of a farm labourer at Corinaldo in the Italy in the year 1890. Never able to attend school, she received a thorough grounding in Christian virtue from her devout though illiterate mother. She was very cheerful and encouraged her mother after the death of father. She was a person of great strength and courage. She resisted the violent advances of a young man who struck her with the dagger and plunged it into her back and ran away. Even in such a situation, she was concerned about her mother and the murderer. She died 24 hours later on the 6th of July 1902 but not before forgiving him. She appeared to this man in a dream picking flowers and offering it to him, On 26th April, 1947, she was declared blessed by Pope Pius XII and on 25th June, 1950, she was canonized.
ST. TERESA OF THE CHILD JESUS (30th September)
St. Teresa was born on 2nd January 1873. Her childhood was happy and ordinary. She was intelligent and open and had an impressionable mind. She was drawn to religious life at the age of 14. On the 9th of April 1888, she entered the Carmel at Lisieux, where her two sisters had already joined. St. Teresa discharged all the duties of a Carmelite nun with great fervour at all times. A childlike simplicity, utter humility, constant self-sacrifice, and a boundless love of God and trust in him were some of her most outstanding virtues. It was through her “Little Way” of performing perfectly the small duties of everyday life for the love of God that she has become the model and inspiration. On the 30th of September 1897, she died with the words of divine love on her lips. In 1925, she was beatified by Pope Pius XI as St. Teresa of Child Jesus. In 1927, she was named a heavenly patronist of all foreign missions.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER (3rd December)
St. Francis Xavier was born on 7th April 1506 at the castle of Xavier near Pamplona, Spain. At the age of 18, he went to the University of Parish. He met Ignatius Loyola. He was one of the band of seven, the Firsts Jesuits who vowed themselves to the service of God. During his travel, he had to settle quarrels, quell complaints, check swearing and gaming and remedy other disorders because there were all sorts of passengers on the ship. They arrived in Goa on 6th of May, 1542. The scandalous behaviour of the Christians in Goa was like a challenge to Francis Xavier and he opened his mission with them. He busied himself learning the local language, nursing and comforting the sick, preaching and teaching catechism. He was instructing them in the principles of religion and forming the young to the practice of virtue. He was one with the people, he ate the food that was of the poorest and slept on the ground. On 3rd of December 1552, he died with a candle burning in his hands and the name of Jesus on his lips. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622.