The story of her prison life is a record of shame to her goalers. Chained, mocked at, threatened, and insulted, her serenity never failed. She was in God's hand, and she bowed to His will.Hallowed Ground has some rare images of St. Joan and her beatification.Months of suffering and anxiety passed over her before her captors made up their minds as to the course they would take to bring about her death under the semblance of legal execution. If she could be convicted by an ecclesiastical court of crimes against the faith, her condemnation would redound to the fair fame of England and of the pious House of Lancaster, while covering the French and their sovereign with confusion as the allies and associates of a minister of hell. (3).... ( The House of Lancaster was fervently orthodox. Persecution of heretics begins with Henry IV. The "Cardinal of England" (Beaufort Bishop of Winchester) was the malicious attacker of heretics at home and abroad. He spoke against the Hussites at the Council of Basle, and he planned Crusades against both heretics and "Saracens.")Pliant churchmen were at hand to give countenance and help in this undertaking bishops full of zeal and loyalty for our sovereign lord Henry VI, by the grace of God King of France and England.The worst of these servile churchmen was the wretched Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon. Many other prelates were Caesar's friends, but he sits exalted in solitary infamy. He came to the Burgundian camp and claimed his victim in the name of Bedford, Regent of France for the English King. Had Jeanne been detained by the Burgundians, it is impossible to believe that Charles VII would not have procured her release. Had she been held as a prisoner of war by the English, it is very likely that the shame of holding a woman captive in their hands would have made it possible to arrange for her ransom. But once charged with heresy and taken out of the hands of the Burgundians such hopes and chances were closed. Still, as an ecclesiastical prisoner she would have been entitled to counsel and guidance by religious persons, the Church offering admonition before preferring grave charges of rebellion against any of her children. But this would render her punishment uncertain. Grave doctors of the law and eminent churchmen had at Poitiers, after long inquiry, declared her worthy of trust and they might do so again.Therefore it was determined that she should be held in a lay prison though charged with an ecclesiastical offense. Cut off in this way from all spiritual help and instruction, she was to be brought, when the process was ripe, before a well-chosen court bent on her destruction, and ready to entangle her in questions which might entrap her into erroneous or heretical statements.And once more we are confronted, if we try to rationalize her life and put away all belief in inspiration, with the amazing problem as to where and how this untutored girl drew her stores of logic, law, and theology.
Novena prayer in honor of St. Joan. Let us pray for all priests and bishops.