Monday 9 May 2022

Joan of Arc - Colin Jeffery and Paul Dunn and Sister Theresa Margaret DC - CTS Biographies

Joan of Arc
Colin Jeffery
Paul Dunn
Sister Theresa Margaret D.C. (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780851832999
ISBN 0851832997
CTS Booklet B517

Over the last five years I have read over 275 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society 70 of them have been part of the CTS Biographies Series. Of the ones that are out of print that I have tracked down this is one of the oldest. I recently picked up this volume and one on Saint Columban, this one is from 1980 and that one from 1981. And based on their B numbers there were 24 biographies published between the two over the 20 months. The other one from this vintage I have read is from 1978 Pope John Paul I by Stephen Dean. I have read several older ones but they are still in print or reprint or have eBook editions still available. Both of these are twice the size of the current format of the CTS booklets. They are both printed on glossy paper and have a number of full page colour images in the booklets. 

The description on the back of this booklet is:

“This is the story of a teenage girl who heard mysterious voices calling on her to save her country. She was sure that the call was from God, and she was believed. The country she helped to save was France. The invaders were the English ….”

The chapters and sections in this booklet are:

Saint Joan of Arc 1412-1431
The Young Joan
Captain of France
Maid of Orleans
On Trial as a Witch
Burnt Alive
Joan the Saint

This is the shortest booklet I have read from the Catholic Truth Society. It is listed as 16 pages, so would be 32 pages in the current form factor and sizing. But it still has a deeply moving story and introduction to Joan of Arc. It is pure hagiography, and does present Joan in an untarnished light. It was written to inspire and encourage. And it was well worth tracking down and reading. I highlighted several passages while reading through the booklet, some of them are:

“Joan was born at a time of great trouble and darkness for France. It was the end of a long series of Wars with England; the country was almost completely subdued.”

“The bitter humiliation of France was complete. But in only a few short years, everything changed. God used a young peasant girl to restore her lost pride and glory to France and her people.”

“She was thirteen when she first heard a mysterious voice. ‘It was midday, in early summer, in my father’s garden,’ she recalled years later. ‘I was very much afraid. The voice seemed to be coming from lips that I should reverence.’”

“From this time onward Joan’s life was slowly taken over and guided by the instructions she received from her voices.”

“Soon other voices came to her, although the first one remained her firm guide and help. She was able to identify the voices as belonging to the Archangel Michael, St Catherine and St Margaret.”

“The voice from the Archangel Michael told her that God would use her to save France. She received the message with a humility that was never to desert her. Thus God chose the lowliest of his children to accomplish his purpose for France.”

“As soon as Joan was declared ‘Captain of France,’ there came a great change among the soldiers. Before, they had been swearing, intemperate, and disheartened. Now, under her inspiration, they became a fearless, confident victorious army. Volunteers flocked in their hundreds to swell the depleted ranks.”

“”The Bailiff of Chrales said of her: “Apart from the affairs of was she was simple and innocent, but in the conduct of troops, and in actual warfare, in the ordering of battle, and in animating the soldiers, she behaved as the most skilful captain in the world.’”

“But her voices gave her strength and purpose. The Archangel Michael told her: ‘Be resigned. Have no care for your martyrdom. For you shall surely come in the end of the Kingdom of Paradise.’”

“The heroine of Orleans, the idol of France, the messenger from God, who had kept faithful to her voices, was burnt alive on May 30, 1431, and her ashes were thrown into the river Seine.”

“Twenty-five years after her death a papal commission investigating the case declared the trial and its verdict null and void, and completely vindicated Joan.”

“She was named second patron saint of France by Pope Pius XI.”

This volume was an excellent little read. When I was in university there was a whole course offered by the Religious Studies Department on Joan, Joan in history, fiction and literature. The course never fit my schedule but this would have been an excellent volume as either required or supplemental reading. I am thankful I was able to track a copy down and am certain it would bless reads of all ages. Another great read in the CTS Biographies Series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

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