January 26, 2011.
During the general audience, Benedict XVI spoke about Joan of Arc as an example of a saint committed to the society of her time. The French saint, born to a family of simple peasants, fought against British occupation in the Hundred Years War.Benedict XVI“At the age of seventeen, Joan began her mission among the French military forces; she sought to negotiate a just Christian peace between the English and French.”
At the age of 19, Joan of Arc was captured by her enemies. After facing a long and nerve-wracking trial, she was sentenced to death at the stake in 1431. Benedict XVI“She was tried by an ecclesiastical court and burnt at the stake as a heretic; she died invoking the name of Jesus.”
Twenty-five years later, Pope Callistus III reviewed her trial and declared she was innocent. In 1920, Benedict XV named her as a saint.
Benedict XVI encouraged the audience to follow the example of social commitment set by Joan of Arc.Benedict XVI“May the prayers and example of Saint Joan of Arc inspire many lay men and women to devote themselves to public life in the service of God’s Kingdom.”
Among the 3,000 people at the audience were a group of British military chaplains, as well as students from the United States, Germany and Hong Kong, and a group of Chilean teachers all there to greet the Pope.