April 19, 1909: Joan of Arc receives beatification from the Roman Catholic Church
Joan of Arc made an impact on the Hundred Years’ War before being handed over to the English. After burning her at the stake for blasphemy and witchcraft in 1431, the Church had a change of heart almost 500 years later and decided to make her a saint.
Remembering her name
In 1432, a year after Joan’s execution, the French city of Orléans started a yearly tradition of celebrating her life. People from all over town came over with trinkets and shared memories of the war hero. In 1435, they decided to take things a bit further with a play about Joan. The town also gave her the Rocky Balboa treatment with her own statue. Unfortunately, the praise for Joan was met with opposition from the members of the French Revolution. These individuals decided to barge into town to permanently stop the play. That statue wasn’t safe from their rampage, either. They melted it down to transform it into a cannon.
Centuries of love
The love for Joan still burned over the centuries with various tributes. In 1849, Félix Dupanloup became bishop of Orléans, and he wanted Joan to be remembered forever. He sent a petition to the Roman Catholic Church to have her canonized. While Pope Pius IX was down, things were put on hold because of the Franco-Prussian War. Luckily, a handful of Cardinals voted for a canonization request to the Church. With Pope Leo XIII signing off on it, they were one step closer to redemption.
One final hurdle
In August 1902, they hit a massive speed bump with the request being tossed out in no time. The Church shut it down because they assumed she intentionally started the Siege of Paris. Their main problem was it beginning on the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus. This was like getting banned from your friend’s house after getting too drunk during their birthday party.
Over a year later, the Sacred Congregation of Rites had a meeting to discuss Joan’s fate. They all decided on one thing: Joan did what she did for the greater good. On April 18, 1909, Joan’s beatification ceremony officially took place with numerous Cardinals at hand. Through beatification, Joan’s soul was officially seen as Heaven bound by the Church. The following month, she was officially canonized. After nearly 500 years, Joan was finally rewarded for the sacrifices she made.