Joan of Arc: ‘Unlikely,’ Maiden Saviors of France—and Catholicism Pt. 1

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Saint or Sorceress?

A century after her canonization, most people today have only a cursory knowledge of St. Joan of Arc, yet there remains a strangely binary predisposition to either love or hate her. This began nearly six hundred years ago with the onset of her most extraordinary role in the liberation of France from English invasion. In the 1840’s the records of her trials were unearthed by the historian and archivist, Jules Quicherat. In them Joan is found to be a witch by a corrupt, English-sympathizing, ecclesial court and then exonerated by “rehabilitation” proceedings in Rome twenty-five years later. Prior to this rediscovery, her story was viewed more “as a vaguely defined romance than as definite and authentic history.”[1] The three-hundred-year lapse in availability of this precise history was lamentable fodder of books and plays which have become cultural icons. One such example is Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part One, which portrays Joan as a manipulating, witchy villain. These unforgettable (albeit erroneous) caricatures of Joan inevitably allow for remnants of misrepresentation to continue to play a role in the naysaying surrounding her life and mission. Additionally, her true femininity and piety are ever more counter-cultural and consequently polarizing, such that in the divided court of public opinion, she remains either saint or sorceress. Yet the validity of the incredibly bizarre, miraculous events surrounding Joan’s life, as well as her singularly virtuous character, is confirmed under oath by eyewitnesses.[2] Indeed, the evidence from Joan’s trials and rehabilitation records abundantly affirms the saintly quality of this truly feminine, maiden savior of France, who in her preservation of France, also safeguarded Catholicism.

Maid of Orleans

St. Joan of Arc, virgin, mystic, martyr, and prophetess is regarded by her admirers, and indeed the Church, as a heroine deliverer of France for her role during the last phase of the bloody Hundred Years’ War with England. She was given the nickname “Maid of Orleans” for her success in heading a relief army against a devastating, seven-month siege in Orleans which collapsed only nine days later on the feast of St. Michael. The victory for France held strategic and symbolic significance: for either side, occupancy of Orleans was necessary to win the war.

Restoring Lost Sovereignty to the ‘Frog’ Underdogs

Within nine months, notwithstanding hating the sight of blood and never herself having killed anyone, Joan also led timely victories along the Loire River, including a crushing defeat at Patay. This afforded the French, who had been under the rule of the English King Henry VI, the ability to name the (contested-by-the-English) heir Charles VII as their legitimate king. The consecration of the king at Rheims (which had been captured by the English) was consequently a long-desired event by his countrymen, despite the corrupt influence of his court and his own flagrant ineptitude.[3] This restoring of France’s lost sovereignty, along with the return of nearly all significant parcels of land previously riven from France by England—thanks in largest part to the victories led by Joan of Arc—boosted the exhausted morale of the French and forged the way for the 1453 liberation of Bordeaux. This Battle of Castillon marked the end to the Hundred Years’ War, which had long ravaged the “frog” underdogs.

An Unlikely Deliverer of France

Joan, a most improbable aspirant for these tasks, did not conceive of them herself. She began as a humble, fifteenth-century, peasant girl residing in a tiny, no-name, northeast farm village of France. She lived there simply and contentedly with her family and friends. Though she had been taught prayers and the basics of her Faith by her pious family, she had nothing akin to formal education and like most of her acquaintance, could not read or write. She had never seen a battle, had not ridden a (saddled) horse, nor had any idea how to lead men, much less how to conceive of or execute military tactics and strategies. Instead, she was often at Mass, had great compassion on the poor and wounded, and like all the girls in her neck of late-medieval France, took pride in her spinning and sewing. Joan herself stated that there was nobody in all the world who could recover the kingdom for France if not for her, though she would have rather remained spinning at her mother’s side, for it was not her “condition” to undertake the mission, despite her Lord willing it.[4] She was the improbable, young King David destined to slay Goliath.

Yet for This Joan Was Born

Still, she began her holy quest by confidently and fearlessly presenting herself to the Dauphin, the then-as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII. Playing off a statement from Joan that she would be able to recognize him no matter his concealment, the king disguised himself from her upon their first meeting. She immediately spotted him among his courtiers, knelt before him instead of any of the more nobly dressed advisors, and announced to him in a humble yet matter-of-fact manner that God had sent her to save France.

Having undertaken the journey to Chinon through lands held by England and the dukes of Burgundy who disputed Charles VII’s pedigree, Joan unflinchingly told the Dauphin she had been commanded by God, Michael the Archangel, and the [S]aints Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch to undertake three tasks—to save the city of Orleans from the nearly one-hundred-year English invasion, to see the Dauphin crowned and consecrated at Rheims, deep in enemy territory, and to force the English out of France.[5]

She told the King that she was unafraid, that for this she was born.

A Maiden Savior from Heaven or Hell?

To determine whether Joan’s commands came from heaven or hell, the king requested that she undergo an extensive, three-week questioning at Poitiers by a committee of bishops and theologians. They reported back to him that they found nothing in her contrary to the Catholic faith, “no evil, but only good, humility, virginity, devotion, honesty, simplicity”[6] and that, considering the necessity, the king should make use of her to help him, “for at that time, there was no hope but in God.”[7] In addition, they warned that to repel the assistance would be to offend the Holy Spirit and render him unworthy of the aid of God.[8] Despite these findings, the king did not initially show great respect for Joan and intended her only to be a figurehead.[9] Still, Joan managed requests of the king, including that he give his kingdom to the King of Heaven who would in return restore him to his original estate.[10] She was able to gradually convince him, among others, of the authenticity of her mission in part by various foretelling: disclosing to the king a fear which was previously known only by him—most probably having to do with whether he was true heir descending from the House of France, which Joan affirmed;[11] the date when she herself would be wounded in battle; as well as specific, future victories—including precise nature, place, and time-limit.  And the conquests did come, one after the other, all led by the seventeen-year-old maiden clad in white armor, la Puchelle.

A Selfless Heroine

During her battles, Joan carried a banner patterned in fleurs-de-lis and bearing the names of Jesus and Mary, indicative of her stalwart devotion to God, the Church, and her homeland. She was in fact a highly determined warrior, never wanting to negotiate or be cautious.[12] When asked why her flag was displayed so prominently at the king’s coronation, she replied simply and poignantly that it had borne the burden, it had earned the honor.[13] Joan was told to choose her reward by the king for her part in his long overdue coronation. She selflessly asked only that her little village never be taxed again and expressed a desire to return home when France was freed.

Joan’s Trial and Condemnation

            Yet Joan would never see her homeland again, and her biggest challenges lay ahead of her. She would bear the ongoing and cowardly incompetence and disloyalty of the king, deception from within her own ranks, and the unabashed corruption of prominent French Church officials. She faced all with remarkably heroic courage and determination.     

Despite [her] unprecedented victor[ies], the apathetic Charles VII neglected to launch her against Paris while the army’s morale was high. When an assault was finally launched, Joan failed to take the city. As efforts were underway to make further assay for Paris, Joan was captured by the Burgundians [French sympathizers of the English] and sold to the English as a prisoner. After several escape attempts from her mocking captors, Joan was dragged before fifty clerical judges to stand trial as a heretic.

Determined to delegitimize the king Joan had put on the throne of France, her accusers had difficulty [however] in their illegal proceedings due to the sharp intelligence of their victim. Joan deftly answered questions of tremendous theological complexity and subtlety, giving her accusers little ground on which to base their accusation as they pressured her to confess to witchcraft, fabrications, and a plot to dress like a man.[14]

Seeking to pin Joan as a heretic and sorceress, the shrewdness of her enemies, led by the bishop of Beauvais, ally of the Burgundians—via six public and nine private sessions of an ecclesial court—eventually ensnared her.

In the end, notwithstanding a remarkably capable self-defense in which she never wavered in her Catholic devotion, Joan was condemned to be burned at the stake. Abandoned by many of the French nobles and even the cowardly ingrate, Charles VII—who had refused to help her upon her capture, she knelt praying for her French king and country in a last display of faith in God’s ability to work through even the weakest of men and nations. As the flames of martyrdom rose, it was an Englishman who held a makeshift cross for her to kiss.[15]

The French Church sadly held pockets which were not immune to political corruption. Albeit posthumously, Joan received, at length, a fair trial. In 1456, approximately twenty-five years after her death, she was found by Rome to be a martyr. The court which had previously tried her was declared to have violated Church law, and the bishop of Beauvais, who headed the illegal proceedings against her, was excommunicated. Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

A Victory Three Hundred Years in Coming

Charles VII came to be a more competently decisive king after Joan’s death and even supported her rehabilitation trial in Rome. (It has been argued, however, given Joan had placed him on the throne, that he wanted to help bolster the legitimacy of his pedigree in consideration of the initial condemnation of Joan as heretic.) He revamped his army and persuaded the duke of Burgundy to break his alliance with the English. Victories were won over Normandy and Bordeaux, the final English hold in southern France. Only the port city of Calais on the northern coast of France was left to the English, ending their decisive (though somewhat intermittent) grip going back to the days of William the Conqueror.[16]

Mythical Merlin’s Prophecy

Eager to validate Joan’s mission, the late-medieval French were fond of recalling the mythical prophecy of Merlin some eight hundred years prior, that France would be lost by a woman and restored by a woman.[17] They believed the betrayer to be the calamitous Isabel of Bavaria, married to the insane Charles VI. She was infamous for her baseness and for her part in the signing of the Treaty of Troyes in 1420. The agreement recognized King Henry V of England as heir to the French crown rather than her own son Charles (afterward VII).  The redeemer, of course, they believed to be Joan, the Maid of Lorraine. It is the mere stuff of legend but for the hindsight of history.

A Surprising Defense from Mark Twain

In more modern times, a most compelling defense of Joan comes from a surprising source: Mark Twain. Devoting over a decade to meticulously researching every detail of her life, the literary Realist and religious skeptic Twain was in part convinced by the stranger-than-fiction events of her life: her extraordinary military successes, her ability to lead and challenge men to heroism, her prophecies, and her brilliant self-defense in court. Perhaps even more convincing to him was the virtuous genius of her character seeming to come quite literally from “nowhere.” That is, if nowhere may be equated with Domremy, an obscure, “humble little hamlet of [Joan’s] remote time and region,”[18] which could not have possibly offered her any knowledge, much less experience, in preparation of her sensational military and court trial escapades. Moreover,

For Twain, the documents of Joan’s famous trial in 1431, and the ‘Rehabilitation’ proceedings after her death represent a complete, legal, and trustworthy source for her biography. What emerges from these extensive trial documents, eyewitness accounts, and manuscripts is simply St. Joan of Arc, with all her holiness, her prophecies, and her visions. And the facts point unmistakably to God’s power. It is as if Twain’s commitment to Realism defeats his skepticism…. Twain writes in his prefatory note to the novel: ‘The details of the life of Joan of Arc form a biography which is unique among the world’s biographies in one respect: it is the only story of a human life which comes to us under oath, the only one which comes to us from the witness-stand.’ Joan’s well-documented life, then, becomes a kind of case study for God’s activity in human life and history.[19]

The very trial which was designed to be the means to vilify Joan affords history the ability to judge her life from crucible of irrefutable documentation, countering her modern, likely misinformed skeptics.

‘Woke’ Disparagement of the True Joan

Still, there are naysayers. To begin, the “woke” of today have unintentionally effected a disparagement of Joan among some would-be, more conservative admirers in claiming her as their own. She is touted by extreme feminists as a medieval exemplar to their cause. Their argument is that she took on the duty and clothing of men to intentionally show that she could outsmart and overpower them. Some also argue that Joan was a crossdresser or lesbian. Her chastity in general is an ongoing target for dispute, as presented in the likes of the aforementioned, Shakespeare’s King Henry VI.

Dressing Like a Man

In regards her dress, it was at the suggestion of fellow soldiers that she first cropped her hair and wore armor for practicality in fighting, as well as for disguise and protection against men lacking in virtue.[20] A theologian chancellor at the University of Paris stated at the time that since Joan had to do the work of a man and soldier, it was just and legitimate that her apparel should conform to the situation.[21] The ancient sword she donned (though never used) was found as a result of her “Voices” telling her of its previously unknown whereabouts behind the altar of St. Catherine’s at Fierbois.[22] (This shows obedience to her Voices, rather than her own initiative, in carrying it.) She in fact requested that she be buried in a long dress if she should die in prison (sadly a superfluous request given the mode of her execution). And, when she was not on military duty, she resumed her usual long dress of the day. There simply is not evidence that she wore armor during her campaigns for any other reason than those concerning pragmatism and safety.

The corrupt court which first tried her asked that she sign an agreement to no longer wear male clothing, under threat of execution. Regardless of whether she knew what she was signing (as an illiterate), she was placed in a prison with men; her statements indicate the danger to which she was subjected. It seems quite logical that she would feel the need to resume wearing men’s clothing for protection. There is additional documentation that her normal women’s attire may have been removed, forcing her to wear men’s clothing. In any case, her ‘breaking’ the agreement became the justification for her execution.

In Defense of Joan’s Chastity

Concerning allegations against her virginity and possible lesbian inclinations, “Joan called herself ‘Joan the Maiden,’ explicitly identifying herself as chaste. [Moreover,] in her trial, she was never charged with being attracted to women. The very witnesses who said she sometimes shared a bed with other females [a common practice of the time] also attested to her life of chastity.” [23] She was known to be very devout. She even required all in the army to attend daily Mass and frequent the confessional (a singular request and monumental accomplishment in any age) in addition to ordering her Lord High Admiral La Hire to remove all loose women from the ranks. It seems unlikely that she would adhere to her faith so canonically in all other matters, even demanding it of others, only to purportedly make a personal exception for living in an unchaste manner, especially given abundant eyewitness account to the contrary.[24]

True Femininity of France’s Maiden Savior

In respect to Joan wishing to uphold extreme feminism, there is no indication that she took on a man’s role for any self-gratifying reasons, much less to dominate men. She extolled true feminine virtues of strength through meekness and practicality and obedience. Joan herself was adamant that God chose the meanest of creatures for His work and that it was by His command and protection and strength, not hers, that she was to lead His armies, win back France, and set the crown upon the Dauphin.[25] She embraced her relative physical weakness and her ignorance of all things military as testimony of God’s glory, believing that if she had been a more probable candidate for the job, His miraculous intervention would have been less evident. It is noteworthy that she never encouraged other girls to join the army while she herself raised the dignity of women through her chaste and dynamic manner of living.[26] France adopted her as patron, after all, not for her alleged championing of feminism, but for her manifest and selfless defense of God and country.

In feminists’ insistence that women must behave as men to become their equal, there is an implication that women are inferior to men. But Joan did not intend to behave like a man, nor did she feel inferior to them. Nor was she trying to argue for the superiority of women; rather, her life spontaneously spoke to the compelling brilliance of a physically, mentally, and spiritually balanced person who exemplified proper fear of the Lord. Indeed, “the matter of sex was a mere accident in the story of Joan of Arc. What was essential was Joan’s bravery and holiness.”[27] True to a saint’s nature, she was determined to follow God’s will rather than her own in a heroic and virtuous manner, ultimately giving her life without ever having denied Him or His mission. She obeyed the commands of God in the effort to save France at great personal sacrifice. Her own desire would have been to never embark on the holy quest, yet she willingly was subject to God’s.

Did God Behave ‘Ungodly’?

Another category of protest has to do with Joan’s holy pursuit itself: Why would God intervene so blatantly to oust the English from France, both Catholic peoples at the time—also necessitating that Charles VII, a very unimpressive heir, be crowned? And why did He ask a saint to lead this effort in a bloody, rather than more ‘Christian,’ manner?

This argumentation goes beyond what St. Joan of Arc’s accusers themselves set to prove. Their aim was simply to establish Joan as a witch or heretic. They did not go so far as to imply that if she were not, God must have therefore supported an unjust, needlessly bloody war. The argument therefore poses an unhappy alternative: It posits that God would not ask for anyone to lead a ‘needless’ war and in such a bloody manner. Since Joan claimed she was led by God, she must therefore be either deceiving or deceived (by Satan). If she were truly following the commands of God, then God behaved ‘ungodly’ in pitting Catholic against Catholic in the setting of horrific and unwarranted war.

It would seem safe to assume that Joan did indeed follow the commands of God in consideration of the rigorous requirements for Catholic canonization in conjunction with her miraculous life events being one of the best documented in history.[28] There remains the matter, then, of why God would conduct the liberation of France in such a ‘barbaric’ manner and whether there was any true necessity in freeing France from English rule (and in doing so putting a lamentable dauphin upon the throne). What must God have been thinking?

Regarding the manner liberation: a Dominican priest asked Joan during her early questioning at Portiers why God, given that He can do whatever He wills, would need men at arms to deliver France. Joan responded that God helps those who help themselves and that the sons of France were to fight the battles, but God would give the victory.[29]

Heavenly, Blood-Stained Battles?

[photo credit: festivalflags.com]

Holy battles involving heaven are not without precedent. There are numerous examples in the Old Testament of bloody wars being directed by God: Israel versus Jericho (Joshua 6); Israel versus Philistines (1 Samuel 7); Nebuchadnezzar versus Pharaoh (Jeramiah 46), etc. There are some in the era of Christendom as well. For example, Constantine defeated Maxentius after receiving a vision in which he heard the words, “In this sign you will conquer,” referring to the Chi Rho (serving in place of the Cross, which was forbidden by the Roman authorities). The victory allowed for the edict of Milan, granting legal status to Christians in 313. There was also the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire. Pius V had requested that the faithful petition the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the recitation of the Rosary, so when word reached the pope of the victory, he issued a new feast of Our Lady of Victory (now Holy Rosary). The victory was necessary to safeguard both Europe and Christendom. In consideration of these examples, the bloody manner, then, of Joan’s battles need not necessarily preclude intervention by God, especially if other means have been shown to be ineffective.

Pitting One Catholic Nation against Another

To this point, there is the fact that “every French king for 200 years had tried by war, confiscation or treaty to regain Aquitaine,”[30] the region of which the English Kings were dukes, which, however, belonged to France. (The English believed this gave Edward III right to claim the crown of France in 1337, after the Capetian king died without a successor. This was a catalyst of the Hundred Years’ War since according to French law, the heir could not pass through the mother, as in the case of Edward.) Diplomacy, then, in the form of treaties, was attempted at various times, indicating ongoing efforts toward war as a last resort. Yet given that both countries were Catholic at the time, there remains the question whether it was truly essential—a just cause—that France remain a sovereign nation. Leaving worldly politics aside, does it seem reasonable that God would have felt the need to intervene to liberate one Catholic nation from another?

Protestant Reformation Was Close at Hand

To attempt to put human speculation upon the ‘necessity’ of an all-knowing God orchestrating St. Joan of Arc’s role in the saving of France from the-then Catholic England, perhaps one consideration would be the Protestant Reformation, occurring less than a century after the death of Joan. In other words, while England and France were both Catholic at the time of the One Hundred Years War, England would soon not be. King Henry VIII was the major force in England abandoning entirely its Catholicity in favor of Protestantism (although there had been some precursors to this distancing from Rome, notably the Wycliffe rebellion in the fourteenth century.) Had France not lifted the siege at Orleans, the mechanism for her reclaiming her lost land to England, she would have soon become totally under English control. And consequently, the “Eldest Daughter of the Church” would be no longer.

France Would Become a Hot House for Devotions

Though the Catholicism of France would later greatly diminish due to ideology surrounding the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and though its Catholicity today continues to wane, the argument could be made that God determined a stronghold was needed at the time to provide a nurturing backdrop for the then-future, formal promulgation of several important Catholic devotions. Among them are those to the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, and the Holy Face—all ‘originating’ in France after the Hundred Years’ War (albeit having gradually developed from the onset of Christendom). While an in-depth discussion of the significance of these is beyond the scope of this article, it should be noted the three are complementary and are considered by most devout as no less than essential to modern Catholic piety. Additionally, they are increasingly relevant due to the crucial, mystical role they provide man in the mitigation of what the Catholic Catechism terms, a “final trial that will shake the faith of many believers [in the Church],”[31] commonly referred to as the great tribulation, borrowing from the Book of Revelation.[32]

France’s Marian Apparitions

Related to this are the copious Marian apparitions occurring in France after the time of Joan of Arc. The following is a map from National Geographic [33] which shows the number of approved Marian apparitions by nation. While France has the most exhibiting widespread “liturgical veneration endorsed by the Holy See,” England has none. This is not to say that England lacks devoted Catholics—it is, on the contrary, renowned for its martyrs of the same era. Rather, it is to illustrate in measurable terms the importance of France’s then-stalwart Catholicism in contributing to the modern spirituality of the faithful. For whatever reason, Mary appeared in areas which upheld the Faith and which in turn, enjoyed increased piety via devotions springing from these apparitions. In practical terms, France’s Catholicity would also help enable initial approval of these apparitions from the local bishop, paving the way for Rome’s approval. (Apparitions occurring in a hostile-to-Catholics period in England, for example, would have a very difficult time gaining Church approval, in that there would be no local bishop to which one could appeal for such.) Among those in France which are recognized by the Vatican, are: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, La Salette, Lourdes, Laus, and Pontmain. They continue to speak to the times regarding the importance of hope, faith, grace, prayer, penance, conversion, and the love and protection of Our Holy Mother for her children.

Who Is Man to Answer Back to God?

Regardless of what one may conclude from the above, given the amazing and apparently miraculous life and mission of St. Joan of Arc, cemented for all time in the records of her trials and in the rigorous investigative processes surrounding her canonization, there seems a call to submit humbly to what one may not understand regarding the ways of God. In The Book of Job, God explains to Job and his friends that since man cannot comprehend the greatness and wisdom of the Creator and Ruler of the universe, he should bend humbly and trustingly under the hand of the Almighty.[34] Wisdom, instead of scrutinizing the behavior of God, is rather, practicing fear of the Lord.[35] “Who is man to answer back to God?”[36] One does well to remember that God is not subject to the moral ‘constraints’ of man.

If God were bound to morality contrived by men, there would arguably be no Noah’s Flood, no Sodom and Gomorrah, no slaying by Joshua of Hazor and his people, nor even the Son of God being sacrificed for the sake of mere mortals—all involving the ‘messy’ love and mercy and justice of the Almighty which is hard for man to comprehend in his day-to-day living and dying and pondering. And, perhaps, there would be no salvation of France by an unlikely, maiden savior in the form of a bloody war between one Catholic nation and another. But the Ancient of Days has a say over man’s morality—not the other way around.

Unlikely Proved Extraordinary

St. Joan of Arc is a heroine for all time. Like all saints, she is an example of what men may be if they exchange their wills for God’s, exemplifying proper fear of the Lord. She boosted the exhausted morale of the French and does the same for Catholics today—as well as for Mark Twain-like skeptics. Her virtue, genius, heroism, courage, and mission are all stranger-than-fiction truths preserved under the oath of the witness stand, attesting to God’s ongoing involvement in man’s life and history. France’s maiden savior was as unlikely as she proved extraordinary, each attribute manifesting the majesty and mystery of God. And, in her saving of France, Joan safeguarded Catholicism.

She bore the burden; she earned the honor.


One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.

Joan of Arc


One of the devotions mentioned above, that of the Holy Face, was initiated in France just after the time of the Revolution and is ever more relevant today. A young French Carmelite received revelations from Christ Himself in which she was asked to engage in a mystical battle to save France and the Church. The devotion was meant to engage all people and nations in the spiritual significance of our times, for it promises to defeat communism and is a spiritual armament against moral relativism and modernism. The ‘unlikely,’ maiden soul chosen to receive these messages will be the subject of the second part in this blog series. Her name is Sister Marie de Saint Pierre.


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[1] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 441 and Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 443.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 70, 113

[4] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 35.

[5] Fitzpatrick, Sean, “St. Joan of Arc: Girl Power or Godly Power?” Crisis Magazine (May 29, 2021), https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/st-joan-of-arc-girl-power-or-godly-power (accessed May 30, 2021).

[6] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 58.

[7] Ibid., 51, 57.

[8] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 140.

[9] Neves, Kathryn. “Joan of Arc: A Hero or a Villian?” The professional Theatre at Southern Utah University News/Blog (April 19, 2018), Joan of Arc: A Hero or a Villian? — Utah Shakespeare Festival (bard.org) (accessed July 1, 2021).

[10] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 50.

[11] Ibid., 53.

[12] Taylor, Larissa Juliet, The Virgin Warrior: The Life and Death of Joan of Arc (New Haven: Yale University, 2009), 98.

[13] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 446.

[14] Sean Fitzpatrick, “St. Joan of Arc: Girl Power or Godly Power?” Crisis Magazine (May 29, 2021),  https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/st-joan-of-arc-girl-power-or-godly-power (accessed May 30, 2021).

[15] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 231.

[16] Zehnder, Christopher. Light to the Nations, Part One: The History of Christian Civilization, ed. Rollin Lasseter (United States: Catholic Textbook Project, 2014), 398.

[17] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 44.

[18] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 34.

[19] Franklin, Kelly Scott, “Why Was ‘Joan of Arc’ Mark Twain’s Favorite among All His Many Books?” The Catholic World Report May 29, 2021), http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/05/20/why-was-joan-of-arc-mark-twains-favorite-among-all-his-many-books (accessed May 30, 2021).

[20] Janet Meyer, “St. Joan of Arc,” Catholic Stand (June 2019), https://catholicstand.com/st-joan-of-arc (accessed June 28, 2021).

[21] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 144.

[22] Ibid., 145.

[23] Janet Meyer, “St. Joan of Arc,” Catholic Stand (June 2019), https://catholicstand.com/st-joan-of-arc (accessed June 28, 2021).

[24] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 63-64.

[25] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 77.

[26] “Joan of Arc—Saint or Witch?” Church History (March 2018), https://churchhistory.org/pages/booklets/st-joan(n).htm (accessed June 28, 2021).

[27] Sean Fitzpatrick, “St. Joan of Arc: Girl Power or Godly Power?” Crisis Magazine (May 29, 2021),  https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/st-joan-of-arc-girl-power-or-godly-power (accessed May 30, 2021).

[28] Twain, Mark, Joan of Arc (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007), 441.

[29] Pernoud, Regine, Joan of Arc by Herself and Her Witnesses (Lanham: Scarborough House, 1994), 55.

[30] Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror (New York: Ballantine Books, 1978), 72. My emphasis.

[31] CCC 675-77.

[32] Rev. 2:22

[33] Curtesy National Geographic, based on the Catholic website Miracle Hunter. 500 Years of Virgin Mary Sightings in One Map (nationalgeographic.com)

[34] John Laux. Chief Truths of the Faith. (Charlotte: Saint Benedict Press, 1990), 30.

[35] Job 28:28 (Douay-Rheims).

[36] Romans 9:19


 

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Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Moa [Paradox of the Day/www.paradoxoftheday.com]

Communism Is the Deadliest Ideology

To borrow from Dr.Paul Kengor’s book title on the subject, communism is “the killingest idea ever.”[1] Indeed, no other ideology is as deadly, slaughtering an estimated, nearly one hundred million people to date. Victims span Russia, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Afghanistan. The ideology’s ‘accomplishments’ of human annihilation outnumber those of Nazi fascism by a factor of ten. This is not to mention the “wretched poverty, rank repression, and sheer violence” of communism.[2] The facts portray a regime that epitomizes death and devastation.

Communism: Anti-Human, Anti-Family, and Anti-God

But communism does not just kill people or make their lives miserable. Its ideology is anti-human, anti-family, and anti-God.  It strikes at the very image of God in man, corroding human dignity by destroying freedom and individual rights, undermining the nuclear family, and stamping out religion— most expressly, Catholicism. In fact, there were twice as many martyrs in the twentieth century as there were in the previous nineteen centuries of Christian history combined, the great majority of these having given their lives for Christ at the hands of communist regimes.[3] Communism is the enemy of humanity—and Christianity.

Brothers in Christ Versus Comrades in the Antichrist

One could argue that the Church is to Christ as communism is to the Antichrist. Venerable Fulton Sheen stated in the 1940’s, “The conflict of the future is between an absolute who is the God-Man and an absolute which is man-god; between the God who became Man and the man who makes himself god; between brothers in Christ and comrades in the [A]nti[c]hrist.”[4] Communism, as premier anti-God-Man-and-pro-man-god ‘dogma,’ is the ultimate nemesis of the Holy Face of Christ, which is the emblem of both the God-Man and Godhead Itself.[5] As such, communism is the logical face of the Antichrist. In the Holy Face Devotion, God requests that the “brothers of Christ” participate in an explicit, modern means to counter the death and dark of the “comrades in the Antichrist,” restoring life and light to the masses,[6] reviving the Face of Christ in man. God chooses that modern man play a role in the Holy Face ‘face off’ with communism, engaging him in the spiritual warfare of the age.

But Is Modern Socialism Really So Bad?

One might contend, however, that this is surely taking the matter too far. While few today would think destroying lives or the killing of innocent people or the stamping out of the nuclear family and religion is a good way to bring about ‘utopia for the masses,’ the notion of an idealistic existence in which all have a share in a ‘workers’ paradise’ is surely worth salvaging. After all, the first Christians lived in such a way, sharing equally among all members. Is not modern socialism an effort toward such perfect social justice? Though both the Soviets and Nazis referred to themselves as “socialists,” is not the twenty-first century idea of socialism a far cry from these (and quite distinct from communism per se)? Sadly, the facts suggest not. At best, even moderate socialism is the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent, where the body of communism follows close behind.

Voluntary Versus Forced Charity

To begin, there is a categorical difference between giving charitably to others voluntarily, as in the case of the early Christians, and being mandated to do so by a totalitarian regime, or ‘even’ by a twenty-first century, socialist notion of forced redistribution.

Christian charity is the antithesis of socialism. We gain merit when we take what [is] ours and offer it, out of compassion, to someone in need. There is absolutely no merit in advocating that government redistribute what it acquires through taxes, confiscation, or collectivization (which are the only ways government can acquire wealth).[7]

Ironically, in socialism, individual charity goes against the very idea of government providing for all basic needs, or collective social action, and is therefore viewed as an impediment to the cause. Charity becomes ‘anti-social.’ From God’s perspective, however, the stripping of true charity from man’s social framework is robbing his life of meaning.[8]

Catholicism and Socialism Are Mutually Exclusive

In fact, Catholics are forbidden to be members of even the more moderate forms of socialism, as Pope Pius XI states in his Quadragesimo Anno.[9] Pope Saint John XXIII also held that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism.[10] Popes Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XII, Saint Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, and Benedict XVI all unequivocally condemned socialism for a variety of irreconcilable offenses to Catholic doctrine, adamant that no one can be both a good Catholic and a true socialist.

A Hellish, Far Cry from Utopia

The early Christians emphasized shared work as well as shared benefit. St. Paul clearly states that “if any man will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Evidently, however, it has not ‘worked’ that all should work and share equally under a socialist regime. One has only to look at recent examples in countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Their attempts at a workers’ paradise are terrifyingly dismal.

Communism deprives individuals of their inalienable rights. It is totalitarian, atheistic ideology pursued for the stated purpose of ushering in a classless utopia—a better, even perfect, world. This utopian promise has gone unfulfilled in every country that has attempted communism in any form. No ideology has so constantly, so abjectly, so horridly, so reliably failed to meet its central stated objective—instead achieving the precise opposite of an earthly utopia. From Stalin’s Russia to Pol Pot’s Cambodia to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, communism has ushered in not the promised workers’ paradise but the closest thing the world has known to hell on earth.[11]

Besides being ungodly, socialist communism achieves the very inverse of its stated goal. For an ideology that believes the ends justify the means, the Marxists’ “means” appear the dismal “end” for the masses victimized by the regime—a hellish, far cry from utopia.

Jacobins’ Reign of Terror as Inspiration

This was arguably first the case with the French Revolution, “which showed for the first time that a [modern] powerful state could be used as a tremendous anti-Christianity machine.”[12] Like all forms of modernist-nihilist-rationalist thought, the communist ideology had its roots in the Enlightenment.[13] Its big debut, however, dates to the first totalitarians of the Jacobins who used the French Revolution as a jumping point to the Reign of Terror. This 1790’s ‘reign’ used the infamous guillotine to decapitate thousands of dissidents of the ‘democratic’ revolution. Among these were hundreds of Catholic priests and nuns who had refused to take the schismatic oath of allegiance to the revolutionary government. The Carmelite Massacre of 1792 was just one scene in an intensification of the persecution of the Catholic Church by the then, new French government.

Robespierre, the brain behind the tactics of terror for the good of the ‘republic of virtue,’ was in the end himself put to the guillotine when “members of the assembly turned against their master, out of fear of being next on his list.”[14] Despite Robespierre’s own methods turning in on himself (a phenomenon not uncommon in the realm of liberal thought), he and the Jacobins were admired by Lenin.

Marx & Engels Provide the How-to Guide

An apostatized Christian, Lenin, as the leader of the Bolsheviks, overthrew the Russian Republic in 1917. He then instituted his own Red Terror during the 1918 Russian Civil War. Lenin in turn was admired by Trotsky, his minister of foreign affairs. Both desired to turn Russia into a Terror-like, repression and murderous machine for the machinations of their cause. Marx, already an unabashed author of demonic prose and poetry,[15] was there with the perfect “how-to” guide. The Communist Manifesto was written by Marx and Engels in 1848, which served as a blueprint for Marxism-Leninism in Russia, Maoism in China, and twenty-first-century socialism in Chavez’s Venezuela.[16]

The Holy Face ‘Face-off’ with Communism Begins

It was also in 1848 that Sister Marie de Saint Pierre, a young French Carmelite nun who had received revelations calling for the institution of the Church-approved Holy Face Devotion, died. A main thrust of this Work of Reparation is to use as spiritual combat, prayers of the devotion as an exorcism of sorts against communism. Christ calls for the offering of His wounded Face, along with the cross and other instruments of His Passion, to the Father in reparation for the modern, unparalleled iniquity[17] of communism.  As revealed in the revelations given to Sister Saint Pierre, communism epitomizes sins most offensive to God, those forbidden by the first three commandments concerning proper fear of the Lord. Therein, denial of God, blasphemy, and the profanation of Sundays and Holy Days are prohibited.

Marxism Rebels Against God

Though the Russian Revolution had not taken place and the Manifesto had not yet been written, the term communism was already used in the early 1840’s to denote any of a variety of socialists, liberals, or nihilists, “assuming different names at different epochs to suit the caprice of the moment.”[18] Sister Saint Pierre writes, “God has … commanded me to cross swords with the [c]ommunists, who … [are] the sworn enemies of the Church, and of [H]is Christ.”[19] Like Satan, Marxism rebels against God “by creating a new world in which God is destroyed and man is elevated.”[20] Suiting the caprice of the twenty-first century ‘moment,’ adherents of modern relativism, in which each man decides for himself ‘his’ own truth and morality, are proverbial frogs in a pot of slow-boiling Marxist ideology, protagonists of the man-god, antagonists of the God-Man.

“The Arms of My Enemies Inflict Death, but Mine Restore Life”

Regarding these and all “by any other name” Marxists, Our Lord instructed Sister Saint Pierre:

To combat them, I give you the arms of my Passion, my Cross, of which they are the enemies, as also all the other instruments of my sufferings…. The arms of my enemies inflict death, but mine restore life…. It is the Communists who have dragged me from my tabernacles, profaned and despoiled my sanctuaries, and have even dared to raise their hands against the anointed of the Lord, but their designs shall be frustrated.[21]

While the revelations given to Sister Saint Pierre could not have in her understanding referred to then, future communist regimes of Russia and China, for example, it is clear that the seeds of those revolutions were already in place, going back at least to the Jacobins and their Reign of Terror—and pertaining to the thought which fueled the Reign, to the period of ‘Enlightenment.’[22]

Combating Communism in Marian Apparitions

If there could be any doubt that Our Lord wished to engage the faithful in (also) combating the communism and socialism of today, there is ample, ongoing reiteration of this desire in modern Marian Apparitions. Perhaps most well-known, that of Fatima’s third secret in which Our Lady requests the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation of the First Saturdays. Our lady explains that if these requests are heeded:

Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.[23]

Our Lady also indicated the continued grave danger of communist thought, whether expressly or pertaining to the effects of such, in her apparitions at LaSalette, Akita, Betania, Kibeho, San Nicolas, and Quito* among others. Our Lady is very explicit in her warnings against such dangerous ideology and the need for all to pray and make sacrifices in spiritual combat toward defeating it.

Mary’s Essential Role in the ‘Face-off’ with Communism

The rosary will always be a primary weapon endorsed by Heaven to defeat all evil, but as Pope Saint John Paul II states, to recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the Face of Christ.[24] How appropriate, then, that Our Lady’s explicit role in the ‘face-off’ with communism was instituted in the revelations surrounding the Holy Face Devotion. Therein, Sister St. Pierre relates:

This Work of Reparation is so necessary … and fraught with so much glory for God, that [H]e desires [H]is Holy Mother to have the honor of giving it to this kingdom, as a new pledge of mercy. Let us then have recourse to the most Blessed Virgin who is the treasurer of the graces of God.[25]

Elsewhere Our Lord relates that the Sacred Heart and the Heart of His Mother[26] should never be separated.[27] Moreover, to praise and bless the Name of the Father, with the wounded Face of Christ as object of adoration in so doing, is to honor his Sacred Heart and the holy Heart of His Mother.[28] In fact, Sister St. Pierre requests that all who would engage in the Reparation to the Holy Face salute the Holy Virgin as “Our Lady of the Holy Name of God.”[29] Further relating to Mary’s role of intercession in the Work of Reparation, the Holy Face Chaplet, which is a most efficacious tool of spiritual combat revealed to Sister Saint Pierre for the defeat of communism, includes seven Glory-Be’s in honor of the Seven Last Words of Our Lord, as well as the Seven Sorrows of Mary.  

Holy Face Chaplet as a Most Efficacious Weapon

The Chaplet of the Holy Face is recommended by Cardinal Burke and has seen a resurgence in popularity in very recent years. The most often repeated verse in the chaplet, said thirty-three times in honor of the five senses of Our Lord, as reparative homage for all the suffering which Our Lord has endured in His Face through each of these senses, is: “Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let all that hate Thee flee from before Thy face!”[30] Saint Athanasius relates that the devils upon being asked what verse in the Scriptures they feared the most, replied the aforementioned and that it always compelled them to take flight. The chaplet ends with the invocation, “O God, our Protector, look upon us, and cast Thine eyes upon the Face of Thy Christ.”[31]

“The Birth of the Most Beautiful Work That Has Yet Appeared on the Face of the Earth”

The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face, approved immediately for the whole world via Papal Brief of Pope Leo XIII in 1884, was revealed, when requested by Our Lord to Sister Saint Pierre, as preferred by Him to all other Associations established in the Church. He likened the others to the common wine used at the wedding of Cana and the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face to the “miraculous wine served at the end.”[32] Our Lord also told Sister St. Pierre that the initiation of the Holy Face Devotion, to be offered through the Sacred Heart and as an extension of Christ’s Redemption, is “the birth of the most beautiful work that has yet appeared on the face of the earth.”[33] Christ further relates the Reparative Work as “His greatest consolation” and “the only means of appeasing the Father.”[34]

“You Will Become a Terror to Hell”

 Our Lord forewarned Sister Saint Pierre that “Satan will make use of every means in his power to annihilate this work from the very outset.”[35] Indeed, it seems he has, for very few have known about or practiced the reparative work in recent decades. Yet, Our Lord also told Sister Saint Pierre, “the most Holy Name of God will triumph, and the angels will gain the victory.” Christ further disclosed:

Lucifer willingly abandoned to his subordinates the charge of the other troops of sinners, as for instance, the lewd, the intemperate, the avaricious, but the blasphemers, he kept as his favorite flock…. St. Michael and the holy angels will protect you; with my cross which I give you for your shepherd’s crook, you will become a terror to [h]ell.[36]

Undeniably, all are called to become “terrors to hell” by means of this great Work of Reparation, for God has chosen man to take part in this celestial combat and has so armed him with His singular weaponry. Sister Saint Pierre marveled: “How excellent is this work! How sublime! What immense benefits are reserved for the defenders of the Holy Name of God!”[37] Mankind is to share in the work of St. Michael and his warrior angels—and will likewise in their victory.[38]

“Woe to Those Who Do Not Make Reparation”

God is pleading with us, warning us, demanding of us, to engage in the spiritual significance of our times: to ‘face-off’ with communism in all its manifestations. Given the unparalleled iniquity of the era,[39] God implores modern man to do his part toward the salvation of the masses, the restoration of peace to the nations, and the renewal of orthodoxy to the Faith. Ours is a cosmic battle in which all must choose sides, for God gives the sobering admonition, “Woe to those who do not make reparation![40]


May God arise and let His enemies be scattered and let all those who hate Him flee before His Face!

May the thrice Holy Name of God overthrow all their plans!

May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements!

May the terrible Name of the God of Eternity stamp out all their godlessness!

Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with blood, sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers, and for the profaners of the Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday.[41]


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[1] Paul Kengor, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2017), 9-13.

[2] Ibid.

[3] George Weigel, The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times (San Francisco: Ignatutius, 2018), 47.

[4] Fulton Sheen, “Signs of Our Times,”on “Light Your Lamps” broadcast, January 26, 1947. Referenced in: Athanasius Schneider, Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (Brooklyn: Angelico, 2019), 107.

[5] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 243.

[6] Ibid., 320, 324.

[7] Michael P. Orsi. “US priest: Socialism is antithetical to the Gospel.” Life Site News (August 11, 2020), https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/us-priest-socialism-is-antithetical-to-the-gospel (accessed August 12, 2020).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Rev. Hugo C. Koehler, Capital and Labor: An Analysis of and Commentary on the Encyclicals of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1939), 28-29. “[Pius XI Encyclical states,] ’Whether Socialism be considered as a doctrine, or as a historical fact, or as a movement, if it really remain Socialism, it cannot be brought into harmony with the dogmas of the Catholic Church…. The reason being that it conceives human society in a way utterly alien to Christian truth.’ Christianity always upholds the basic dignity of human personality and its fundamental rights. Material goods, necessary as they are, are not an end in themselves, but a means to that higher end of man, the super-natural union of man with God here and hereafter. A system that … subordinates the individual to the State cannot have the support of the Church.”

[10] Gustavo Solimeo. “What the Popes Really Say About Socialism.” Tradition, Family, Property Student Action (April 8, 2010), https://tfpstudentaction.org/blog/what-the-popes-really-say-about-socialism (accessed August 19, 2020).

[11] Paul Kengor, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2017), 10.

[12] David Carlin, “Since the Reformation,” The Catholic Thing (August 7, 2020), https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2020/08/07/sine-the-reformation (accessed August 17, 2020).

[13] Diane Moczar, The Church Under Attack: Five Hundred Years That Split the Church and Scattered the Flock (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2013), 92.

[14] Ibid., 96.

[15] Anne Hendershott. “A Disturbing Guide to the Devilish Karl Marx.” The Catholic World Report (August 17, 2020), https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/08/17/a-disturbing-guide-to-the-devilish-karl-marx (accessed August 17, 2020).

[16] Paul Kengor, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2017, 23.

[17] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 123, 159.

[18] Ibid., 318.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Anne Hendershott. “A Disturbing Guide to the Devilish Karl Marx.” The Catholic World Report (August 17, 2020), https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/08/17/a-disturbing-guide-to-the-devilish-karl-marx (accessed August 17, 2020).

[21]Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 321.

[22] The theology of the Reformation led to the philosophical thought of the Enlightenment, wherein reason was considered the primary source of knowledge. The Reformation substituted “faith alone” and the “Bible alone” for the authority of the Church and its tradition. The freethinking ideology of the French Revolution took anti-Church concepts a step further, substituting, in effect, a new faith, the ‘autonomy’ of reason for the authority of Church dogma and Christian society. Having separated morals from faith, the autonomy of reason led to a steady decline in morals and a contempt for the authority of the Church.

* Quito, Ecuador took place approximately 400 years ago, so well before the revelations given to Sister St. Pierre. However, the messages of the apparition were hidden until recent times and the sisters of Ecuador were asked to make reparation for our current times.

[23] “The Third Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima—July 13, 1917, America Needs Fatima (July 13, 2020), https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/ANF-Articles/the-third-apparition-of-our-lady-of-fatima-july-13-197 (accessed July 13, 2020).

[24] John Paul II, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” Apostolic Letters, 2002, http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/2002/documents (accessed August 25, 2020).

[25] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 327.

[26] Mary’s Heart is not yet referred to as the “Immaculate Heart” in the Revelations since that doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary was not declared until 1854.

[27] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 119.

[28] Ibid., 130.

[29] Ibid., 333.

[30] Psalm 67.

[31] Abbe Janvier, Manual of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face (Tours: Oratory of the Holy Face, 1887), 232-235.

[32] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884), 329-330.

[33] Ibid., 311.

[34] Ibid., 256, 290.

[35] Ibid., 154, 181.

[36] Ibid., 257.

[37] Ibid., 330-31.

[38] Ibid., 155.

[39] Ibid., 123.

[40] Ibid., 161.

[41] Ibid., 323. Prayers of Sister St. Pierre to spiritually combat the enemies of Christ.

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Defacing the Holy Face of Christ

French firefighters at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Nantes July 18, 2020.  (https://www.bing.com/images)

The Grave Offense to God of the Desecration of Sacred Churches & Iconography Is Tantamount to Defacing the Holy Face of Christ

The Nantes Cathedral in France is the latest in a series of anti-Catholic violence by arsonists and vandals in Europe. In America, too, Catholic property and statues have been desecrated in Queens, Boston, Sacramento, Chattanooga, Miami, and Ocala in recent weeks. What ends could be sought by such destruction of Catholic churches and iconography, tantamount to defacing the Holy Face of Christ?[1]

The likely goal is to strike fear in the hearts of the faithful, and specifically in recent days, the Catholic faithful. This Marxist terrorism appears to be a statement of rejection concerning divine law as preserved in the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Such evident love of anarchy and hatred for authority is consequently going to the heart of the matter by profaning sacred Catholic spaces.[2]

Blasphemy is among the most heinous crimes of mankind against God since it represents a desire to mock God and His authority, while embracing that of man’s. Ultimately, this rejection of the part that God and the Church play in morality is essentially the problem of relativism in which each person decides for himself his own morality, making of himself a god.

Revelations of Christ to Sister St. Pierre in Response to a Time of Heightened Iniquity

Our Lord has had a lot to say about such acts. There are, of course, the first three commandments which have to do with right conduct toward God by man. They forbid atheism, the profanation of Sunday, and blasphemy in all their manifestations. In more recent times, Christ revealed to Sister St. Pierre the unparalleled offense that these sins give to the Holy Trinity and how these offenses have reached a heightened degree of iniquity since the French Revolution.[3] Evidently, man is still in this unsurpassed time of immorality, for his crimes against the Godhead have hardly waned.

Reparation Via the Golden Arrow Prayer

God requested through these (Church approved) revelations to Sister St. Pierre a method by which He wished modern man to “repair” these heinous offenses via the prayers and practices of the Holy Face Devotion.[4] While more of a spirituality than devotion, specific prayers of reparation to draw the grace of conversion for the masses are given. Perhaps the best known, the “Golden Arrow” prayer, was revealed to Sister St. Pierre as delightfully wounding the Sacred Heart, pouring forth graces for sinners:

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God, be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified, in heaven, on earth, and in hell,[5]  by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.[7]

Our Lord to Sister St. Pierre: the Holy Face Devotion Is a New Work to Repair Crimes of Modern Society

Our Lord no less than demands that mankind take part in this effort of reparation for sins against the Godhead in the revelations he gave to Sister St. Pierre. He gives mankind a modern role to play in co-redemption, a new work whose object is to repair crimes of modern society.[6] The Reparation is “intimately allied to the great Work of the Redemption and is [consequently] the most noble and the most necessary work of our times.”[7] The Work of Reparation is an offering by man to the Father of the most adorable and dolorous Face of Jesus in reparation for sins against the first three commandments. Christ’s merits and love are infinitely more pleasing to the Father than man’s. In the Father’s pleasure at the Face of Christ, He has pity on man’s face, disfigured by sin, and pours forth graces for the conversion of sinners, accordingly.

Our Lord to Sister St. Pierre: Reparation to the Holy Face Is “The Most Beautiful Work on the Face of the Earth” & “the Greatest Source of Grace, Next to the Sacraments”

As revealed to Sister St. Pierre, the Holy Face Devotion is a most efficacious tool for man to do his part in reclaiming all for Christ. Our Lord describes the wounded Holy Face, object of adoration in the Work of Reparation, as the greatest source of grace second to the Sacraments.[8] As an extension of Christ’s Redemption, man is to participate in this effort to repair for offenses against the Godhead, while drawing down graces for the conversion of the masses. Our Lord described this Work of Reparation as the most beautiful work that has yet appeared on the face of the earth![9]

The Holy Face Devotion is a most noble work toward “the glory of God and the salvation of souls,”[10] designed by Our Lord for the current era, a time inclined toward desecrating the sacred, which, according to the revelations,[11] is woefully equivalent to defacing anew the most holy and adorable Face of Jesus Christ.


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[1] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884),  245.“The face of the Church is… the Face of Jesus Christ….In a mystical sense…the doctrine of Jesus Christ is as much His Face as that of the Church, because it is by this doctrine that we recognize Him as He is Himself.”

[2] Perkins, Tony. “Wave of burning, defacing churches threatens end of law and order in US,” Life Site (July 17, 2020), “Opinion,” https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/wave-of-burning-defacing-churches-threatens-end-of-law-and-order-in-US/ (accessed July 17, 2020). “If you really want to cut to the chase, you forget about generals and things. You go right for God, you go right for the Virgin Mary…you go for churches.”

[3] Sister Mary St. Peter, Life of Sister Mary St. Peter, ed. M. L’Abbe Janvier (France, 1884),  123.

[4] Ibid., 128. When Sr. St. Pierre seemed surprised at the use of the “hell,” Our Lord indicated that His Justice was there glorified, meaning by “hell” not only the place where the wicked are punished, but also purgatory, where He is loved and glorified by the suffering souls. St. Paul also made use of this expression in an analogical sense, saying: “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend in heaven, on earth and in hell.”

[5] Ibid., 127. Our Lord related to Sister St. Pierre that blasphemy wounds His Heart “more than all other crimes,” an empoisoned dagger, wounding His Divine Heart continually. He wished to give a “golden dagger,” the Golden Arrow Prayer, as a means to “wound him delightfully and [to] heal the poisonous wounds caused by sin.”

[6] Ibid., 159.

[7] Ibid., 312.

[8] Ibid., 247.

[9] Ibid., 311.

[10] Ibid., 317.

[11]Ibid., 238. “My divine Savior gave me to understand that the wicked by their blasphemy renew all the outrages once offered to His divine Face.”

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