Father James Martin’s journey through “My Life with the Saints” begins with St. Joan of Arc, the “Maid of Orleans,” who, it turns out, was Martin’s first serious connection to the saints.
Joan was a French peasant girl born during the 100 Years War between France and England. As a young girl, she heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Margaret and St. Catherine, urging her to “save France.”
In 1429, at the age of 16, she convinced the future King Charles VII to allow her to lead a military mission to rescue the French city of Orleans. The mission was successful, but Joan was quickly dismissed by the newly-crowned king, his advisors and French military leaders – embarrassed, perhaps, by the military success of a young woman (who, not incidentally, insisted on wearing men’s clothes).