If one hopes to one day join the ranks of the saints in heaven, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to get to know a few more of them first.
While I wasn’t raised Catholic by any means (I’m the daughter of a pastor), I have realized that the world of saints is a truly rich and inspiring one.
Their world may seem so far removed from ours, but in fact, I believe that people from ancient times to today have been messengers of God and have been able to enact miracles through God.
So while it may be more comfortable to keep the mind closed to some of their stories at times (as some do seem admittedly far-out), sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zones is exactly what we need in order to reach new spiritual heights and be open to miracles that may be happening right around us.
May today’s saintly story be inspiring to you, in your own life.
Anyone named Joan has a special day coming. On May 30, to be exact. That is your, or her, name day!
In many areas of Europe, one’s name day is something taken very seriously, sometimes as seriously—or more so—as one’s own birthday. What a beautiful thought—a calendar, and events, that revolve around holy people that we can all learn from. And this happens throughout the year, meaning that one’s thoughts—traditionally, at least—would never stray too far from religious faith.
But sadly in the United States, we don’t have that tradition. It’s a shame, really, because many of us owe our names to incredible, heroic, faithful figures that we—and many people—would benefit from knowing a little more about, and celebrating.
You’ve probably seen in a lot of older works of literature that people refer to calling people by their “Christian” (meaning, Christian or baptismal) name. Indeed that relates to this too, for most names in the Western world come from the Bible or from Christian, saintly figures, and that was once recognized far more than it is today.
All of this came to my attention again most recently by a friend from central Europe who was mentioning all the festivities that take place on various saints’ name days.
The idea is that, on the day of the saint or Christian figure you were named for (and back in the day, as noted, that was essentially the only kind of name there was!), you and others take some time to reflect on and celebrate their life. Often a saint’s name day goes back to the day of his or her martyrdom, but not always, of course.
At the moment, practically speaking, if your name is Joan, May 30 is your day to feast! Well, not necessarily (the “feast day” concept traditionally meant religious observance), but it’s a nice occasion to reflect on the life of a woman of tremendous faith and courage.
Saint Joan of Arc, the patron saint of France, is celebrated every year on May 30. As a woman who was burned at the stake for her beliefs, her life and legacy serve as a powerful reminder of the strength and courage of women of faith throughout history. For those named Joan around the world, her story holds a special significance and can inspire a sense of pride in one’s own name.
Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in a small village in northeastern France. As a young girl, she experienced visions of angels and saints, who told her that she was chosen by God to lead the French army to victory in the Hundred Years’ War. Against all odds, Joan succeeded in rallying the troops and securing several key victories for France. However, her success was short-lived, as she was ultimately captured by the English and charged with heresy.
Despite being subjected to a sham trial and cruel treatment, Joan refused to renounce her beliefs. She was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, at the age of just 19. It wasn’t until nearly 500 years later, in 1920, that she was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
The 2016 film “Joan of Arc,” starring Leelee Sobieski, captures her story, her miracles, and her trials beautifully. It is truly inspiring.
To be named after such a remarkable woman is a source of pride for many. Her name day is a great an opportunity to reflect on one’s own life and how we can emulate her example.
A Life of Faith and Courage
But beyond just the celebration of a saint’s feast day, the story of Joan of Arc has lessons for all of us, regardless of our names. Her life and legacy are a reminder that even in the face of great adversity, we have the power to stand up for what we believe in and make a difference in the world.
Her unwavering faith and courage in the face of overwhelming odds are an inspiration to all who face challenges in their lives.
As we honor Saint Joan of Arc and those named Joan around the world, let us remember the strength and resilience of women of faith throughout history, and let us strive to embody those same qualities in our own lives.
So, here’s to all who are named Joan! Your name has a proud heritage that is worth celebrating.