February 7, 2011

With her deep prayer life and total devotion to serving God and the good of her fellow citizens, St. Joan of Arc is a wonderful model for Christian politicians, Pope Benedict said.

“Hers is a beautiful example of holiness for laypeople involved in politics, especially in difficult situations. Faith is the light that guided all her choices,” the pope said Jan. 26 during his weekly general audience.

Addressing about 3,000 people gathered for the audience, the pope said St. Joan of Arc, like St. Catherine of Siena, was a young laywoman and mystic who lived her faith commitment “not in a cloister, but in the midst of the most dramatic realities of the Church and the world of her time.”

St. Joan and St. Catherine are perhaps the best examples of “those strong women who at the end of the Middle Ages brought the Gospel to bear on the complex events of history.”

Through the voice of the Archangel Michael, Joan felt called by the Lord to intensify her Christian life and to work personally for the liberation of her people,” the pope said.

St. Joan of Arc was involved in the French political situation because of her total love for Jesus and for her neighbour, he said.

“This saint understood that love embraces the whole reality of God and of man, of heaven and earth, of the Church and the world.”

The young French saint carried a banner with an image of Jesus holding the world, “the icon of her political mission. The liberation of her people was a work of human justice which Joan engaged in with charity for love of Jesus,” the pope said.