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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of the ‘Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’

Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary‘Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ Image: —Daily Gospel

(Franciscan Media) This is a fairly late Feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century, it was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969 in order to follow the ‘Annunciation of the Lord’ (25 March) and precede the ‘Nativity of John the Baptist’ (24 June)

Like most Feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and His saving work. The more visible actors in the drama — See: Luke 1:39-45 are Mary and Elizabeth however, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy–the joy of Messianic Salvation. Elizabeth in turn is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary, words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to be reminded of, that we do not have a Journalist account of this meeting, rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a powerful Poet’s rendition of the scene.

Elizabeth’s praise of Mary as ‘the Mother of My Lord’ can be viewed as the earliest Church’s devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth’s (the Church’s) words first praise God for what God has done through Mary, only secondly, does Elizabeth praise Mary for trusting God’s words.

Then comes the Magnificat –See: Luke 1:46-55 here Mary herself (like the Church) traces all of her greatness to God.

More here from American Catholic here from USCCB & here from EWTN

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Joan of Arc

Saint Joan of ArcSaint Joan of Arc (1412-1431) Image Courtesy: Women of Grace

(Franciscan Media) Born in France Domermy, Joan was one of five children in a fairly well to do peasant family.

From the age of 10 according to Catholic News Agency Joan experienced visions (later identified as the Saint’s Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria & Margaret of Antioch) telling her to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom from the invading forces of England and Burgundy.

Overcoming opposition, together with  convincing members of the Royal Court and the Church, Joan was put in charge of a small army, she charged into battle bearing a banner which bore the names of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Mary’ as well as the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Due to Joan’s leadership and trust in God, she was able to raise the siege of Orleans in 1429 and her army went on to win a series of battles and the King was able to enter Rheims and was crowned with Joan at his side.

Joan was however captured near Compiegne the following year, was sold to England and subsequently, placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft.

Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais presided over Joan’s trial and Cardinal Henry Beaufort interrogated her at trial for which she was found guilty and condemned to death.

On this date in 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in France Rouen, she was but 19 years old.

It wasn’t until 30 yrs after Joan’s trial and execution that her case was again heard and this time, Joan was exonerated.

Joan of Arc was Beatified in 1905 by Pope Saint Pius X and Canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Saint Joan of Arc stands alone in history. Many Women have found sanctity in the cathedral, some have shown bravery in battle but no other ever trained herself to holiness in a Soldiers camp and surely no female Saint ever died at the stake, condemned by an ecclesiastical tribunal as a witch and a heretic.

More here from EWTN and here from American Catholic

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