St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France, and her Feast Day is celebrated on May 30.
Joan was born on January 6, 1412 in the village of Domremy near the province of Lorraine to pious parents of the French peasant class. At a very early age, Joan heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
In May 1428, the voices of the three saints told Joan to go to the King of France to help him reconquer his kingdom. At only 17 years old, Joan was given a small army with which she raised the siege of Orleans on May 8, 1429. Joan enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, and Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in Reims Cathedral with Joan at his side.
In May 1430, Joan was captured by the Burgundians as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne. When King Charles and the French did nothing to save her, she was handed over to the English. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would aid him in becoming an archbishop.
Joan was tricked into making a few damaging statements because of her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology. When she refused to retract the assertion that the saints of God had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress. Joan was 19 years old when she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
Thirty years later, Joan was exonerated of all guilt. She was ultimately canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.