Today, May 30th, is St. Joan of Arc’s feast day. She was certainly a most remarkable saint. On my list of reads for quite a while has been Mark Twain’s biography of Joan, The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, which remarkably was his favorite of the books he wrote. Here is Twain’s quote about his book:
“I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none.”
I don’t have the place to finally read it this year, but next year in 2017, when I plan to focus on French literature, I am determine to include this biography of the patron saint of France.
Stephan Ryan at the Mystic Post portal at Patheos forum wrote a fine post on Mark Twain’s fascination and love of St. Joan. He call her “the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” That is high praise. (By the way, read the article for its refutation of Twain as being an atheist, which the atheist community seems deluded into thinking.) It is quite surprising that Twain a Presbyterian, would be so enthralled with a roman Catholic saint, but Twain was certainly unconventional in his Christianity, and rebellious in people trying to pigeonhole him. Here is a paragraph Twain wrote on Joan, also quoted from Stephan Ryan’s post:
She was deeply religious, and believed that she had daily speech with angels; that she saw them face to face, and that they counselled her, comforted and heartened her, and brought commands to her direct from God. She had a childlike faith in the heavenly origin of her apparitions and her Voices, and not any threat of any form of death was able to frighten it out of her loyal heart. She was a beautiful and simple and lovable character.
I can’t wait to finally read Twain’s biography. Holy St Joan of Arc, pray for us.