On those who suffer for others less repentant

By Dr. Philippa Martyr
Catholic Weekly
August 22, 2019

What do you do when something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped?

I can never read the life story of St Joan of Arc without experiencing a terrible emotional crisis towards the end. Joan’s fate in prison was not yet determined, and there was a chance she would be freed – but then she discovered she was going to be sold to the English armies.

Joan then tried to escape or commit suicide (or both) from her prison cell by leaping from the window, a drop of some 60 feet.

Finding God in suffering – easier said than done She wasn’t injured, but she later realised that she had done the wrong thing by trying to escape. It showed a lack of trust in God’s plan for her, and she confessed her escape attempt to a priest.

I think this is one of the things that shows her sanctity: that she could completely lose heart and yet walk back from that, knowing that God had ordained a different type of suffering for her future.

Joan is behaving in the same way that Jesus did when He’s described as setting His face bravely towards Jerusalem. It’s an acceptance of the awfulness to come, even though you know it will be awful – and terribly unjust.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.