What were the miracles that the Vatican accepted to raise Joan of Arc to the official rank of Canonized Saint?
In the process of declaring a person a 'saint' the promoters of the prospective saint's cause are asked to vouch for four authentic miracles to secure for beatification and two more miracles form Canonization.
The Holy Father can dispense one miracle if the candidate has founded a religious order. In Joan of Arc's case, this dispensation was granted because she had saved France. Thus, three miracles sufficed for her beatification. The three approved miracles that raised Joan to Blessed were as follows:
1) Sister Thérèse of Saint Augustine, who lived in Orleans, had been cured of leg ulcers.
2) Sister Julie Gauthier, who lived in Faverolles, was cured of a cancerous ulcer of her left breast.
3) Sister Marie Sagnier, who lived in Frages, was miraculously cured of cancer of the stomach.
Pope Pius X solemnly accepted these three miracles as authentic on December 13th, 1908. He declared, "Joan of Arc has shone like a new star destined to be the glory not only of France but of the Universal Church as well." It was because of her heroic virtue that she was declared Blessed on April 18th, 1909.
Because the Socialist Party was very anti-clerical, they wanted Joan of Arc canonized so that they could used her as strictly a political hero. Between 1895 and 1905 relations between the Socialist government and the Holy See worsened to the point of total breakdown. L' Action Francaise, a conservative royalist political organization, worked and demonstrated in the streets to bring down the Socialist government. This organization also worked for Joan's canonization.
The two miracles needed for Joan of Arc's canonization were obtained and authenticated without much delay but World War I put a stop to all such activities. In 1920 when the war was over and the French were victorious, the Vatican wanted to improve relations with the Socialist government. The Holy See was willing to give them their saint if the French government would reestablish diplomatic relations.
In his book, Saint Joan of Arc, Msgr. Leon Cristiani described his connection to one of the two miracles that caused Joan of Arc officially to be declared a saint by the Church. The miracle that he witnessed occurred in Lourdes on August 22nd, 1909, during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
The person in question was Thérèse Belin who lay unconscious when the Blessed Sacrament passed before her. Msgr. Cristiani was desirous of seeing Joan canonized. He obtained permission from the Bishop of Orleans to invoke Joan of Arc during the Blessing of the sick in hopes that a miracle would occur that could be attributed to Joan's intercession. At the first invocation to Blessed Joan of Arc, Thérèse opened her eyes, at the second she sat up on her stretcher and at the third she felt she had been cured. Msgr. Cristiani later interviewed Thérèse and her god-mother about her illness. They informed him of the various stages of her sickness, the operations she had had and the remedies that had been used without effect. Her medical diagnosis was : Peritoneal and Pulmonary tuberculosis, complicated by an Organic Lesion of the Mitral Orifice. In plain English she had tuberculosis of her lungs and abdominal cavity which was complicated by an organic lesion of her mitral valve of her heart - obviously she was VERY sick.
The other recognized cure occurred to Miss Mirandelle who had a diagnosis of Perforating Plantar Affliction which means she had a hole that went through the sole of her foot.
Joan of Arc was canonized in a grand and solemn ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica on May 16th, 1920. Her feast day is celebrated on May 30th, the day of her death.
On July 10th, 1920, the French government officially made May 8th a national holiday. And by November 20th of this same year it resumed diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
At the five-hundredth anniversary of Joan of Arc's death, May 30th, 1931, there was a grand celebration in Rouen to mark this anniversary. Representatives from the government, army, universities, parliament, magistrates, clergy and papacy attended. Even the Archbishop of Westminster, Prelate of all England, came to express his great admiration of her virtues.
Ever since her earliest childhood Joan of Arc prayed ardently from her heart. Her prayer life led her to a fervent faith in God. Her faith in God led her to love Him profoundly. This intense love led her to accept God's will for her life. If we will pray, believe and love as earnestly as Joan did, then we too will be used by God! This is the secret to Joan's saint hood, she listened, answered and obeyed. Here I am Lord! I come to do Your will! She stated at her trial, and her message to us is, "I believed it was an angel speaking to me, and I had the will to believe."
Once we are confirmed, we are all soldiers in the Army of Christ! So let us bravely attack the powers and principalities of the evil one in the world, going forward, like Joan, to defend and advance God's love and justice. Draw close to Christ in the Eucharist and stand firm upon His Word, so that you will remain faithful to Him in this passing world!