Christ-Like Courage

Meredith Glunz ’27, a first-year architecture student, contemplates a sculpture of Saint Joan of Arc crafted by Emmanuel Fremiet in the late 19th century. The lines and curves of the statue draw us right into Joan’s powerful story.

We see a young woman, in full plate armor, without a helmet or gauntlets, astride a horse. Joan gazes forward, a gilded laurel wreath halo behind her head. In her right hand, she holds a lance with a swallowtail pennant swirling back into the wind. Two cloth sleeves flutter from her pauldrons – the piece of armor covering the shoulder areas – softly twisting and turning while providing a visual balance to the heavy, metal armor. Her sturdy horse, outfitted with elaborate straps and work trappings, is poised in a pronounced gait. 

Saint Joan of Arc’s story is one familiar to many. Called by God through visions at a very young age, she dedicated her life to fulfilling the mission entrusted to her. Even when it took an unexpected turn for a woman at that time, including being part of military battles, she did not waver. Her dedication to God’s calling and the liberation of France eventually led to her early death. Though she had multiple opportunities for escape or moral compromise, she ultimately chose to be burned at the stake rather than deny her faith, her calling, and her people.

Joan is an inspiration worldwide and throughout the centuries because of how she faithfully accepted the crosses of her life with Christ-like courage. When we think of the inevitable crosses we are asked to bear, including the ones we take up this Lent, St. Joan of Arc is an example to us all.

This Lent, ThinkND invites you to join FaithND and the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art for a journey of Lenten discovery through some of the most significant liturgical paintings in the Raclin Murphy collection, challenging you to contemplate prayer, fasting, sinfulness, mercy, grace, and God’s infinite love from the perspectives of the artist’s gaze. To subscribe to the FaithND Daily Gospel Reflection visit faith.nd.edu/signup.

Emmanuel Fremiet, Joan of Arc, after 1874, Bronze. Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame. Dolores and Frederick Geissel Memorial Purchase Fund, 1979.049.

For closer viewing of this work through the digital collections of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, please click here.

Art and HistoryReligion and PhilosophyAsh WednesdayDigest184Digest274Emmanuel FremietEucharistFaithNDHoly WeekJoan of ArcLentRaclin Murphy Museum of ArtUniversity of Notre Dame

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