6 Lessons of Saint Joan of Arc at TFP Academy Graduation

June 2, 2020

6 Lessons of Saint Joan of Arc at TFP Academy Graduation

On the beautiful day of May 30th, St. Louis de Montfort Academy held its graduation for the Class of 2020. Parents and some members of the clergy traveled for this special day which coincided with the feast of St. Joan of Arc. The month of May was the centenary of her canonization by the Universal Church.

Had it not been for the COVID-19 lock-down, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Ronald Gainer, bishop of Harrisburg, would have celebrated the Graduation Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. He likewise planned on attending the ceremonies at St. Louis de Montfort Academy, as Bishop Waltersheid, auxiliary bishop of Pittsburg, had done two years ago. The Academy looks forward to a future visit.

Since several of the graduates hailed from Louisiana and Arkansas, St. Louis de Montfort Academy invited Mr. Thomas Drake, president of TFP-Louisiana to deliver the commencement address. For our readers we transcribe the final part of his address.

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…Now, let me tell you about another seventeen-year-old.  This 17 year old has a most exceptional place in history. Never in human history has anyone held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen. And this by God’s command.

Dear graduates, would you feel ready, if suddenly, as you are getting your luggage ready to leave this blessed place, you were handed by special delivery a letter calling you up to serve the nation?  With orders to command an army of rough and tough men, all of them older, more experienced and even smarter than you? You might say: mission impossible.  But God will say: it’s inconvenient, it’s unexpected, it hurts… it’s my Divine Will.

That 17-year-old is remembered today!  In fact, exactly one hundred years ago this month, the Church canonized her.


St. Joan of Arc!

St. Joan of Arc

And today, as we are gathered here, the TFP-Louisiana is holding a Rosary Rally at her golden equestrian monument in New Orleans.

Let me share with you an interesting description of St. Joan of Arc:

She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men;

She was honest when honesty was a lost virtue;

She was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one;

She was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule;

She was steadfast when stability was unknown;

And honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was;

She was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things;

She was unfailingly true in an age that was false to the core;

She was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation.

Does anyone here know who wrote this?   Perhaps Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira?  Or St. John Bosco?

Actually, it was an American. A character much less versed in holiness than those I mentioned.  You’ve all heard of him.  Samuel Clemens.  Also known as Mark Twain.


I am going to give you 6 lessons from the life of St. Joan of Arc for your journey ahead.

#1. Believe in your mission.

She believed in her mission without hesitation. This is what she said: “But since God had commanded me to go, I must do it. And since God had commanded it, had I had a hundred fathers and a hundred mothers, and had I been a king’s daughter, I would have gone.”  Such determination inspired rough men to confess their sins and follow her into battle.

If you know what is right, you know what is wrong.  And when you hear Deus Vult – God commands it – do not hesitate to follow God’s Commandments.

Never hesitate to do what is right, no matter the odds!

#2. Follow God, not the world

You must not measure yourself by the criteria of the world.  The famous of today are the forgotten of tomorrow.  Measure yourself by God’s standards. The enemies of St. Joan of Arc did everything to destroy, defame and obliterate her memory. They even burnt her body entirely to ashes to leave nothing.  They pretended not to know who she was.  Who? This was done with Our Lord and many saints. But today everyone knows St. Joan of Arc, whether they are Korean, Argentine or Rwandan. Nobody cares to know about the powerful and the rich of her day – the George Soros’, Bill Gates’ or Warren Buffets of her day. But all over the world she is honored with churches, plays and movies. Children are named after her.

So, seek first the kingdom of Heaven and the rest…

#3. To be good, you must fight

You must fight to be good. Otherwise you will just become another example of mediocrity. This is what St. Joan said: “The men at arms will fight, and God will give the victory!”  In other words, God will give the victory, but you must show up to fight. If you don’t show up, then God will NOT give the victory. So whether it is to prevent drag queens corrupting the innocence of children, or overcoming a defect or confronting the Revolution… fight and God will give the victory. With Our Lady’s help, it is guaranteed.

#4. Fight to be chaste

“She was as chaste as an angel.” Many, many are the testimonies of powerful men who changed their impure lives because of St. Joan of Arc. She would severely admonish them and tell them what awaited them in hell if they didn’t confess and change their ways. Several swore on oath that in her presence they felt no temptations to impurity.

Many years ago, I read an 800-page manual on Military Psychology. There was a section about chastity and combat officer performance in Vietnam: statistically it showed that the more impure the officer was, the more cowardly in the face of death. Think of Col. John Ripley USMC, and you will know that that is true.

The first thing St. Joan of Arc did when she took command of the defeated French army, was to “clean up the camp” by expelling immorality.  And her army became invincible.

So treasure chastity and fight to be chaste.

If you fall, remember St. Joan’s words to the judges when she was asked if she were in God’s grace. She said  “If I am not, God put me there; and if I am, God keep me there!”

#5. Live the Spirit of Chivalry

More than called to save her country and king, she was called to restore Chivalry because there were no men “man enough” to do it. All of you have attended the Call to Chivalry camps. You heard so much about chivalry and men who lived it: La Valette and the Knights of Malta; Godfrey of Bouillon; El Cid Campeador; St. Ignatius of Loyola and Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira.

It was Prof. Plinio who wrote that St. Joan of Arc embodied chivalry so much, that “She is a knight, not a ‘knightess’. Yes, she is a fragile, fine and delicate maiden… However, she is a warrior, and a great warrior!” She resurrected the spirit of Chivalry.

So must you, wherever you are!

#6.  Practice heroic confidence

She had total confidence in God and the Blessed Mother. That is why she inspired confidence in all those around her. The French biographer DeVries says: “When Joan of Arc appeared, they felt her confidence and determination. They followed her with a loyalty which few soldiers in history have given their leaders.”

So, be firm in your prayers. Confide always in God and Mary Most Holy. Leaders without confidence, do not inspire confidence in others.

So, dear graduates, Chastity, Chivalry, Confidence. Three qualities. Three virtues. That you – class of 2020 of St. Louis de Montfort Academy – are called not only to practice, but in which you must excel to be true sons of Mary Most Holy.

Today’s feast day of St. Joan of Arc is not a bygone memory or even a lesson for the present.  Rather, it is the map, the call, the mission of your future.

Always believe in your sublime mission.  And fight like crusaders.

     St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!

For more information about St. Louis de Montfort Academy please see https://montfortacademy.edu/ or https://www.facebook.com/St.LouisdeMontfortAcademyHerndonPa

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