When it came time for us to name our group, one name immediately sprang to mind. For some, this may not seem like an obvious connection - what does a 15th century peasant girl who fought a war and was burned at the stake have to do with addiction recovery? Nothing, and yet, everything.
Apart from her death, Joan of Arc is best known for her courage in battle. Though she carried nothing but a banner into the fighting, her presence emboldened the French army, carrying them from one victory to another.
We see recovery from addiction primarily as a struggle against the most persistent of enemies. Though the battlefield is less clear, the fight is no less real. We can think of no better saint to have by our side than Joan of Arc.
Saint Joan of Arc has special significance to those of us struggling with sexual addictions. She was known for her purity, both physical and spiritual. Still, this did not protect her from the same shame and ridicule that many face in society even today. From Joan of Arc we have a powerful example of living a pure life and handling judgement and shame with grace.
It has been observed that the French acceptance of Joan of Arc's military role was a sign of their dire situation. France was losing battles and ground to the English, and their king suffered from insanity. Only the most desperate of situations could find a teenage girl with no military experience claiming to be on a mission from God as the leader of an army.
In many moments during our struggle to recover from addiction, we can feel a loss of hope. We have lost battle after battle, sometimes for years, and it feels like addiction takes a little more ground in our lives at every step. In this desperation, Saint Joan of Arc is a powerful example to follow. Just as the French rallied around her banner, she points the way for us to a place of hope.
A Prayer to Saint Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, give us strength.
In this, our time of need, we beg thee to come to our aid.
We humbly ask thee to help us bear our trials with honor,
As we remember you in your earthly agonies.
Blessed Joan, duty bound to God, give us courage.
You who left family and friends to enter into God’s service,
Devout and valiant to uphold righteousness to the end,
While being insulted and harmed by your enemies.
Holy Joan, daughter of God, give us fortitude.
Help us to prevail in life and death over evil,
While bearing our injuries with the dignity you showed
When wounded in the breast, head, thigh, and heel.
Pious Joan, help us to be fearless.
Abandoned by the king you yourself had crowned,
Captured and sold to the highest bidder,
You put your trust in the King of Heaven to deliver you.
Venerable Joan, help us to be unwavering in our faith.
Beaten, bruised, questioned and accused,
You were denied that which you loved most:
Communion, confession, mass and public prayer.
Heroic Joan, help us to uphold justice.
Imprisoned, neglected, threatened and condemned,
Sentenced to die as a heretic the most cruelest death,
To die by the fire and be raised up in heaven!
Glorious virgin, please intercede for us.
Hear this petition and our heartfelt plea.
Pray for us in this, our time of need,
For we believe God will deny you nothing. Amen.
(Here mention your specific request.)