Monday, August 04, 2008
My favorite Saints
The picture above is of my two favorite saints.
On the left is HI & RH Emperor Charles I of Austria (aka Blessed Charles von Habsburg-Lothringen). As the final Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary, he was the only leader in WWI to heed Pope Benedict XV call for peace, and he spent his entire reign trying to end the war. He halted the use of mustard gas and ceased executions for political crimes. He instituted liberal social reforms and envisioned turning the Austro-Hungarian empire into a true multi-ethnic state of equals. So important was equality, that he forced the royal household to adhere to the same food rationing that the people of the empire had to follow. Forced into exile at the end of the war he tried unsuccessfully to return to the throne of St. Stephen in Budapest, a claim he never renounced. Despite all of this, and being left penniless by the betrayal of a friend, his Catholic faith never wavered, nor did his love and devotion to his wife and family. He died in Madeira, Portugal where he still lies today.
On the right is St. Joan D'Arc (c. 1412 – May 30, 1431) also known as "the Maid of Orleans", she was a 15th century Catholic saint, and national heroine of France. A peasant girl born in Eastern France, Joan led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, claiming divine guidance, and was indirectly responsible for the coronation of King Charles VII. She was captured by the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court and burned at the stake by the English when she was nineteen years old. Twenty-four years later, the Holy See reviewed the decision of the ecclesiastical court, found her innocent, and declared her a martyr. She was beatified in 1909 and later canonized in 1920. I recently purchased a medal of this saint for my sister who is being deployed to Iraq.