May 2014 - Sts. Joseph the Worker and Joan of Arc

By Catholic News Service

St. Joseph the worker
Joseph the Worker by Georges de La Tour.


St. Joseph the Worker

Industrious foster father of the Son of God

Feast day: May 1
Though his principal feast is March 19, St. Joseph also is honored for his labors as a carpenter in providing for his family’s needs in Nazareth. The carpentry trade in first-century Palestine covered building houses, which were mostly made of wood; by tradition, Jesus joined the family business.

Throughout church history, Joseph was honored as a craftsman, but this feast was set in 1956 to give Christian meaning to what had become a secular association of May 1 with labor.


St. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc depicted in a 1505 manuscript.


St. Joan of Arc

Teenage warrior burned at the stake

Feast day: May 30
An illiterate but intelligent French peasant girl, Joan was thrust into the Hundred Years’ War by her “voices,” inner promptings urging her to save France from England and Burgundy. After meeting the French dauphin and being examined by theologians, she led the army to victories at Orleans and Patay.

Captured later by the Burgundians, she was abandoned by the dauphin and sold to the English, who burned her at the stake for witchcraft and heresy. Joan was rehabilitated by a papal commission in 1456.