" The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people. "
Leo Tolstoy

Back in the day


Pope Benedict XV Canonizes Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was a French military leader and heroine. Claiming to be inspired and directed by religious visions, she organized the French resistance that forced the English to end their siege of Orléans in 1429 and secured the coronation of the dauphin, later Charles VII of France. Captured and sold to the English by the Burgundians, she was later tried for heresy and witchcraft and was burned at the stake in Rouen. How old was she when she died?



Green Man

A legendary pagan spirit later adopted by the Christian church, the Green Man is often depicted as a male figure covered in foliage or as a face surrounded by, made of, or sprouting leaves. He is represented in a variety of English church carvings made between the 11th and 20th centuries, though from the Renaissance onward, elaborate variations on the Green Man theme began to appear in many other media. Which popular fairy tale figure is seen as a modern embodiment of the Green Man character?

Born on a day like today


Pope Innocent XI

Innocent XI was elected to the papacy because of his purity of character and unselfish and openhanded benevolence. His election was opposed by Louis XIV, with whom he had a long, bitter quarrel over Gallicanism, a French Roman Catholic tradition of resistance to papal authority. As Pope, he passed strict ordinances against nepotism among the cardinals and lived very parsimoniously, exhorting the cardinals to do the same. What were the Gallican Liberties?

Last updated on Saturday, 16th May 2009

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