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Dr. Robert Hickson 11 April 2014 Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary ope Saint !

eo the "reat Saint "e##a "al$ani

Two Chivalrous Defenders of Saint Joan of Arc: Georges Bernanos and Hilaire Belloc
%%Epigraphs%% &'(t the world's heart is always beatin$. That heart is childhood !ere it not for the sweet scandal of childhood" avarice and cunning would have dried up the world in a centur# or so ....)he #arvel is that once* an+ perhaps only once in the history of the worl+* ,hil+hoo+ stoo+ before a re$(lar trib(nalb(t the #arvel above all others is that this trib(nal sho(l+ have been a trib(nal of the ,h(rch.. /"eor$es 'ernanos* Sanctity Will Out* /0ew 1ork2 Shee+ 3 4ar+ 15467* pp. 8* 109#y e#phasis a++e+9a te:t first p(blishe+ in French in 1525* an+ then a$ain* by lon* in 15;4* an+ entitle+ Jeanne relapse et sainte7 <<< &So$e sa# that...her father =>ohn of Arc?* no longer %elieving evil of her desire to ri+e =with (nknown ar#e+ #en to ,hinon an+ then to #eet the &(ncrowne+ @in$ of France*. ,harles ABB?* %ut wishing to &eep her at ho$e* pro#ise+ her in #arria$e. !e do not &now. '(t she was clai$ed as affianced* an+ cleare+ herself in the 'ishopCs co(rt at )o(l =in !orraine?* a lon$ +ayCs ri+e away. 'f others had pro$ised her" she =at si:teen years? had not consented. She had vowed herself to God....)he co##an+ =i.e.* fro# her &s(##onin$ Heral+s fro# beatit(+e. /2179her insistent &celestial voices.9&Saint ,atherine an+ Saint Mar$aret. /217? controlle+ her* an+ by the en+ of the year =142D A.D.?* $o =to ,hinon? she #(st. She lon$e+ Cas a wo#an to be +elivere+C. She ba+e no farewells to father or #other or to the yo(n$ co#panions....(or did she ever again see the s$o&e rising fro$ her own roof" Do$r)$# and the woods of ho$e.. /Hilaire 'elloc* Joan of Arc /!on+on2 ,assell 3 ,o#pany* !)D.* 15257* pp. 2E* 289#y e#phasis a++e+7 <<< &)here was at co(rt =with ,harles ABB at ,hinon? in those +ays a hi$h yo(n$ noble of the =Aalois? 'loo+ Royal* fair* very brave an+ perpet(ally in battle ri+in$ to ar#s* the D(ke of AlenFon....=&Five years before*. he ha+ been capt(re+ by the Gn$lish after a ro(t an+ +efeat-? b(t when he was offered his freedo$ if he would renounce his allegiance an+ swear to the lanta$enet =Gn$lish? ca(se* he would not* b(t preferre+ the heavy b(r+en of his ranso#. 1

*or which lo#alt# his na$e was loved %# all" and alread# %# the +aid" though she had not seen hi$. He ha+ not been in the hall on that first ni$ht when >oan ha+ co#e* for he ha+ been all +ay (p%river in the #arshes shootin$ H(ail....='(t soon in person? Alen,on heard her spea&ing and fro$ that da# %elieved she was of God And fro$ that da# too the# were fast friends in ar$s" understanding each the other ...Alen,on %elieved" and the *aith in his handso$e e#es re$ained. For he hel+ to battle an+ knew the nat(re of war an+ of victory* how it is of the soul. An+ now =at oitiers? it was necessar# that =for the Do(bters an+ for those #ore p(sillani#o(s Gcclesiastics an+ ,(nnin$ 0e$otiatin$ Diplo#atists* so#e of who# were & h#enas laughing at lions*. /417? trial should %e $ade of Joan's clai$ and her sa#ings and her $ission- for $en $ust %e guarded against fraud....=)h(s*? it #(st be &nown* for the hono(r of the ,rown an+ for its very safety* whether these powers =of >oan? were of Heaven or of Hell. For the #en of those +ays...knew well the stren$th of "o+ an+ His Saints an+ also of the rince of Darkness.. /Hilaire 'elloc* Joan of Arc /!on+on2 ,assell 3 ,o#pany* !)D.* 15257* pp. ;6%;D* 40* 41%429#y e#phasis a++e+7 <<< &C)he worl+ shall be I(+$e+ by chil+ren. The spirit of childhood shall -udge the world....)he Saint =)hJrKse of !isie(:? whose festival it is this +ay will not #in+ #y speakin$ as a chil+. For B =as an A$nostic? a# b(t a child grown old an+ %urdened with ine.perience* an+ yo( =,atholics? havenCt #(ch to fear fro# #e. Fear those who are to co#e* who shall I(+$e yo(. *ear the innocence of children" for the# are also enfants terribles. /our onl# wa# out is to %eco$e children #ourselves" to rediscover the heart of childhood....1o( will have to b(il+ it =,hristen+o#? all (p a$ain. 1o( will have to b(il+ it (p under the e#es of children Beco$e as children #ourselves....She =&Saint )hJrKse of !isie(:.? preache+ the spirit of ,hil+hoo+. )he spirit of ,hil+hoo+ is capable of both $oo+ an+ evil. 't is not the spirit of resignation to in-ustice . 0or #(st yo( =,hristians? #ake of it the spirit of revolt* for it wo(l+ sweep yo( off the earth.... The Saint of 0isieu.* whose pro+i$io(s career is sufficient to&en in itself of the tragic urgenc# of the $essage entrusted to her" as&s #ou to %eco$e as children . )he p(rpose of "o+ is i#penetrable* as yo( =,hristians? say. 1et B cannot help feelin$ that this is yo(r last chance. /our last chance1and ours. Are yo( capable of reI(venatin$ o(r worl+ or notL....Christians" #ou $ust %eco$e children again* that we $a# %eco$e children too....'eca(se yo( +o not live yo(r faith* yo(r faith has cease+ to be a livin$ thin$. Bt has beco#e abstract9bo+yless. 2erhaps we shall find that THE D'S'(CA3(AT'4( 4* THE !43D 4* G4D is the real cause of all our $isfortune ....Joan of Arc was %ut a girl5 saint* yet she p(t the aris Doctors of Divinity in a ti$ht spot =at her protracte+ )rial in Ro(en* 0or#an+y in 14;1? !h# not let the Christ5Child have His Sa#L...."et back to chil+hoo+* itCs not so +an$ero(s.... Beco$e as little children1there lies #our refuge.C. /"eor$es 'ernanos* A Diary of My Times /0ew 1ork2 )he Mac#illan ,o#pany* 15;D7* pp. 158* 202%20;* 20E* 206* 20D 2

9italics in the ori$inal- #y bol+ e#phasis a++e+9the ori$inal French title was Les Grands cimetières sous la lune /15;D79literally to be translate+ as T e Great !emeteries under t e Moon7 <<< &(o rite can dispense us fro$ loving. Our ! urc is t e ! urc of t e Saints . 0owhere else co(l+ one even i#a$ine the adventure9an a+vent(re so h(#anM9of a little heroine =of 15 or 20? who one +ay passe+ H(ietly fro# the stake of the BnH(isition to ara+ise* (n+er the nose of a h(n+re+ an+ fifty theolo$ians.. /"eor$es 'ernanos* Sanctity Will Out* p. EE9italics in the ori$inal- #y bol+ e#phasis a++e+7 <<< &*or sanctit# is an adventure6 it is indeed the onl# adventure . )hose who have once realiNe+ this have fo(n+ the heart of the Catholic faith- they have felt in their #ortal flesh =the fear of +eath? the sh(++erin$ of another terror than the terror of +eath2 the shudder of supernatural hope. Our ! urc is t e ! urc of t e Saints. /"eor$es 'ernanos* Sanctity Will Out* p. E29italics in the ori$inal- #y bol+ e#phasis a++e+7

Five years before the be$innin$ of 4orl+ 4ar B* >oan of Arc was 'eatifie+ by ope Saint i(s O. /Bt was on 1D April 1505 in aris.7 A little #ore than a +eca+e later* an+ after the +evastatin$ 1514% 151D 4ar* she was ,anoniNe+ by ope 'ene+ict OA. Pn that 18 May 1520 in Ro#e* it was also still a +iffic(lt an+ e#bitterin$ ti#e* only I(st a year after the ven$ef(l )reaties of Aersailles an+ )rianon* an+ b(t a little less than two years after the +eceitf(lly precario(s /an+ soon%to%be%ab(se+7 Ar#istice of 11 0ove#ber 151D. )he flower of #any nations ha+ perishe+ in that 4ar* an+ we are still tryin$ to assi#ilate the f(ll ran$e an+ +epth of its conseH(ences* the +is#e#ber#ent an+ fra$#entation of so #any G#pires an+ the sa+ contin(ation of a newly be$(n &)hirty 1earsC 4ar. in G(rope /1514%154E7. ,aptain ,harles J$(y* the French poet* was hi#self kille+ in co#bat early in that 4ar* on E Septe#ber 1514* while lea+in$ his (nit in the #o#ento(s First 'attle of the Marne* an+ he was b(rie+ there at Ailleroi* to the northeast of aris. Five years earlier* after the 'eatification of &the Mai+ of Prleans*. J$(y ha+ p(blishe+* also in 1505* his own incantatory verse rhyth#s in his e:ten+e+ poe# /a three%act +ra#a7* entitle+ T e Mystery of t e ! arity of Joan of Arc /Mystère de la ! arit" de Jeanne d#Arc7. )he 1514%151D 4ar was also the +ecisive e:perience in the life of "eor$es 'ernanos /1DDD%154D7* as #any of his frien+s an+ bio$raphers have confir#e+.1 For* he ha+ co#e o(t of it* &not
1 Robert Speai$ht* Geor$es %ernanos& A Study of t e Man and t e Writer /0ew 1ork2 !iveri$ht* 15647* p. E29first


chan$e+ b(t +eepene+* not cynical b(t +isill(sione+. inas#(ch as &he ha+ seen =as a +ecorate+ corporal? the worst that #en co(l+ +o to each other on the fiel+ of battle9an+ behin+.. 2

D(rin$ the 4ar* in 1516* 'ernanos took a short leave fro# co#bat* so that* on 11 May 1516* he co(l+ be now sacra#entally we+. His belove+ wife was* re#arkably* a $racio(s yo(n$ wo#an fro# Ro(en in 0or#an+y* an+ na#e+ &>eanne +CArc.. She was herself* #oreover* a +escen+ant of >oan of Arc* for her #other* M#e. )albert +CArc* was &+irectly +escen+e+ fro# a brother of >eanne +CArc.. ; 'efore the 4ar* 'ernanos ha+ #et his f(t(re wife while livin$ in Ro(en as a Io(rnalist an+ e+itor. As his bio$rapher has winso#ely sai+2 &)o have #et an+ fallen in love with a +escen+ant of >eanne +CArc* an+ bearin$ the na#e of >eanne +CArc* in the place where >eanne ha+ been b(rnt at the stake* was a#on$ the neater contrivances of rovi+ence.. 4

Bn 1525* 'ernanos* like half%French Hilaire 'elloc in that sa#e year* was to p(blish a short an+ +eeply #ovin$ book on Saint >oan of Arc* which was later p(blishe+ in Gn$lish in 15469I(st after 4orl+ 4ar BB9(n+er the title Sanctity Will Out.E /'ernanos ha+* alrea+y in 1525* co#e affectionately an+ profo(n+ly (n+er the infl(ence of another #oung *rench saint* Saint )hJrKse of !isie(:* who ha+ written an+ enacte+ plays within the ,ar#el abo(t her cherishe+ >oan of Arc* an+ was herself 'eatifie+ an+ ,anoniNe+ by ope i(s OB a few years after St. >oan2 on 2; April 152; an+ then on 16 May 152E.7 Hilaire 'ellocCs own p(blishe+ 1525 book* entitle+ Joan of Arc*8 was +e+icate+ to his belove+ +a($hter* GliNabeth* an+ his vivi+ narrative rea+s like a no(rishin$ ,hivalric )ale of the ,atholic Faith* as we #ay soon f(rther co#e to see. For both rob(st #en ha+ a chivalro(s heart pro#pt to protect the v(lnerable wo#en an+ the little chil+ren who are at risk or even in $rave peril. For* s(ch an ethos is at the root of the ,o+e of ,hivalry2 that the $ore defenseless so$eone is" the $ore that one calls out for our defense. )hat is* in its f(ller sense* to +efen+ the & 'ar(uli ! risti.9the !ittle Pnes of ,hrist.
p(blishe+ in "reat 'ritain in 156;* by ,ollins 3 Harvill ress. )bid. )bid.* p. E1. )bid. "eor$es 'ernanos* Sanctity Will Out /0ew 1ork2 Shee+ 3 4ar+* 15467. a$e references to this te:t will be henceforth in parentheses in the #ain bo+y of the essay above9also to be the case for the below%cite+ 'elloc book on >oan of Arc. 8 Hilaire 'elloc* Joan of Arc /!on+on2 ,assell 3 ,o#pany !)D.* 15257. 2 ; 4 E


For* the !or+ Hi#self ha+ sai+2 &Sinite par(ulos ad me (enire.9&!et the !ittle Pnes co#e to Me.. 'ernanosC 1525 book in French /p(blishe+ in Gn$lish only in 15467 foc(ses on >oanCs ecclesiastical trial an+ protracte+ interro$ations at Ro(en in 0or#an+y* an+ on her +eath there on ;0 May 14;1- an+ his book pres(pposes a lar$er knowle+$e of her earlier s(pernat(ral inspirations an+ preparatory Io(rneys an+ a+vent(res in co#bat* also of her havin$ earlier le+ the ti#i+ an+ hesitant Da(phin hi#self* ,harles ABB* to the place of his ,oronation in Rei#s ,athe+ral on 16 >(ly 1425. Bt is therefore fittin$ to consi+er first the way Hilaire 'elloc intro+(ces an+ concl(+es his own short book* for it #akes (s think of a novel of !Jon 'loy /+. ; 0ove#ber 15167* too* an intense an+ passionate a(thor who# "eor$e 'ernanos avi+ly rea+ +(rin$* an+ for so#e ti#e after* 4orl+ 4ar B. 6

4hen we consi+er* for e:a#ple* the first wor+s an+* then* the concl(+in$ wor+s of !Jon 'loyCs powerf(l 1D56 novel* T e Woman W o Was 'oor /La *emme pau(re7*D we are i##e+iately st(nne+ an+ in won+er as to what co(l+ have possibly happene+ in the book to have effecte+ s(ch a transfor#ation. For the novel is +ivi+e+* #oreover* into only two parts2 &Flotsa# of the Sha+ows. an+ &Flotsa# of the !i$ht.. )he first wor+s of the novel9spoken by one of the #inor characters on the first S(n+ay of A+vent* an+ &on the very h(#ble threshol+ of the !aNarist MissionariesC chapel. in aris9are2 &This place stin&s of God..5

After this shockin$ i#p(+ence an+ blasphe#y* we #ay consi+er the (ne:pecte+ final wor+s of 'loyCs novel2 wor+s fro# the heart of spirit(al chil+hoo+* an+ co#in$ fro# the still yo(n$ +eep heart of &,lotil+e =who? is now forty%ei$ht...b(t she is #ore bea(tif(l than before* an+ #akes the
6 Robert Speai$ht* Geor$es %ernanos* pp. E6* 81* an+ 86. &Fro# Aernonnet he ='ernanos? wrote to Do# 'ese with a vehe#ence enco(ra$e+* no +o(bt* by a rea+in$ of !Jon ' literally weepin$ with ra$e* for Blo#'s anger was as contagious" and disproportionate" as his st#le. )he f(t(re wo(l+ be +isp(te+ between anarchy an+ or+er.. /E67 Moreover2 &Rather si$nificantly* 'ernanos place+ as epi$raph for this H(otation fro# J$(y* an in+ication that as the infl(ence of =,harles? Ma(rras rece+e+* that of J$(y an+ 'loy was be$innin$ to #ake itself felt.... J$(y ha+ +ie+ on the battlefiel+ of the Marne9an astonishin$ f(lfill#ent of his +estiny9b(t in another sense he was $ore alive than ever.. /819#y e#phasis a++e+7 !ikewise2 &'ernanos pays trib(te to those who# he calle+ his C#astersC2...=to incl(+e? 0)on Blo#" 7who was8 too prodigal of his anger for one who was so prodigal of his love.. /869#y e#phasis a++e+7 D !Jon 'loy* T e Woman W o Was 'oor /0ew 1ork2 Shee+ 3 4ar+* 15;57. 5 )bid.* p. ;9#y e#phasis a++e+. )his scene is sai+ to take place &in 1D65. an+ the wor+s (ttere+ were &belche+ forth. /;7 by a #inor fi$(re /&ol+ Bsi+ore ,hap(is.7* an+ e:plicitly calle+ by the novelCs 0arrator* wor+s of &i#p(+ence. /;7.


behol+er think of a col(#n of prayers....=an+? fro# ti#e to ti#e =she? co#es an+ instills into the so(l of the painter =!aNare Dr(i+e? a little of her own peace.2 &T ere is only one un appiness =only one final sorrow* +olor?*. she sai+* the last ti#e she saw hi#* &an+ that is9 (4T T4 BE 4(E 4* THE SA'(TS..10

!et (s analo$o(sly contrast the way Hilaire 'elloc be$ins an+ concl(+es his own narrative on >oan of Arc* affectionately +e+icate+ to his own yo(n$%yo(n$ +a($hter. 4e #ay also thereby co#e to won+er what he will soon say to no(rish (s f(rther in those all(rin$ &in between. pa$es. His be$innin$* B believe* sets a stern* yet #anly an+ chivalro(s tone2 Five h(n+re+ years a$o* an+ #ore* there was in France an ol+ #a+ @in$ = i.e.* ,harles AB &of the fa#ily of Aalois. /117? whose wife was a "er#an harlot =Bsabea( of 'avaria?* $oc&ing hi$. All in his real# was distracted- for when &ingship is wea& the powerful oppress and destro# . An+ a#on$ the #iseries of the ti#e was this2 that the kin$+o# was riven %# rivals. /119#y e#phasis a++e+7 'ellocCs book en+s with the followin$ wor+s abo(t the yo(n$ >oan at the en+ of her #ortal life* and still fearful of fire2 She aske+ for a ,ross...* which she kisse+ an+ p(t into the boso# of her white robe....She aske+ also for a ,r(cifi: fro# the ,h(rch at han+* an+ this was fo(n+ an+ $iven her....)he torch was =then? set to the fa$$ots* an+ in the #i+st of the s#oke =in the Ro(en #arketplace? they hear+ her proclai#in$ fir#ly that in+ee+ her Mission was of "o+* an+ they hear+ her prayin$ to the Saints- till* in a very little while* a lo(+ voice ca#e fro# the #i+st of the b(rnin$* the Holy 0a#e >GSQS* calle+ so lo(+ly that every #an hear+ it to the very en+s of the SH(are. An+ after that there was silence* an+ no so(n+ b(t the cracklin$ of the fire. Pr+er was =then? $iven for the e#bers to be p(lle+ apart so that all #i$ht see that she was +ea+. '(t lest her relics sho(l+ be worshippe+ =reverence+ an+ honore+?* #en were bi++en bear her ashes to the river Seine which ran nearby. So they threw into the river the ashes of that Mai+en* and her heart" which the fire had not consu$ed. /126%12D9#y bol+ e#phasis a++e+- the Holy 0a#e is capitaliNe+ in the ori$inal7

10 )bid.* pp. ;E2* ;EE* an+ ;E89italics an+ bol+ e#phasis in the ori$inal* e:cept for the wor+ & instills*. #y own e#phasis.


A fittin$ co(nterpointin$ co##ent on these lines fro# the heart of Hilaire 'elloc is to be fo(n+ in a later 1546 essay by "eor$es 'ernanos* entitle+ &P(r Frien+s the Saints*. written in Al$eria shortly before his own +eath on E >(ly 154D2 )he Ho(se of "o+ is a ho(se of #en* not of s(per#en. ,hristians arenCt s(per#en* saints still less so* since they are the #ost h(#an of h(#an bein$s. Saints are not s(bli#e* they have no nee+ of the s(bli#e- it is rather the s(bli#e that nee+s the#. Saints are not heroes in the =Stoic? #anner of l(tarchCs heroes. A hero $ives the ill(sion of s(rpassin$ h(#anity. )he saint +oesnCt s(rpass it* he ass(#es it* he strives to realiNe it in the best possible way. Do yo( see the +ifferenceL He strives to approach as nearly as possible his #o+el* >es(s ,hrist- that is* to co#e as close to Hi# who was perfect #an* with a si#plicity so perfect that in reass(rin$ others He +isconcerts the hero* for ,hrist +i+ not +ie only for heroes9He +ie+ for cowar+s too. 4hen his =,hristian? frien+s for$et Hi#* His ene#ies +o not. 1o( know that the =0eo% a$an* "er#an? 0aNis ceaselessly oppose+ to the Holy A$ony of ,hrist in the "ar+en of Plives the Ioyo(s +eath of #any yo(n$ Hitlerian heroes. ,hrist* on the other han+* wishe+ to open (p to His #artyrs the $lorio(s opport(nity of a +eath witho(t fear- b(t He also wante+ to prece+e each of (s in the +arkness of #ortal a$ony. )he #an with a fir# an+ fearless han+ can at the last #o#ent look for s(pport on His sho(l+er* while the #an with a tre#blin$ han+ can be s(re of fin+in$ His tre#blin$ han+. =So* too* with >oan of Arc in her final a+vent(re of &s(pernat(ral hope*. in her tre#blin$ yo(thf(lness still a#i+st that final fear of filial reverence an+ her h(#ility of hope* +eep & esp"rance..?11

)he assion of >oan of Arc was hei$htene+ by her own anticipations* especially her ac(tely fearf(l anticipation of b(rnin$ in the fla#es9an+* on top of that* the c(#(lative fati$(e she en+(re+ for #onths in the sor+i+ prison /with her coarse an+ pr(rient Iailors7 an+ beca(se of her protracte+ inH(isitions by the ,h(rch )rib(nal fro# early >an(ary 14;1 (ntil her +eath on ;0 May. Hilaire 'elloc* twelve years before 'ernanosC co#parable sensitivity an+ +iscern#ent* presente+ the followin$ insi$hts in 15;E* writin$ to @atharine AsH(ith fro# alestine an+ specifically fro# the "ar+en of "ethse#ane2 )here are now left alive 2 or ; very ol+ ol+ trees9the tiny leaf of one of which yo( shall +(ly receive. Do not +espise it* for it is a #aterial link with the #ost sacre+ place of the earth2 the place where "o+ Hi#self s(ffere+. )he A$ony in the "ar+en is the core an+ hei$ht of the assion. )he near anticipation of a +rea+f(l thin$ is the ac#e of its effect2 when the fallin$ of a blow is #orally
11 "eor$es 'ernanos* T e Last +ssays of Geor$es %ernanos /0ew 1ork2 "reenwoo+ ress* 158D7* pp. 240%241. )his Reprint was first p(blishe+ in Gn$lish in 15EE* by the Henry Re$nery ,o#pany of ,hica$o* Bllinois. )he final essay* &P(r Frien+s the Saints. /written in Al$eria* in 15467 will be fo(n+ on pa$es 215%246.


certain* the last awaitin$ of it is the #aster trial. )he seH(el is #ore e:ha(ste+an+ that is why all who know the si$nificance of ,hristen+o# sho(l+ revere9 even beyon+ the rock of the ,ross or the Holy Sep(lchre itself* or the Altar of the Ass(#ption in 0aNareth or the $rotto of 'ethlehe#9Plivet. &Die( #R#e a craint la Mort.. )his is $reat poetry an+ therefore* I(stly interprete+* so(n+ tr(th2 so(n+ theolo$y. 0ot that "o+ Hi#self can s(ffer* b(t that "o+ was so intensely* so inti#ately Man in the Bncarnation* that the #e#ories an+ e:perience of Divinity an+ H(#anity are (nite+ therein2 an+ thro($h it* the worst pain of the creat(re is ,nown* by act(al e:perience of o(r own kin+* by the ,reator....)he #iracle whereby s(ch an enor#ity =Death an+ its anticipations? co#in$ (pon i##ortal so(ls +oes not bree+ +espair* is the chief #iracle of the Bncarnation9an+ to work that #iracle* the Bncarnate9with what s(pre#e ener$y9accepte+ o(r pain* al#ost ref(se+ it* b(t accepte+ it- an+ it was $reater than any pain of o(rs2 physically beyon+ en+(rance an+ in the spirit a +escent into Hell. 0owhere is there #eanin$ in prayer as at "ethse#ane. Qpon s(ch a fo(n+ation* perhaps* the so(l that prays shall lift into f(lfill#ent an+ recovery. Bt is* that $ar+en an+ its shrine* the very centre of #anCs worl+. )hat is Plivet* +ear @atharine...s(rro(n+e+ to+ay with all the t(rpit(+e that #an can fall into* all the baseness an+ betrayal that #an when he revels in hypocrisy can attain. Bt has s(rvive+ every other attack* the alternate ne$lect an+ assa(lt of those twenty h(n+re+ years* an+ the li$ht shines (nchan$e+ over it.12

'ernanos an+ 'elloc ha+ #any te#pera#ental si#ilarities* altho($h 'elloc was #ore reticent an+ i#plicit abo(t the +eepest #ysteries an+ inti#acies of life. An+* yet* in his h(#ility /an+ fear of pres(#ption7* he often $racio(sly +isclose+ his fear of not #akin$ it ho#e. 0ot even to see his little $o++a($hter a$ain* !ittle Rose. )h(s* he co(l+ have a heart9an+ a chivalro(s heart9for those who also s(ffere+ s(ch fears an+ #o#ents of te#ptation9even the te#ptation of +espair9also like >oan of Arc. 'ernanos* however9ei$hteen years yo(n$er than the co#parably spirite+ 'elloc /1D60%15E;79 co(l+ $ore easil# (n+erstan+ an+ her ra+iant* an+ innocently tr(stin$* spirit(al chil+hoo+. How fittin$ that Saint >oan of Arc ha+ s(ch #a$nani#o(s an+ h(#ble an+ chivalro(s +efen+ers.
12 A.0. 4ilson* -ilaire %elloc& A %io$rap y /0ew 1ork2 Athene(#* 15D47* pp. ;;D%;;59italics in the ori$inal. )his !etter fro# Hilaire 'elloc to @atharine AsH(ith* &who was perhaps his closest confi+ante in reli$io(s #atters. /;;D7 was +ate+ ; May 15;E. )he !etter sho(l+ be rea+ in its entirety* or at least the len$thy passa$e on pa$es ;;D%;;5. Despite 4ilsonCs often $rat(ito(s +epreciations* even base #ockeries* in his bio$raphy of Hilaire 'elloc* he says so#ethin$ reverent an+ inspirin$* tho($h still inco#plete* after $enero(sly H(otin$ this !etter of ; May 15;E2 &Bt is worth H(otin$ this letter so f(ll* beca(se there is so #(ch of 'elloc here* an+ so #(ch of hi# which he nor#ally kept caref(lly conceale+ =sic?. Bt shows #ore nake+ly than anythin$ he ever wrote* how close the very tho($ht of Death bro($ht hi# to Despair- an+ how the one thin$ =sic? that co(l+ resc(e hi# fro# +espair was the assion of his Savior. /;;57 /Bt will be note+ that 4ilson +oes not even #ention 'ellocCs tr(st in the 'lesse+ Mother an+ his +eep an+ ten+er love for her. 4e therefore o($ht to look at o(r 'ellocCs reli$io(s poetry* too* pace 4ilson.7 Hilaire 'elloc was to +ie on the Feast of P(r !a+y of Mo(nt ,ar#el* on 18 >(ly 15E;9after havin$ ha+ a fall into the hearth of his own ho#e. 4ith a fire likely in that hearth* too.


As "eor$es 'ernanosC $ratef(l !ittle ,(rJ of A#brico(rt sai+* in ,hapter 2 of his 15;8 book* T e Diary of a !ountry 'riest2 &Blessed %e he who has saved a child's heart fro$ despair.. 'ernanosC !ittle riest of A#brico(rt also sai+* this ti#e to the initially tro(ble+* b(t finally peacef(l ,o(ntess2 &Ma+a#e* May the ho(r of #ercy not strike in vain. an+ &May yo( not be fo(n+ finally stan+in$ i#penitent (n+er the eyes of #ercy.. &For* Ma+a#e* Hell is not to love any#ore.. May these e:a#ples of sanctity* or near sanctity9these channels of "race9help (s* too* to be a$ain with o(r belove+ ones* an+ finally to #ake it ho#e. %%Finis%% S 2014 Robert D. Hickson