Significant Events on This Day:
1380: Catherine of Sienna, Dominican tertiary and mystic, died in Rome. She had a strong influence on world events through correspondence with the notables of her day.
1525: Fray Pedro died. He was a mentor to Las Casas, the “Father of the Indians.”
1607: The first Anglican Church was established in the American Colonies, at Cape Henry, Virginia.
1882: John Nelson Darby died in Bournemouth, England. He was a founder of the Plymouth Brethren movement and exerted a strong, worldwide influence on dispensationalism and proponent of a pre-tribulational rapture. In the United States, many of Darby’s ideas were popularized in the notes of the Scofield Bible.
1933: Dawson Trotman (pictured at right) began his work with Navy men. The work led to the formation of the Navigators, a discipleship organization.
1945: Five hundred Greek Catholic clergymen at Lwow, Poland, were surrounded by police and arrested. Many were shot.
“Joan of Arc Turns Tide of French-English War”
Throughout much of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the English fought the French in an attempt to claim France as their own. The English had the upper hand Until Joan of Arc appeared.
Joan was a simple and pious peasant girl who wove and spun. She began to see heavenly beings and hear their voices, which told her that deliverance would come to France through her. The voices sent her to the nearest French bastion, but when she appeared before him her pleas were ignored. Eventually, Joan convinced local authorities that she was for real. One thing led to another and she ended up picking the disguised dauphin out of a crowd of courtiers. She also made prophecies, which were recorded in a letter written from Lyons on April 22, 1429. Those prophecies came true.
One of her predictions was that she would save besieged Orleans, and area that was crucial to the defense of France. On April 29 in 1429, a rapid march brought Joan of Arc, accompanied by French forces, to the city of Orleans. It was the turning point of the Hundred Years’ War. The English retreated the next day, but as it was Sunday, Joan forbid the French to pursue them. Within a few days, the English garrisons around Orleans had all been captured. Joan was wounded in the fighting, which was also as she had predicted.
Charles, the irresolute dauphin, had to be coaxed into action. Joan convinced him to undertake various moves, which he did halfheartedly. A dramatic French victory at Pasay opened the way for Charles to retake Reims. Again Joan had difficulty convincing him to take the logical step of having himself crowned, but he finally acquiesced. Then she knelt before him and called him king.
The voices told her that she had less than a year left for her work. Those succeeding months proved to be frustrating for her. The king and his advisors lacked the boldness to pursue the advantages Joan had gained for the French. A feeble attempt to retake Paris failed. Not long afterward, Joan was captured by the English, who brought charge of witchcraft against her. Determined to find grounds for executing her, they had a group of high-powered theologians browbeat her and did not allow her any legal counsel.
As could be expected with such a stacked trial, Joan was convicted of practicing witchcraft. In a moment when her terror overcame her, she recanted with the caveat that she did so only as far as it was God’s will. Her persecutors soon entrapped her with accusations.
Quickly she regained her courage and did not waver again, even when brought to the stake. She asked that a crucifix be held before her face and called upon the name of Jesus as long as her breath remained in her.
Subsequent inquiries exonerated her and the pope officially canonized her as a saint in 1920.
Author’s of the Above Article: A. Kenneth Curtis and Daniel Graves edited This Day In Christian History. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications Inc., 2005. The article above was adapted from the entry for April 29.
A. Kenneth Curtis, Ph.D, is president of the Christian History Institute and the founding editor of Christian History magazine. He has written and produced several award winning historical films for Gateway Films/Vision Video’s Church history collection. He is also coauthor of 100 Most Important Dates in Christian History and From Christ to Constantine: The Trial and Testimony of the Early Church. He and his wife, Dorothy, reside in eastern Pennsylvania.
Daniel Graves is the Webmaster for the Christian History Institute and holds a master’s degree in library science from Western Michigan University. He is the author of Doctors Who Followed Christ and Scientists of Faith. Dan and wife, Pala reside in Jackson, Michigan.
“Death by Exhaustion”
Giacomo Benincasa, dyer of fabrics in Siena, Italy, named his twenty-third child Catherine. Their house sat on a hillside, the basement containing dye rooms. Atop the hill sat the church of St. Dominic over which, when Catherine was seven, she saw a vision of Jesus. From that day she yearned to serve Christ.
At age 12 she so resisted her father’s pressure to marry that he said, May God preserve us, dearest daughter, from trying to set ourselves against the will of God. We have long seen that it was no childish whim of thine, and now we know clearly that it is the Spirit of God. He gave her a room near his dye quarters, and there Catherine made herself a chapel.
Catherine’s personality burned like a knife, and she soon inserted herself without invitation into community and church affairs, becoming the most outspoken Italian woman of the Middle Ages. She railed against the death sentence of a young man convicted of criticizing the government, and she accompanied him to his execution, snapping up his decapitated head and arousing public protest. She cared for prisoners. When the Black Death swept Italy, Catherine was everywhere giving aid.
Catherine fumed and stormed about corruption in the Church. She denounced materialism and immorality in the monasteries. “Those who should be the temples of God,” she wrote, “are the stables of swine.” She fired letters like missiles, keeping three secretaries busy at a time. She told Pope Gregory it would be better for him to resign than to founder, and “Do not be a boy, but a man!” She negotiated peace treaties. She was instrumental in moving the papacy from France back to Rome.
It’s no wonder that, on April 29, 1380 she died at age 32 of exhaustion from these and other labors. Her last words: “Dear children, let not my death sadden you; rather rejoice that I am leaving a place of many suffering to be united forever with my most sweet and loving Bridegroom.”
Next to St. Francis, Catherine of Siena is the most celebrated of the Italian saints.
About the Author: Robert J. Morgan, is the pastor of Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee and the author of the best-selling Then Sings My Soul, From This Verse, , Red Sea Rules, and On This Day – this article was adapted from the April 29th entry in this excellent book. He conducts Bible conferences, parenting and marriage retreats, and leadership seminars across the country.
“Jesus: The Child Who Knew More Than His Parents”
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Every Jewish male was required to attend, but women who loved God came as well. It was a difficult eighty-mile trip from Nazareth, but Passover was the highlight of the year. Since highway robbers were a known danger, pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem usually traveled together in caravans for protection. Mary and Joseph traveled with a large group of friends and relatives.
When Jesus was twelve years old, the Passover was on April 29, A.D. 9, and the whole family attended the festival as usual. This was a highly significant period in Jesus’ life because at the age of thirteen Jewish boys were considered to be responsible for themselves before God. The year prior to this was filled with intense instruction (see Darrel L. Bock. Luke. BECNT. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994. 1:259-75). *Note: The custom of the bar mitzvah came after the time of Jesus.
After the celebration was over, Mary and Joseph started home for Nazareth with their large group of fellow pilgrims. Without their knowledge, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not miss him at first because they assumed he was friends elsewhere in their caravan. But when they stopped for the evening, they could not find him, and realized he was missing. So they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. Three days later they finally found him in the temple, sitting among the religious leaders, engaged in a question-and-answer session with them.
But Mary and Joseph were angry at what they perceived as his disobedience. They were relieved to find him but were understandably upset. Mary said, “Son! Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
Jesus answered her, “But why did you need to search? You should have known that I would be in my Father’s house.”
In Jesus’ Greco-Roman world, house or household was not only a designation of location but also of authority. Jesus was aligning himself with his heavenly Father’s house even if it meant disrupting his relationship with his earthly parents. This was a foreshadowing of the pattern for the rest of his life. Mary and Joseph did not understand what he meant. They could not comprehend Jesus’ understanding of who he was. But Mary stored all these things in her heart.
Then, as an obedient twelve-year-old, Jesus returned to Nazareth with his parents and lived under their authority (Luke 2:41-52).
Mary and Joseph were probably the very first persons to wrestle with the question of who Jesus was. Before his birth an angel had told Joseph that Mary’s son would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and had told Mary her son “would be very great and [would] be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). Yet Mary and Joseph did not completely understand the angels’ messages. These were the things that Mary pondered in her heart. We, too, must answer the question, Who is Jesus? What is your answer?
“So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” – Luke 1:35
Author’s of the Article Above: Mike and Sharon Rusten are not only marriage and business partners; they also share a love for history. Mike studied at Princeton (B.A.), the University of Minnesota (M.A.), Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Th.M.), and New York University (Ph.D.). Sharon studied at Beaver College, Lake Forest College, and the University of Minnesota (B.A.), and together with Mike has attended the American Institute of Holy Land Studies (now Jerusalem University College). The Rustens have two grown children and live in Minnetonka, Minnesota. This article was adapted from the April 29th entry in their wonderful book The One Year Book of Christian History, Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2003.