Félix Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans, began calling for Joan's canonization in 1855 in his sermon in her honor (left). In 1869 he submitted a formal request to Rome. A series of local inquisitions were held in Orléans between 1874 and 1888. The reports were favorable, and the cause was submitted to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The course of canonization was closely followed by Joan's devotees, and books like Cochard'sLa Cause de Jeanne d'Arc, describing how the process was proceeding, were popular (at right). Many churches held yearly festivals in her honor; the stocklist of the Librairie Jeanne d'Arc shows printed pamphlets of the panegyrics delivered in Orléans.
After a long investigation, Joan was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in January of 1904. Upon approval of three miracles attributed to her intercession, he declared her Blessed in 1909. Finally, in 1920 Pope Benedict XV declared Joan a saint and "a most brilliantly shining light of the Church Triumphant". The canonization ceremony took place on May 16 and Saint Peter's was thronged with French pilgrims who had come to see their Jeanne elevated. The outpouring of devotion continued for years, illustrated here by publications printed in connection with the first three years of fêtes and religious celebrations in Orléans, Paris, and Rouen.
Once Joan was beatified, and then established
as a saint, there was a flood of books and religious art to fulfill the
desires of the faithful. The holy cards displayed date from c.1905 to
1937. In the catalog of religious statues, Marcel
Marron's shop in Orleans offered five full-length statues of Joan, each
in several sizes and three busts.
Numerous books explicated Joan's life - and laid out how it could serve as a model for the faithful. Royden's The Blessed Joan of Arc, 1923, praises her vitality and endurance, as well as her religious virtues, making her familiar and accessible to a young audience.Although Joan is no longer the center of a great ferment as she was between 1870 and 1930, her cult is still important in France, and observed throughout the world. The comic book Joan of Arc, by René Berthier and Marie-Hélène Sigault, was printed in 1995.