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Pope calls Joan of Arc model for public officials

Pope Benedict XVI says public officials today would do well to model themselves on Joan of Arc, the French saint who was tried for heresy and burned at the stake for her convictions.

Benedict highlighted the life of the 15th century mystic in his Wednesday audience, which over the past several months he has used to highlight important women in the church's history.

Joan of Arc led the French to several victories over the English during the Hundred Years War. She was tried for heresy and witchcraft and burned at the stake in 1431. Her conviction was later annulled and she was canonized in 1920.

Benedict says: "Hers is a beautiful example of holiness for lay people working in public life, particularly during the most difficult situations."