St. Joan’s Chapel

  • The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) parishes have had active jail ministries in Santa Clara County (California) for over sixty years. In 2022, we created Saint Joan’s Chapel to expand and coordinate services to the community of inmates and those in reentry and recovery in our county. St. Joan’s Chapel is named in honor of Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431).
  • About Joan of Arc: Joan of Arc’s life of valor, poverty, and activism to change the world, her imprisonment, recanting-and-return-to-faith, condemnation-and-rehabilitation, and suffering accusations of madness-or-possession can inspire prisoners and those on the margins of society. Born into a farming family in north-east France, Joan was guided by religious visions as a teenager. When called to lead an army to defend her homeland, Saint Joan dressed as a man and rose above the gender roles of her time. She was referred to as La Pucelle (the virgin) and was regarded as an inspiring model of virtue for both men and women. Today, Joan of Arc is revered as a martyr, mystic, early feminist, and a symbol of independence. Joan of Arc was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and is a patron saint of France. The Episcopal Church celebrates “Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc)” as a mystic and soldier, on 30 May each year.
  • About St. Joan’s Chapel: The goal of St. Joan’s Chapel is to develop and support the congregation that includes the community of faith inside Santa Clara County jails, as well as providing a voice and agency inside the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real for prisoners and those in reentry and recovery. Prisoners inside jail are separated by gender, security level, health considerations, and many other factors, but St. Joan’s Chapel can welcome them all, whether we meet one-on-one or in groups.
  • St. Joan’s Chapel serves as a formal connection among the diocese and the community of individuals and parishes involved in ministry with prisoners. The diocese will pray and advocate for, support, recommend, and connect groups and individuals associated with St. Joan’s Chapel as possible and appropriate.
  • Stepping Stones Gathering for those in reentry and recovery is a project of St. Joan’s Chapel. Stepping Stones was started in 2018 by the Reverend Peggy Bryan and Jack Fanning, and continues online on Sunday mornings at 8 am (Pacific time). Weekly readings (and the Zoom link) are posted on Stepping Stones’ Facebook page. Several inmates from jail and prison phone into Stepping Stones each week. Other St. Joan’s Chapel work includes: weekly worship services inside jail, group scripture study and theological reflection, individual chaplain visits and pastoral care, distribution of clothes and food in local unhoused camps, as well as pen pal and holiday card distribution projects. Community volunteers include many who are in reentry and recovery.
  • St. Joan’s Chapel is both ecumenical (inter-denominational among Christians) and inter-religious in its vision and participants. It is a group of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real but not limited to Episcopal chaplains, volunteers, participants or inmates. St. Joan’s Chapel is broadly based and does not represent just one parish in the diocese. For now, it is focused only on Santa Clara County jails.
  • St. Joan’s Chapel is a partner of the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC). The Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy of Santa Clara County is a non-profit organization founded in 1962. CIC Ministries operates in cooperation with the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Department of Correction, Probation Department, and other government agencies. CIC trains and supervises chaplains working with prisoners in county jail.
  • To communicate with the St. Joan’s Chapel team, send email to: saintjoanchapel at gmail dot com
Jeanne d Arc, May 1429 drawing by Clement de Fauquembergue, French National Archives
Images:
  • Drawing: The earliest extant representation of Joan of Arc is a drawing by Clément de Fauquembergue (May 1429, French National Archives). This image is described as “Joan of Arc in the protocol of the parliament of Paris (1429). Drawing by Clément de Fauquembergue. French National Archives.” This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1927. 
  • Photo: “Joan of Arc, West Ninety-third Street, Manhattan” 2020 photo by Jim Henderson of the 1915 heroic bronze statue by Anna Hyatt Huntington. Usage: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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