Jeanne d’Albret finally returned to her royal
house, the castle at Pau in the kingdom of Navarre.
The queen was home!
The people of Navarre were glad. Not only did
they have their queen safely back from the perils of
the battle at La Rochelle, she brought back with her
a gift—an amazing gift that would not have been
possible to possess before. Jeanne had been busy
for the many months she had stayed in La
Rochelle. She had paid for the work
to translate the New Testament into
the Basque language, one of the languages
spoken in Navarre. She took
copies along with her now. She also
saw to the translation and publication
of the Genevan Catechism, written
by John Calvin as he was in Geneva.
Jeanne understood the Reformed principles
that made reading the Scriptures in one’s own
tongue of utmost importance. She wanted that for all
the people in her realm, no matter what language
they spoke. She also saw the importance of growing
in the knowledge of Reformed doctrine and truth.
The Catechism was written in the form of questions
and answers so that the doctrines taught in it could
be more easily learned. Yes, the kingdom of Navarre
was glad. With the return of their queen, the walls
of the royal house at Pau rang once more with the
truths of the Reformed faith, and they echoed that
joy and gladness.
God used the life of Jeanne d’Albret in a remarkable
way, as he did the life of her mother, and as he
would the life of her son. Her mother, Marguerite of
Navarre, had helped many a Protestant prisoner
and exile. Jeanne took up that work,
and continued in it with all her heart and
means. Her son would go on to reign
in France as King Henry IV, and though
his rule was not always favorable to
the Reformed faith, he later signed
the Edict of Nantes that would finally
allow the Huguenots some measure
of freedom to worship in France. The
generations of the royal house were in
God’s providence and control.
But dangerous days still lay ahead for the queen,
for Navarre…and for France. After the queen’s return
to Pau, the walls of the royal house there would not
hear her voice for long. As soon as she returned,
she was urged to go to Paris. She saw the danger
and refused to go, but, finally, the reasons to go
would become too overwhelming. She would leave
for Paris, and she would suddenly and suspiciously
die there in June of 1572. This would be only weeks
before the most terrible event yet to afflict the Huguenots
in France—the Saint Bartholomew’s Day
Massacre of 1572.
But all these persecutions were in God’s sovereign
control. That was the faith of the French
Huguenots. They embraced the truths that God so
graciously revealed to them, and that Calvin so ably
set forth to them. Always, always, God uses kings, or
queens, or peace, or war, or persecutions, or fiery
trials—or anything—for the good of his people and
the coming of his kingdom. They knew that, for he
is God. He is sovereign. He alone saves his people.
That was what they believed.