1412, it is in the last half-century of the Hundred Years’ War in which
the French attempted to attain freedom from English rule by fighting to
eradicate English strongholds. An unusually strong, healthy, and
possibly clairvoyant girl is born to Isabelle Rome and Jacques d’Arc in
the small village of Domremy, France. Her mother is from the town of
Vouthon, which is west of Domremy. Her surname concurs that either she
or a family member has visited Rome. Her father was born in a village
called Ceffonds in the province of Champagne. His last name indicates a
connection with Arc-en-Barrois, a small town fifty kilometers north of
Ceffonds. She had a somewhat wealthy family as you can tell from their
home with a stone construction. You can still visit her home today. It
has since been used as a wine cellar, a wine press, and a stable. She
was one of five children: Jacques, Catherine, Jean, Joan, and Pierre.
Their wealth came from their farming of wheat, flax, beet hemp, and
colza. They also bred livestock, spun wool and tow, and kneaded their
own bread. She was baptized by Jean Minet in the Church of St. Remy.
She is admired by patriots, women’s rights activists, paranormal
investigators, and playwrights.
The woman I am talking about is commonly known as Joan of Arc.
When Joan was 13 she began to see visions and hear voices who she later
determined to be Saints Catherine, Margaret, and Michael. They
convinced her that she was chosen by God to help the dauphin, Charles
VII free France and take his seat in the throne. At age 17 in 1429 she
gained access to the King through the military commander in Vaucoulaurs.
Charles was desperate because the English had captured almost half of
France including Paris. When Joan told him of her visions of the Saints
he was doubtful so he set up two tests for her. In the first he
disguised himself as a courtier, but she pointed him out immediately.
For the second test he asked her what he prayed to God for the night
before she arrived; she told him exactly. Some of the clergy believed
her to be Satanic, but Joan was approved. Charles fitted her with armor
and gave her command of the military. Soon after she set out to free
Orleans from a brutal siege. The other French commanders hesitantly
followed orders, but soon they obeyed her whole-heartedly. Under Joan’s
command the siege was broken after only ten days and the English fled.
She was given the everlasting title “The Maid of Orleans”. Joan
convinced Charles to undergo a formal coronation in the Cathedral at
Reims. While escorting Charles, Joan and her army won several battles
with the British along the way. She was at his side when Charles took
the throne on July, 17 1429.
During a minor battle in September, 1429 where Joan tried to free
Paris, she was injured. Eight months later she was captured by a troop
of Burgundians who wished to sell her for ransom. Instead she was sold
to the English for a lot of money. The English believed her rumored
visions Satanic so they tried her on accusations of witchcraft and
heresy. Despite constant badgering she never swayed from her belief
that her visions her from God. A French clergy sympathetic to the
English convicted and sentenced Joan to death. On May, 30 1431 in the
town square at Rouen she was burned at the stake. Due to her bravery in
death people thought they had witnessed martyrdom of a Saint. Much to
her family’s regret she was not allowed a Christian burial as her ashes
were thrown into the Seine River.
In 1455 Joan’s family requested a retrial for her and a hearing was
granted by Pope Callistus III. One year later she was found innocent.
Joan was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and in 1920 she was canonized
as a Saint. You can celebrate her feast day on May 30.
“Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans, was neither a witch nor a saint, but
by curious circumstances her life and death fulfilled the requirements
-From Jeanne La Pucelle and The Dying God
by James L. Matterer