1412, it is in the last half-century of the Hundred Years’ War in whichthe French attempted to attain freedom from English rule by fighting toeradicate English strongholds. An unusually strong, healthy, andpossibly clairvoyant girl is born to Isabelle Rome and Jacques d’Arc inthe small village of Domremy, France. Her mother is from the town ofVouthon, which is west of Domremy. Her surname concurs that either sheor a family member has visited Rome. Her father was born in a villagecalled Ceffonds in the province of Champagne.
His last name indicates aconnection with Arc-en-Barrois, a small town fifty kilometers north ofCeffonds. She had a somewhat wealthy family as you can tell from theirhome with a stone construction. You can still visit her home today. Ithas since been used as a wine cellar, a wine press, and a stable. Shewas one of five children: Jacques, Catherine, Jean, Joan, and Pierre.
Their wealth came from their farming of wheat, flax, beet hemp, andcolza. They also bred livestock, spun wool and tow, and kneaded theirown bread. She was baptized by Jean Minet in the Church of St. Remy. She is admired by patriots, women’s rights activists, paranormalinvestigators, 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 laterdetermined to be Saints Catherine, Margaret, and Michael. Theyconvinced her that she was chosen by God to help the dauphin, CharlesVII free France and take his seat in the throne.
At age 17 in 1429 shegained access to the King through the military commander in Vaucoulaurs.Charles was desperate because the English had captured almost half ofFrance including Paris. When Joan told him of her visions of the Saintshe was doubtful so he set up two tests for her. In the first hedisguised himself as a courtier, but she pointed him out immediately. For the second test he asked her what he prayed to God for the nightbefore she arrived; she told him exactly. Some of the clergy believedher to be Satanic, but Joan was approved. Charles fitted her with armorand gave her command of the military. Soon after she set out to freeOrleans from a brutal siege.
The other French commanders hesitantlyfollowed orders, but soon they obeyed her whole-heartedly. Under Joan’scommand the siege was broken after only ten days and the English fled.She was given the everlasting title “The Maid of Orleans”. Joanconvinced Charles to undergo a formal coronation in the Cathedral atReims. While escorting Charles, Joan and her army won several battleswith the British along the way.
She was at his side when Charles tookthe throne on July, 17 1429. During a minor battle in September, 1429 where Joan tried to freeParis, she was injured. Eight months later she was captured by a troopof Burgundians who wished to sell her for ransom.
Instead she was soldto the English for a lot of money. The English believed her rumoredvisions Satanic so they tried her on accusations of witchcraft andheresy. Despite constant badgering she never swayed from her beliefthat her visions her from God. A French clergy sympathetic to theEnglish convicted and sentenced Joan to death. On May, 30 1431 in thetown square at Rouen she was burned at the stake. Due to her bravery indeath people thought they had witnessed martyrdom of a Saint.
Much toher family’s regret she was not allowed a Christian burial as her asheswere thrown into the Seine River.In 1455 Joan’s family requested a retrial for her and a hearing wasgranted 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 canonizedas 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, butby curious circumstances her life and death fulfilled the requirementsof both.” -From Jeanne La Pucelle and The Dying God by James L. Matterer