Patron Saint of France
• Military • Women’s Army Corps • Courage in the Face of Ridicule
Feast Day: May 30
Jeanne d’Arc (Jehanne Darc, Jean, Maid of Orleans, La Pucelle, St. Joan) was born on January 6, 1412, in Domrémy, Champagne, France; the youngest of Jacques and Isabelle d’Arc’s five children. Even as a child she was known (and sometimes ridiculed) for her piety, generosity and kindness.
For the most part, she was a typical young girl, until she began to hear “voices” – particularly those of Archangel Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch, mainly advising her to be good. As she grew older, the voices became more insistent. Finally, in May of 1428 they told her she must go to the Dauphin (Charles VII) and help him regain the country. (The Duke of Burgundy had conspired with the King of England to wrest control of France from Charles.)
The voices even gave her a military strategy to defeat the English. Reluctantly, she followed the instructions, and was (not surprisingly) ridiculed and rebuked. Her piety and persistence prevailed, however, and accompanied by six men, she proceeded to Chinon and was received by Charles on March 9, 1429. After winning approval of the Archbishop of Reims, Joan was permitted to lead the Dauphin’s army.
Rallying behind her white banner, they began to win victories that were perceived as miraculous. They freed Orleans in a little over a week. They drove the English from the Loire Valley. By July Charles was crowned King of France with Joan, in her suit-of-armor, at his side. As a reward for her service, the king granted her and her family noble status.
But the war dragged on, the king seemed to lose interest in her – despite the fact that she had told him God had given her only “a year and a little longer” to accomplish His will – and Joan once again valiantly took to the battlefield. However, this time things did not go well.
She was captured on May 23, 1430 and given over to the English, who put her on trial for witchcraft and heresy. She was convicted and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
Twenty-five years too late, in 1456, she was declared both innocent and a martyr by the Inquisition. It ruled that the original trial had been tainted by fraud, illegal procedures, and intimidation of both prosecutors and defendant. The “Maid of Orleans” was beatified in 1909 and canonized a saint on May 16, 1920.
Some interesting links outside our site:
Art Quiz about Joan of Arc
The Trial of Joan of Arc, 1431 from the Medieval Sourcebook
Joan of Arc Web Ring
Saint Joan of Arc Center Albuquerque, N.M. Virginia Frohlick, Founder
Please let us know of any sites that you think should be shared.
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