Jeanne d'Arc, also known as Joan of Arc, and The Maid of Orléans,
was an illiterate peasant girl born in Eastern France
in 1412. She was the daughter of Jacques d'Arc
and Isabelle Romée
. They resided in Vouthon-Bas
, along with Jeanne and their two sons, Pierre
. She was raised in a strict Catholic
household, and taught the craft of spinning wool by her mother as a trade. She claimed to receive divine visions in the year 1424, at the age of twelve. She stated that she was visited by Saint Michael
, Saint Catherine
, and Saint Margaret
, who urged the girl to drive the English
from France, and deliver Dauphin Charles to his coronation in Rheims.
At the age of sixteen, Jeanne requested to that her kinsman Durand Lassois
accompany her to nearby Vaucouleurs
, where she petitioned Count Robert de
to allow her to visit the royal French court in Chinon
to discuss her visions. de Baudricourt scoffed at Jeanne, but this did not deter her from her mission. She returned the following January after gaining the support of two men in standing; Jean de Metz
and Bertrand de Poulengy
. She was granted a second meeting, and made a remarkable prediction about a military reversal in
The count arranged for an escort to Chinon for Jeanne, where she impressed Charles VII
during a private meeting. She requested to accompany the army on Yolande of Aragon
's relief mission to Orléans.
Jeanne cut her hair, and wore a knight's armor on the hostile trek through Burgundian
countryside, Upon her
arrival, Jeanne quickly turned the war into a religious one, prompting Charles VII to request Jeanne receive a background check from Poitiers
to verify her legitimacy. Theologians at Poitiers did not pass judgment on Jeanne's visions, declaring her an honest and pure Catholic virgin. They claimed to doubt her without evidence of supernatural evil would repudiate the Holy Spirit, and make them unworthy of God's aid. The true test was for Jeanne to raise the siege in Orléans
Jeanne led several aggressive battles against the French. After taking the les Tourelle
despite being wounded with an arrow to the neck, her success prompted several more proposals for further offensive action against the English. She persuaded Charles VII to give her co-command of his army with
Duke John II of Alençon, in a risky plan to recapture nearby bridges along the Loire as a prelude to an advancement on Reims
, and the coronation of Charles VII. The French reclaimed Jargeau
, and Beaugency
survived a cannonball blow to her helmet, and set out for Reims. Troyes
surrendered willingly, and Jeanne's troops survived starvation, just as beans arrived in Troyes.
Jeanne marched on Reims, and Charles VII's coronation took place on July 17th, 1429. The French assaulted Paris, and Joan received a crossbow bolt injury to her leg. Grand Chambellan Georges de la Trémoille
was blamed for the political blunders following the coronation. The following October, Jeanne's forces took Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier
, and Jeanne was granted nobility.
After a brief skirmish in La Charité-sur-Loire
, Jeanne and her army traveled to Compiègne,
to defend the city against an English
and Burgundian siege.
A particularly risky skirmish on May 23rd, 1430
led to her capture.
After ordering a retreat, she assumed the place of honor as last to leave the field. Burgundians surrounded the rear guard. Jeanne was unhorsed by an archer, and after
initially refusing to surrender, was taken prisoner by the English. King Charles declined to intervene in Jeanne's behalf, and pay the ransom that is customary to a prisoner of war. However, Jeanne attempted to escape several times. After leaping seventy feet from a tower in Vermandois
, Jeanne was relocated to the Burgundian town of Arras
. The English eventually paid for Jeanne from Duke Philip of Burgundy
. Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beavauis
, an English partisan, assumed a prominent role in these negotiations, and her subsequent trial.
Jeanne was convicted of heresy, after she refused to renounce her visions. She agreed to wear female clothing after abjuring, but after rumors of molestation at the hands of English guards, in addition to an English lord, she resumed wearing male clothing, to stave of potential attacks. Jeanne was allowed to continue dressing as a male to prevent molestation by the guards, as an act of preserving her chastity. The Chronique de la Pucelle
mentions this practice. It is believed that the clerics at Poitiers also approved of this practice, being as that she was tasked with the duties of a man. She was supported by defenders Jean Gerson
, and Inquisitor Brehal
later during the Rehabilitation trial
. Regardless, Jeanne was condemned during trial in 1431, and sentenced to die.
Jeanne was executed by burning on May 30th, 1431. She was tied to a tall pillar Vieux-Marche
Jeanne asked two of the clergy, Fr Martin Ladvenu
and Fr Isambart de la Pierre,
to hold a crucifix before her. In addition, a peasant fashioned a crucifix, to put in front of her dress. Jeanne was set on fire, and quickly perished. Her charred body was then revealed by the English to prevent rumors that she had escaped alive, and subsequently burnt twice to prevent any collection of relics. Her remains were then cast into the Seine.
Her executioner, Geoffroy Therage
, later stated that he "...greatly feared to be damned."
Jeanne became a symbol of the Catholic League
during the 16th century. When Félix Dupanloup
. was made bishop of Orléans in 1849, he pronounced a fervid panegyric on Joan of Arc, which attracted attention in England as well as France
and he led the efforts which culminated in Joan of Arc's beatification in 1909. Pope Benedict
canonized Joan on 16 May 1920. As Saint Joan of Arc, she has become one of the most popular saints of the Roman Catholic Church