Joan of arc 2

Joan of Arc, in French, Jeanne d’Arc, also called the Maid of Orleans, a patron saint of France and a national heroine, led the resistance to the English invasion of France in the Hundred Years War. She was born the third of five children to a farmer, Jacques d’Arc and his wife Isabelle de Vouthon in the town of Domremy on the border of provinces of Champagne and Lorraine. Her childhood was spent attending her father’s herds in the fields and learning religion and housekeeping skills from her mother. Both parents were intensely pious.
When Joan was about 12 years old, she began to hear “voices” of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret, believing them to have been sent by God. These voices told her that it was her divine mission to free her country from the English and help the dauphin gain the French throne. They told her to cut her hair, dress in man’s uniform and to pick up the arms.
By 1429 the English with the help of their Burgundian allies occupied Paris and all of France north of the Loire. The resistance was minimal due to lack of leadership and a sense of hopelessness. Henry VI of England was claiming the French throne.
Joan convinced the captain of the dauphin’s forces, and then the dauphin himself of her calling. After passing an examination by a board of theologians, she was given troops to command and the rank of captain.
“In those days it was not unusual for women to fight side by side with the men. There were thirty women wounded in the battle of Amiens. A number of women soldiers fought among the followers of Johannes Huss in Bohemia. There was hardly a medieval siege in which some woman was not conspicuous for heroism. It was therefore quite natural for Charles to accept the military services of Joan of Arc.”2
At the battle of Orleans in May 1429, Joan led the troops to a miraculous victory over the English. She continued fighting the enemy in other locations along the Loire. Fear of her troops was so formidable that when she approached Lord Talbot’s army at Patay, most of the English troops and Commander Sir John Fastolfe fled the battlefield. Fastolfe was later stripped of his Order of the Garter for this act of cowardice. Although Lord Talbot stood his ground, he lost the battle and was captured along with a hundred English noblemen and lost 1800 of his soldiers.
Charles VII was crowned king of France on July 17, 1429 in Reims Cathedral. At the coronation, Joan was given a place of honor next to the king. Later, she was ennobled for her services to the country.
In 1430 she was captured by the Burgundians while defending Compiegne near Paris and was sold to the English. The English, in turn, handed her over to the ecclesiastical court at Rouen to be tried for witchcraft, heresy and for wearing male clothing, which was considered an offense against the church. Joan was convicted after a fourteen-month interrogation and on May 30, 1431 she was burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace. She was nineteen years old. Charles VII made no attempt to come to her rescue.
In 1456 a second trial was held and she was pronounced innocent of the charges against her. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.