St. Joan Of Arc Essay, Research Paper
Saint Joan Of Arc
The Maid Of France
Saint Joan of Arc was born in Domremy in Lorraine, France, in 1412. Until the age of seventeen years, she lived the life of a simple shepherdess. At this time, she was commanded by Heavenly Voices to lead the French armies against the English forces which had invaded France. She did so with great success. Betrayed, she was tried by civil and apostolic courts and condemned to death. She was burned alive at the stake in Rouen, May 31, 1431. A later trial established her innocence and after due process she was declared a Saint in 1920.
Domremy was a small village in the Meuse Valley. Jacques d’Arc, Jeanne’s father and mother, Isabelle Zabillet, were described by their neighbors, ” They were good and faithful Catholics; good working-people of good reputation, leading an honest life according to their condition.”
No contemporary picture exists of Jeanne d’Arc. She denied ever sitting for a portrait. What did this female soldier of the 14th century look like? The Princess of Hungary, Eugelide, led us to believe that ‘Joan had a short neck and a little bright red mark behind her right ear.’ Jeanne begins to be mentioned in history, as a young girl of 12 13 years old. Jeanne was born into a family of healthy parents, she did her housework, worked in the fields, tended the cattle and took part as a member of a country family. With these tasks, one might expect Jeanne to have rough hands, dark skin from spending so much time in the sun, and strong muscles. It would be expected that a future soldier must be tough and sturdy in order to lead the life which she led for herself.
The people of Domremy, testified that Jeanne ‘had moral character and a sweet nature.’ Consistent accounts are given that Jeanne’s hair was short and black, that she had brown eyes and her complexion was dark and sun-burnt. As Jeanne arrived in Chinon, Philip of Bergamo said, She was short as to her stature.’
As early as thirteen years of age, Jeanne heard voices from St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret.” These voices frightened Jeanne, at first but later she referred to these voices as Angels. Joan was commanded to attend church, to go to France and to raise the siege in the city of Orleans. She was instructed to find Robert de Baudricourt, Vaucouleurs, and that he would give her people to go with her.
May 1428, at the age of 16, she made her first effort to find the Dauphin. Without word to her parents, Joan left Domremy. She visited her uncle for eight days and then went onto Vaucouleurs, where she connected with Robert de Baudricourt. Joan told Robert that she was a servant of the Lord, sent to bring the Dauphin back into power as King of France. Joan also told Robert that the Kingdom of France belonged to the Lord, and the Lord wished the Dauphin to be king. Joan went to Robert three times before she received men to take her along the way.
As Joan left Vaucouleurs, she said: ‘I was in man’s clothes, holding in my hand a sword which Robert had given me and without other arms, with a knight, as a gentleman and four servants’( February 1429). On March 6, Joan arrived in Chinon, as she finally met the King she had 2 reasons for coming:
1) She was mandated from the King of Heaven to raise the siege of Orleans.
2) To lead the King to Rheims for his sacring.
To the people of the Council, the King said that it had been decided that Joan should be interrogated. Theologians and other men questioned Joan. This questioning period lasted one month. Which, of course, frustrated Joan. It was decided that Joan was a ‘devoted Christian and a good person.’ According to the Poitiers interrogatories,’ that in her is found no evil, but only good, humility, virginity, devotion, honesty, simplicity.”
Joan became frustrated with the delay. Before her departure, the King made Joan body armour. Louis de Coitus, was ordered to be the paige of Joan and he served her from Blouse to Orleans and on to Paris. Louis said that Joan had great confidence as a leader; she continually exhorted her soldiers that they trust altogether in God and confess their sins.’
When Joan arrived in Vaucouleurs, she was only a very young peasant girl. The king was very much at awe by some of Joan’s revelations. As history tells us, Joan was successful and she did acquire an army and she proceeded on to the City of Orleans.
As Joan arrived at the City of Orleans, a courageous letter of summons was sent to the English Duke of Bedford:
” Jesus-Maria, King of England, and you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of the Kingdom of France, you, Guillaume de la Poule, count of Suffort, Jean, sire of Talbot, and you Thomas, sire of Scales, who call yourselves lieutenants of the Duke of Bedford, acknowledge the summons of the King of Heaven. Render to the Maid here sent by God the King of Heaven, the keys of all the good towns which you have taken the violated in France. She is here come by God’s will to reclaim the blood royal. She is very ready to make peace, if you will acknowledge her to be right, provided that France you render, and pay for having held it. And you, archers, companions of war, men-at-arms and others who are before the town of Orleans, go away into your country, by God. And if so be not done, expect news of the Maid who will come to see you shortly, to your very great injury. King of England, if (you do not so, I am chief-of-war and in whatever place I attain your people in France, I will make them quit it . And if they will not obey I will have them all slain; I am here sent by God, the King of Heaven, body for body, to drive you out of all France. And if they will obey I will be merciful to them. And be not of another opinion, for you will not hold the Kingdom of France from, the King of Heaven, Son of St. Mary, but will hold it for King Charles, the rightful heir, for God the King of Heaven so wills it, and that is revealed to him by the Maid who will enter into Paris with a goodly company. If you will not believe the news (conveyed) by God and the Maid, in what place soever we find you, we shall strike into it and there make such great baby, that none so great has been in France for a thousand years, if you yield not to right. And believe firmly that the King of Heaven will send greater strength ( more forces) to the Maid than you will be able to bring up against her and her good men-at-arms; and when it comes to blows will it be seen who has the better right of God of Heaven. You, duke of Bedford, the Maid prays and requires of you that you cause no more destruction to be done. If you grant her right, still may you come into her company there where the French shall do the greatest feat of arms which ever was done for Christianity. And make answer if you wish to make peace in the city of Orleans. And if you make it not, you shall shortly remember it, to your very great injury.”
Jeanne had said that she would take the City of Orleans, which indeed she did on May 8, 1429. The soldiers and people of Orleans, alike, rejoiced at their defeat of the English. Jeanne continued to fight the English in various locations along the Loire. Finally, the King was to go to the town of his sacring, Rheims.
The Dauphin traveled from Troyes, with his army to Chalons and then on to Rheims, and of course he expressed his anxiety to resistance. At which time, Joan said to him, ‘Doubt not; for the burgesses of Rheims will come out to meet you’; and before they drew near to the city of Rheims, the burgesses came over to him and surrendered. Joan continued to admonish the King, ‘to advance boldly and fear nothing, for if he would advance courageously he would recover all his kingdom.’
On July 17, the coronation and sacring of King Charles VIII was performed. During the coronation, a chronicler described Joan kneeling before the King, “and embracing him round the legs, said to him whilst shedding copious tears:
‘Gentle King, now is done God’s pleasure, Who willed that I raise the siege of Orleans and that I bring you to this city of Rheims to receive your holy sacring, showing that you are true King and him to whom the kingdom of God should belong.’ And causing great pity to those who beheld her.”
In 1430, Jeanne was captured by the Burgundians while she was fighting for Compiegne near Paris. Sold to the English, Jeanne d’Arc was turned over to be put on trial for witchcraft, heresy and for wearing male clothing. This trial was to become known as the Trial of Condemnation.
May 30, 1431, Jeanne d’Arc was convicted. She was burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace. Sadly, Charles VII, whom Jeanne had fought so hard for in her short lifetime, did not come to her aid.
In 1456, Jeanne was pronounced innocent of the charges of witchcraft, heresy and the male attire which she wore. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a Saint in 1920. The life of Jeanne d’Arc is amazing. She was devoted and loyal to her God, her King and noble calling which was to restore the French king, Charles VII to the throne. With that goal in mind, she lived and died for what she believed in. Her last words, as she was swallowed up with fire, was that of her God.