Joan of Arc is certainly the most renowned woman in French history and a legendary figure worldwide.

As a heroine, war leader, and saint of the Catholic Church, she played a significant role during the Hundred Years’ War.

The voices of the saints and the Archangel

This portrayal of Joan of Arc depicts her in front of a city, clad in golden armor atop a white horse charging forward. She carries a red banner.

Daughter of Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romée, Jeanne was likely born in 1412, near Domrémy, in Lorraine, on the family farm. She is described by those who knew her as devout and hardworking.

The Hundred Years’ War pitted the Kingdom of France against England from 1337.

Following English conquests on French soil, French King Charles VI was forced to disown his son (the future Charles VII), suspecting him not to be his own, and to make the King of England his heir. Charles VI died in 1422, leaving his son with no legitimacy.

When she was thirteen, Joan of Arc claimed to hear voices—those of saints Catherine and Margaret, and Archangel Michael—urging her to be devout and to liberate the kingdom of France.

At sixteen, she mentioned these voices to an older cousin, who eventually took her to meet Robert de Baudricourt, captain of Vaucouleurs, who initially refused to listen to her. However, as Joan of Arc’s reputation grew due to her great charisma, he eventually agreed to provide her with an escort so she could travel to Chinon to meet the heir to the throne.

The Siege of Orléans and the Assault on Paris

From then on, Joan of Arc cut her hair short anddress in masculine clothes.

On February 25, 1429, she met the Dauphin Charles in Chinon and announced four events: the liberation of Orléans, the coronation of the king in Reims, the liberation of Paris, and the release of the Duke of Orléans.

After an investigation that included questioning by ecclesiastical authorities and verification of her virginity (because only a virgin can hear the voices of the saints), Charles sent Joan to Orléans with a convoy of supplies so she could prove her worth.

On July 17, 1429, at the Reims Cathedral, Charles VII was crowned King of France by Archbishop Renault of Chartres. In this highly symbolic location, this coronation restores the lost legitimacy of Charles VII.

Joan of Arc then leads an attack on Paris, which fails.

During this period, it is difficult to ascertain Joan’s precise role, as she is often kept away from important military decisions.

However, following the failure of the attack on Paris, she leads her own army, an independent war leader who inspires loyalty in her men, who admire her charisma and courage; Joan will be wounded several times.

The judgment of heresia

On May 23, 1430, Joana d’Arc faith captured the borgonheses that, in November, took place in the English. Faith was entrusted to Pierre Cauchon, bispo de Beauvais.

She was accused of heresy during the trial, which lasted from February 21 to May 23, 1431. Despite Joan appearing to be a devout Christian, she was accused of wearing men’s clothing, not obeying the Church, and hearing voices of demons. On May 24, undoubtedly under the influence of fear, Joan signed with a cross the abjuration of her errors and recanted two days later.

On May 30, 1431, it lived on in Place du Vieux-Marché, in Rouen.

From Rehabilitation to Canonization

A quarter century after her death in 1456, Joan of Arc is rehabilitated through a nullification process ordered by Pope Callixtus III.

She will never cease to be popular among the people and beyond borders. In the 19th century, Jules Michelet’s book, and even more so, the publication of the records of her trial, highlight her exceptional greatness of soul.

She is beatified by the Church on April 18, 1909, and ten years later, on May 16, 1920, she is canonized. The saint has been celebrated since then on May 30, the anniversary of her martyrdom.

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