Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, first known as Jeanne d'Arc, was born in the village of Domremy, in the Champagne district of northeastern France. She was born on January 6, 1412 and died May 30,1431 at the age of 19. Joan is a French national heroin and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She rescued France from defeat during the "Hundred Years War" against England. In honor of her victory she is often called the Maid of Orleans. This is a story of her life.

Joan was not a well-educated woman. She had never learned to read or write but was skilled in sewing and spinning. Her deeply religious mother and father, Isabelle and Jacques d'Arc raised her. Joan's father was a small peasant farmer, poor but not needy. Joan was the youngest of a family of five. She grew up herding cattle and sheep and helping in the fields during the harvest. Joan often referred to herself as Jeanne la Pucelle (Joan the Maid.) Joan, like most other children, spent much time praying to the statues of saints that stood around the church in her
village.

At the age of 13 in the summer of 1425, she began having religious visions and hearing what she believed were voices of saints. They started occuring once a week and as she got older they happened daily. She said the voices told her to always behave, obey her parents, pray, etc. She claimed they were the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. She was said to be a Clair Voyant,
a person who has knowledge of events happening far away or in the futures without using any of the five senses. The visions and voices never left her.

Finally, four years later she was convinced that God had chosen her to help King Charles VII clear the English from French land. Joan set out to Vancoulers to ask the military commander Robert Baudricourt, for an escort to visit the king. The commander did not take her seriously at first and laughed. Eventually he gave her what she wanted. At the age of 17 in 1429 Joan left to fulfill her first mission or triumph.

King Charles VII had been king for 7 years prior. His main enemies were the English and the Burgundians, who supported the English. Both parties controlled Paris and the northern part of France. His enemies did not accept the King. Charles had never been crowned because where kings were crowned was in enemy territory. Meanwhile the military situation of King Charles and his supporters were growing more desperate. Orléans was invaded on October 12, 1428. He feared the English would capture the city of Orleans too. He was so desperate that he was willing to listen to a young girl that claimed to hear voices.

He tested Joan at first. Charles let one of his nobles pretend to be king and sit in his thrown but Joan identified Charles as her king anyway. Impressed yet sill doubtful Charles was not convinced she was worthy. That was until she told him exactly what he prayed to God for. He was astonished and realized now that Joan had unusual powers. Though at the time people thought of such powers as work of the devil, members of the clergy accepted her beliefs anyway. Joan was given a
suit of white armor, a banner, and the command of troops.

In April of 1429 Joan and her army set out to rescue Orleans from English control. At first the French commanders hesitated to obey her orders but eventually listened to her. Ten days after arrived in Orleans, April 28-May 8, Joan's forces broke the Siege of Orleans and the English ran off. After her tremendous victory she wanted Charles to receive a proper ceremony to crown him as king, this is called coronation. Joan led Charles and his military through enemy territory as her troops defeated English in more than one battle along their journey. They proudly entered Reims with triumph as Joan stood at the side of Charles. He was crowned King of France on July 17, 1429.

Shortly afterwards Joan wanted to free Paris of English control. Charles doubted her success at first, but he gave her the chance anyway. In September of 1429 Joan was wounded in a minor battle