“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
-St. Joan of Arc
Today is the fest day of Joan of Arc & I (amazingly) found this Student Series! blog post on her! 🙂 And it is fittingly during the week of Memorial Day in which we honor those military personnel who gave their lives for our freedom, like Joan of Arc gave her life for her cause.
Joan of Arc’s Patronages
Joan of Arc, famously known as pulling a French Mulan and defeating the English in the Hundred Years’ War, was a patriotic symbol of French strength and nationalism. During that period, women were seen as exceedingly domestic, being crafters of health, childbirth and raising and home life, whereas men were the ones who ventured to unknown places to defend their country. Because of this stigma, Joan became an early figurehead of feminism and strong women power. Joan showed France, England, and the rest of the world that women weren’t just pretty faces whose only mission in life was to birth children and take care of the home; she showed the world that women are strong and have the same capabilities as men. In a religious stance, she also showed that G-d has not yet forsaken his mortals that he has a purpose to each and every person, even women. All in all, Joan of Arc was a role model during her time and will continue to be as long as time reigns.
Born of poor medieval peasant farmers Jacques and Isabelle d’Arc in a small town in Northeastern France around 1412, Joan d Arc lived an impoverished, simple lifestyle. Resulting in response to being both poor and a woman, Jeanne received no formal education, therefore leaving her illiterate. Although she attended no modern schooling, she claimed to have been visited by various saints of whom wavered her from going down the wrong path. These visions increased and differentiated as she grew older, until around the age of eighteen, she had an epiphany: a message from G-d to storm the gates of England and tear down its tyranny. Because of this she would go down in history as the “Maid Of Orléans” a symbol of French unity and nationalism.
After, years of her visions, around the age of 18, Joan was finally compel by G-d to defeat England and led France to victory; this vindication sent from heaven above led to her unwavering courage to crush the English army. In order to do this, Joan had to convince the crowned prince Charles Valois, of whom she was working to put on the throne, to give her command of the French army. Naturally because she was young, had no military background and she was a woman, the crowned prince didn’t even entertain the idea of Joan’s authority over his army, but Joan wasn’t giving up. In order to persuade Charles, Joan relayed a prayer Charles previously told himself in private and after hearing his own words, Charles believed and allowed her to lead his army.
Traveling to Vaucouleurs in May of 1428 to gather support for Charles resurgence, many followers of Charles’ jumped onto Joan’s bandwagon because they believed her to be the prophesied virgin destined to save France. Soon after, Joan chopped her hair and dressed like a man in white armor (French Mulan?) while riding a white horse, which symbolized her virginity. Because she had obtained an army, Joan continued on to her massacre of the English, Burgundian, and French allies armies, thus achieving her goal, but ultimately at a price. In one battle, she was taken captive and tried for over seventy infractions, ranging from witchcraft and heresy. Being found guilty, Joan was burned at the stake as witches were during that time at the mere age of 19 and her ashes were scattered at Seine.
Although her life ultimately ended, her legacy lived on having influenced the essential “bob” hairstyle. And, twenty years later her name was cleared by Charles Vll, and five hundred years later she was canonized as a Roman Catholic Saint on May 16, 1920.
Becoming a Saint
Throughout her childhood and up until her voyage to overthrow England, Joan reportedly claimed to have experienced visions of saints and angels such as St. Catherine of Alexandria, the Archangel Michael, and St. Margaret of Antioch.. Although Joan swayed differing viewpoints, many still believe that her signs from G-d was actually a signs from the cuckoo nest. Many accounts have diagnosed Joan with ailments such as epilepsy to mental disorders such as schizophrenia due to their correlating effects to Joan’s descriptive conditions.
Those deep in the religious affiliation, believe Joan truly did have visions sent from G-d such as depicted in the Bible whereas people who tend more towards the scientific side of life believe Joan was more accurately suffering from a mental illness of some sort. Although both are plausible, neither can be proven.
- Cohen, Jennie. “7 Surprising Facts About Joan of Arc.” History. Published January 28, 2013. http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/7-surprising-facts-about-joan-of-arc
- “St. Joan of Arc.” History. Accessed March 7, 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/saint-joan-of-arc.
- “St. Joan of Arc Patron Saint.” St. Joan of Arc in Battle. Accessed March 11, 2017. http://www.joanofarc.us/st_joan_of_arc_patron_saint.html
- Williamson , Allen . “Joan of Arc Biography.” Joan of Arc Archives. Accessed March 11, 2017. http://archive.joan-of-arc.org/joanofarc_short_biography.html.