Joan of Arc biographical summary, trial testimony, her letters and other related documents.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc French Pilgrimage - July 2009:
Joan of Arc vs the French Revolution
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"Ja soit ce que pas ne deserve
Vostre grace par mon servir,
Souffrez au moins que je vous serve
Sans vostre mal gre deservir."
("La Belle Dame Sans Merci", 1424)
St. Joan of Arc was born at
Domrémy, France circa 6 January 1412. Citing a mandate from God to drive
the English out of France, she was eventually given an escort
to bring her before Charles of Ponthieu (later known as King Charles VII).
After gaining the approval of the Church scholars at Poitiers
in March of 1429, she was granted titular
command of an army which quickly lifted the siege of Orléans
on 8 May 1429, captured Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and
Beaugency in mid-June, and defeated an English army
at Patay on June 18. After accepting
the surrender of the city of Troyes and other towns, the army
escorted Charles to the
city of Rheims for his coronation on July 17. An unsuccessful
attack was made on Paris on September 8, followed by the
successful capture of St-Pierre-le-Moutier on November 4.
As a reward for her service, Charles VII
granted her noble status along with her family on 29 December 1429.
She returned to the field the following year, despite predicting
her own defeat. Captured at Compiègne
on 23 May 1430 and transferred to the English,
she was placed on trial in Rouen by a selected group of
pro-English clergy, many of whom nevertheless had to be coerced into voting
for a guilty verdict.
Convicted and executed on 30 May 1431,
she was subsequently declared innocent by an
Inquisitorial court on 7 July 1456 after a lengthy re-trial process which
was initiated shortly
after the English were finally driven from Rouen, thereby allowing
access to the documents and witnesses associated with her trial.
The presiding Inquisitor, Jean Bréhal, ruled that the original trial
had been tainted by fraud, illegal procedures, and intimidation of
both the defendant and many of the clergy who had taken
part in the trial. The Inquisitor described Joan's death as a "martyrdom" in his
final analysis of the case. In the 16th century the Catholic League used her as
one of its symbols, although as with a significant percentage of other declared saints,
Joan of Arc's formal canonization process was not initiated until a few centuries later. She
was beatified on 11 April 1909 and canonized as a saint on 16 May 1920.
Click here for longer biographies;
or here for a timeline of her life.