Essay/Term paper: Jeanne la pucelle (joan the maid)

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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1412, it is in the last half-century of the Hundred Years' War in which

the French attempted to attain freedom from English rule by fighting to

eradicate English strongholds. An unusually strong, healthy, and

possibly clairvoyant girl is born to Isabelle Romée and Jacques d'Arc in

the small village of Domremy, France. Her mother is from the town of

Vouthon, which is west of Domremy. Her surname concurs that either she

or a family member has visited Rome. Her father was born in a village

called Ceffonds in the province of Champagne. His last name indicates a

connection with Arc-en-Barrois, a small town fifty kilometers north of

Ceffonds. She had a somewhat wealthy family as you can tell from their

home with a stone construction. You can still visit her home today. It

has since been used as a wine cellar, a wine press, and a stable. She

was one of five children: Jacques, Catherine, Jean, Joan, and Pierre.

Their wealth came from their farming of wheat, flax, beet hemp, and

colza. They also bred livestock, spun wool and tow, and kneaded their

own bread. She was baptized by Jean Minet in the Church of St. Remy.

She is admired by patriots, women's rights activists, paranormal

investigators, and playwrights.



The woman I am talking about is commonly known as Joan of Arc.

When Joan was 13 she began to see visions and hear voices who she later

determined to be Saints Catherine, Margaret, and Michael. They

convinced her that she was chosen by God to help the dauphin, Charles

VII free France and take his seat in the throne. At age 17 in 1429 she

gained access to the King through the military commander in Vaucoulaurs.



Charles was desperate because the English had captured almost half of

France including Paris. When Joan told him of her visions of the Saints

he was doubtful so he set up two tests for her. In the first he

disguised himself as a courtier, but she pointed him out immediately.

For the second test he asked her what he prayed to God for the night

before she arrived; she told him exactly. Some of the clergy believed

her to be Satanic, but Joan was approved. Charles fitted her with armor

and gave her command of the military. Soon after she set out to free

Orleans from a brutal siege. The other French commanders hesitantly

followed orders, but soon they obeyed her whole-heartedly. Under Joan's

command the siege was broken after only ten days and the English fled.

She was given the everlasting title "The Maid of Orleans". Joan

convinced Charles to undergo a formal coronation in the Cathedral at

Reims. While escorting Charles, Joan and her army won several battles

with the British along the way. She was at his side when Charles took

the throne on July, 17 1429.



During a minor battle in September, 1429 where Joan tried to free

Paris, she was injured. Eight months later she was captured by a troop

of Burgundians who wished to sell her for ransom. Instead she was sold

to the English for a lot of money. The English believed her rumored

visions Satanic so they tried her on accusations of witchcraft and

heresy. Despite constant badgering she never swayed from her belief

that her visions her from God. A French clergy sympathetic to the

English convicted and sentenced Joan to death. On May, 30 1431 in the

town square at Rouen she was burned at the stake. Due to her bravery in

death people thought they had witnessed martyrdom of a Saint. Much to

her family's regret she was not allowed a Christian burial as her ashes

were thrown into the Seine River.



In 1455 Joan's family requested a retrial for her and a hearing was

granted by Pope Callistus III. One year later she was found innocent.

Joan was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and in 1920 she was canonized

as a Saint. You can celebrate her feast day on May 30.

"Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans, was neither a witch nor a saint, but

by curious circumstances her life and death fulfilled the requirements

of both."

-From Jeanne La Pucelle and The Dying God

by James L. Matterer 

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