Monday, July 16, 2012

Joan of Arc: The Maid of Orléans

This peasant girl was born in what is now eastern France during the year 1412, and she is now considered a folk heroine of France.  Her family was poor and her birthplace experienced the consequences of the conflict between England and France. From an early age Joan of Arc displayed a sensitive and religious temperament.  At a very young age (12 years old) it is said that she began to have mystical visions where she felt the voice of God telling her to renew the French Nation. These visions were often accompanied by the presence of light and saints such as St Michael and St Catherine
 Initially Joan did not tell others about her visions and inner commandments but in May 1428 the divine messages urged her to seek an audience with Charles de Ponthieu currently an ineffective and relatively weak leader of the French. When Joan of Arc came to the court she overwhelmed Charles with her passion and conviction. It is quite remarkable that this 17 year old peasant girl was, thanks to this , she was given control over an army and allowed to lead them into battle. Within a year Joan of Arc had led the French army to victories at Orleans, Patay and Troyes. Many other towns were also liberated from English control and it allowed a triumphal entry into Dauphin for the coronation of King Charles VII on 17 July 1429
Joan of Arc was accused of witchcraft by the English and she attended to a trial in order to be judged.  She was canonized a saint in 1920 and remains the patron saint of France. She was executed at age 19 on  May 30 1431.  

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