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Jehanne Darc is a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint. She was an enigmatic figure in the Hundred Years War and high-hearted warrior women. She was a military leader of French resistance to English occupation and led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, claiming divine guidance.
Her successful military leadership provided spirit, morale and religious inspiration more than military abilities.
"In the excitement which raised her up from earth to heaven, she retained her solid common sense and a clear sense of reality."
Pronounced innocent: 1456
Beatified: 18 April 1909, Notre Dame de Paris by Pope Pius X
Canonized: She was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint on May 16, 1920 in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Benedict XV
Feast Day: 30 May.
After she heard voices from on high urging her to save France from English domination, she made her journey to the King in male attire, with six companions. Meeting the dauphin at Chinon castle, she conquered his skepticism as to her divine mission.
With her inspiring conviction, she rallied the French troops and raised the English siege of Orléans in May 1429.
French success here and at the battle of Patay on 18 June 1429 led to Charles's coronation at Rheims on 17 July, serious blows to English power in France. During to Charles's coronation Joan stood near him and it was the pinnacle of her fortunes.
Once crowned Charles soon distanced himself from her, afraid of the charge that he had gained his throne by diabolical means.
She overreached herself in a failed attack on Paris and was subsequently captured by the Burgundians who sold her to the English.
In order to escape responsibility, the English turned her over to the French clerics who supported the English. Charles VII made no attempt to secure her freedom.
She still claimed to have heard God speak to her in voices. Throughout the lengthy trial and imprisonment she bravely fought her inquisitors The claims eventually led to her trial for heresy and her execution by burning at the stake.
She initially admitted her fault, but then relapsed and being burned at Rouen on 31 May 1431.
When her mother was young, she made a pilgrimage to Rome had received the usual surname of Romée.
Joan never learned to read or write, and received her sole religious instruction from her mother, who taught her to recite the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Credo. It is possible that Jeanne was a strong influenced by the story Biblical heroine Judith, a beautiful Jewish girl, who saved her people. Several local raids of English troops occurred during her childhood and on one occasion her village was burned.
In her childhood she was noted for her abnormally sensitive nervous temperament. She grew to womanhood she became inclined to silence, and spent much of her time in solitude and prayer.
Inspiration: Some time in 1425 Joan began to have visions - "When I was thirteen, I had a voice from God to help me govern myself."
Once she heard a voice very clearly. She recalled: The voice was that of St. Michael, who, with St. Catherine and St. Margaret, "told me of the pitiful state of France, and told me that I must go to succor the King of France."
When she was about 16, her voices began persistently urging her to aid France's Dauphin (crown prince) and save France from the English attempt at conquest in the Hundred Years' War. She followed the call and accomplish her mission. Two years, filled with feats and victories turned her life in a beautiful legend and brought her the world fame.
A contemporary described her: "This Maid … has a virile bearing, speaks little, shows an admirable prudence in all her words. She has a pretty, woman's voice, eats little, drinks very little wine; she enjoys riding a horse and takes pleasure in fine arms, greatly likes the company of noble fighting men, detests numerous assemblies and meetings, readily sheds copious tears, has a cheerful face…" Her armor was said to be white.
She was captured in 1430 and at next year burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace.
She was nineteen years old.