Heroine and martyr: St. Joan of Arc (2023)

Heroine and martyr: St. Joan of Arc (1)

Joan of Arc by the fire, painted by Hermann Stilke in 1843.

For many, Joan of Arc is a legendary teenage war hero. For Catholics, she is a saint. Günther Simmermacher deals with the life and death of the "Maiden of Orleans".

Joan of Arc med i blik

Birth name: Joan of Arc (or Romée)
Born: about 1412 in Domrémy, Duchy of Bar, France
Died: 30 May 1431 (aged about 19) by execution in Rouen, Normandy
Saligforklaret: 1909
Canonized: 1920
Party: May 30
Patronages: Martyrs; prisoners; prisoners; military personnel; People were mocked for their piety; France

There is no other saint like Saint Joan of Arc: a teenage war hero who was killed for "heresy" - including the crime of wearing men's clothing - for political reasons by a kangaroo court masquerading as an ecclesiastical court. Today, Joan of Arc is considered a saint in the Church, a national hero in France and a frequent subject of films in the cinema.

Heroine and martyr: St. Joan of Arc (2)

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She was born Jehanne (ancestor of modern French Jeanne and English Joan) in Domrémy in western France around 1412 to fairly wealthy peasants Jacques d'Arc and Isabella Romée, and was the third of five children.

Those were terrible times for their end. France was embroiled in the Hundred Years' War with England and its ally Burgundy, which began in 1337 as a dispute over the succession to the French throne. Domrémy was right on the border between the two sides, but loyal to France - in a region largely under English control after their victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

So Joan grew up in an atmosphere of war, and when war arrived in the Domrémy region in 1425, she had the first of a series of visions. She saw Saint Michael, the dragon slayer, in her father's garden. More visions followed - of St. Michael, as well as St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch. The visions told her to leave Domrémy and help the Dauphin Charles of France to be crowned king.

In May 1428, she made her first request, turning to the royal court to offer her services. Twice rejected, but with the help of influential supporters, she and her companions finally arrived at the royal court in the city of Chinon in early 1429. Until then, she took the name Jehanne le Purcell, which means Joan of Arc. or "virgin". The Virgin must have impressed the court with her accounts of these visions and her promise that she intended to end the English siege of the strategically important city of Orléans and take Charles to Reims for his coronation.

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Heroine and martyr: St. Joan of Arc (4)

Monument to Joan of Arc in Orléans (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)

Battle of Orleans

At least the royal advisers realized that Joan - now something of a celebrity - could serve as a kind of mascot to inspire the troops. After theological and physical examinations, she received the banner and then led the French forces at the Battle of Orléans.

She took no part in battle or strategy (although she gave good advice, which commanders often followed), but when Orléans was successfully liberated, Ivana was honored. Other military victories under Ivan's banner followed. And Joan alarmed the English not only with her leadership, but also with her letters, openly warning them of their inevitable defeat.

Military successes under Johann turned the long war around. It was far from over, but France had made such progress that Charles VII was crowned in Reims Cathedral on July 17, 1429, just as Jeanne had promised. Charles later knighted Joan and her family.

Capture of Joan

But the French also suffered setbacks. And in one of those lost battles, near Compiègne in May 1430, John was captured by the Burgundians. After two failed escape attempts—one by jumping from a 70-foot (21 m) tower—the Burgundians sold their captive to the English and Joan was transferred to Rouen, the headquarters of the English garrison in northeastern France. There she was subjected to a politically motivated church trial.

The purpose of the show trial, which began in Rouen on January 9, 1431, was to eliminate a popular political enemy while at the same time embarrassing her followers. A conviction for heresy would accomplish both goals. There was no evidence to incriminate Joan, but that did not stop the English and their Burgundian collaborators. Joan was not allowed to practice law and the case fell in favor of the prosecution. Even the French Deputy Inquisitor protested at the apparent miscarriage of justice which had been instituted; He reportedly changed his mind when faced with the choice of maintaining his ethics or his life.

Since it was a church process, practically every legal regulation was violated. This was a mock trial, and yet the illiterate Joan, armed with truth and holiness, escaped all the cunning theological traps set in the trap of heresy - any heresy. When the focus on her alleged revelations and accusations of various crimes was ineffective, the court caught her in a part of her garment based on Deuteronomy 22:5 ("A woman shall not wear a man's garment, and a man shall not wear a garment. "na. Women's clothing"). Her crime against religion consisted in wearing long pants, that is, dressing like a man - for which she actually had justified reasons.

Heroine and martyr: St. Joan of Arc (5)

The house where Joan grew up in Domrémy. Today it is a museum.

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Threat of rape

During her imprisonment (regularly in a courtyard, guarded by men, not nuns, as she was supposed to be), Joan wore men's military clothing, including trousers, specifically to protect herself from soldiers who repeatedly attempted to rape her. She refused to hand over her clothes because she was afraid that the court would confiscate them and thereby expose her to rape. Joan was right to be afraid. When she was finally forced to wear women's clothing, she reported that a "tall English gentleman" entered her cell and attempted to rape her.

When her male clothes were returned to Joan - it is not clear whether this was at her request or by force, as her female clothes were taken from her - she carried them back to her cell. This gave her accusers an opportunity: "she fell back into heresy" because of her cross-dressing. And since Joan has repeatedly committed "heresy" by wearing men's clothing, the court could now impose the death penalty.

But if Johanna had found a lawyer, he could have pointed out that, according to Thomas Aquinas, the church also taught that cross-dressing was permitted under certain circumstances—for example, to prevent rape. This threat was ever present for Joan, on her travels and on the battlefield. When there was no such danger, Joan liked to wear women's clothes.

Joan of Arc, sentenced to death, was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, in the Rouen market. Although she was condemned for heresy, she was allowed to receive the sacraments. She was holding a cross on the pillar. Her ashes were thrown into the Seine.

Ivan's military successes turned the tide against the English, although the conflict simmered until 1453. By this time, Joan's widowed mother had been campaigning for years to overturn her daughter's conviction as a heretic. At the end of one Pope Calixtus III. A retrial ordered, which ended in 1456 after two preliminary investigations, the Rouen Cathedral court declared that the original trial was unjust, malicious, slanderous, fraudulent and deceitful, and Joan was cleared of all heresy. .

Although highly revered in France, Ivana was only declared blessed in 1909 and sainted in 1920. She is the patron saint of France and soldiers, but given the circumstances of her imprisonment and death, she could be invoked in cases of gender-based violence.

Published in the May 2022 issue of Southern Cross magazine

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What makes Joan of Arc a heroine? ›

Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France. She was a peasant girl who, believing that she was acting under divine guidance, led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans in 1429 that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years' War.

What is Joan of Arc most famous quote? ›

I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God's will.

Do you think Joan was a heroine Why or why not? ›

Joan of Arc is a hero because she saved her country. Without her efforts in the war, France never would have won. This secured her country's future and eventually she was considered a national heroine. She did this all during The Hundred Years' war, when the country of France was divided and at war with England.

What did Joan of Arc say before she died? ›

As the flames engulfed her, she cried out her last words in the form of a prayer: “Jesus! Jesus!” Joan of Arc's death was a great tragedy, especially since she was only 19 years old at the time.

What are 5 facts about Joan of Arc? ›

  • She was born in the village of Domrémy. ...
  • Her real name is a mystery. ...
  • Her nickname became “the Maid of Orleans”. ...
  • She began having visions at the age of 13. ...
  • Her arrival would mark a turning point in the 100 year war. ...
  • She was only 17-years-old when she caught the attention of the King.
Dec 8, 2021

What was the point of Joan of Arc? ›

At the age of 13, Joan began to hear voices, which she determined had been sent by God to give her a mission of overwhelming importance: to save France by expelling its enemies, and to install Charles as its rightful king.

What qualities did Joan have that made her a hero? ›

Joan's strength and determination showed soldiers that if they worked hard and fought a fierce battle, victory was possible. Joan not only showed she was a hero through her strength, but also through her sense of hope.

Was Joan guilty or innocent? ›

During the siege of Compiègne in 1430, she was captured by Burgundian forces and subsequently sold to their English allies. She was prosecuted by a pro-English church court at Rouen, Normandy in 1431. The court found her guilty of heresy and she was burned at the stake.

Can Shaw's Joan be described as a tragic heroine? ›

Joan is the personification of the tragic heroine; her martyrdom embodies the paradox that humans fear—and often kill—their saints and heroes. The play's epilogue concerns the overturning of the church's verdict of heresy in 1456 and her canonization.

What did Joan of Arc call herself? ›

During her trial before an ecclesiastical court in 1431, Joan referred to herself only as “Jehanne la Pucelle” (“Joan the Maid”) and initially testified that she didn't know her last name.

What are the key messages of Joan of Arc? ›

She dared to defy the prescribed gender roles of her day. Her trust in God gave her courage. Her perseverance allowed her to overcome betrayal by friends and keep her wits at her trial. Through it all, especially at her death, she kept her focus on Jesus and his crucifix.

What are three important events of Joan of Arc? ›

Key Terms and Events
  • Abjuration. An oath by which one renounces a previous belief or oath.
  • Domremy. The French village where Joan of Arc was born.
  • Reims. A city in northeastern France. ...
  • Rouen. ...
  • Battle of Compiegne. ...
  • Hundred Years' War. ...
  • Siege of Orleans. ...
  • Battle of Patay.

What was the motto of Joan of Arc? ›

Joan of Arc is, “Go forward bravely. Fear nothin.

What did Mark Twain think about Joan of Arc? ›

Twain made similar comments in other settings. “I like Joan of Arc best of all my books,” he wrote shortly before his death, “and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing.

What was the battle cry of Joan of Arc? ›

Often she took off her helmet so the soldiers could see her, encouraging them with her cry of “Go boldly!” On the last day of fighting at the key fort, Joan without a helmet was wounded by an arrow in the neck. She left the battle to have it tended to, but then returned to push for the final victory.

What did Joan hear from heaven? ›

Joan claimed that the voices were angels and saints, through whom God was addressing her. She identified the saints as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, all crucial French saints of whom Joan had learned through statuary in the church she attended and through her mother's careful religious instruction.

Why did Joan of Arc cut her hair? ›

She dressed in men's clothing and cut her hair short so she would not be recognized as they travelled through hostile Burgundian territory. Joan asked Charles for permission to travel with the army and dress as a knight.

Why did Joan say I will swear no more? ›

Joan believed the old saying that "he who tells too much truth is sure to be hanged". The prosecutors had asked her the same questions over nine times, she swore to answer the whole truth related to the trial but she was weary after the same questions and said she would swear no more.

Why is Joan of Arc admired? ›

Joan Of Arc was a very significant person in medieval times as she led the French to victory at a very young age. Her commitment to religion and fighting for women's rights have changed the future for many all over the world.

What dress did Joan want? ›

Joan wanted a soldier's dress that is, an armour.

What object was found to be buried behind an altar just as Joan of Arc had said? ›

Instead of the sword the king offered her, she begged that search might be made for an ancient sword buried, as she averred, behind the altar in the chapel of Ste-Catherine-de-Fierbois. It was found in the very spot her voices indicated.

Why was Joan of Arc bad? ›

The reason that stuck for Joan of Arc burning at the stake was the witchcraft accusation. But in fact, there were 70 charges against her. These ranged from stealing horses to claiming that God had directly contacted her, as well as the sorcery she was widely scandalized for.

Why did Joan dress like a man? ›

First of all, Joan of Arc wore male clothing because it was more appropriate and necessary for the nature of her mission; to raise the siege of Orléans, expel the English from France and have Charles VII crowned king. The clothes allowed her to move more freely in battle, as well as offering physical protection.

What made Joan of Arc a great leader? ›

She led the armies to victory by taking a non-traditional approach to war strategy and battlefield maneuvers. She was the only leader not to actually fight with their soldiers. Joan carried her unique banner and would ride into battle and offered support, battlefield awareness, and aid to her fellow soldiers.

What was Joan of Arc's betrayal? ›

Answer and Explanation: Joan of Arc's betrayal and subsequent death could be attributed to the reigning French monarch or to some of his men who left her alone during a nighttime skirmish. On May 24, 1430 she was unwittingly left unprotected outside the walls of Compiegne.

What happened to Joan in the shower? ›

Joan asks Bea to beat her up in the shower so as to give the women what they want. However, while she takes a shower, Joan is brutally raped and attacked by Lucy Gambaro and her gang. Bea, who was on her way to kill Joan, comes to her aid and helps her get dressed.

Is Joan of Arc considered a martyr? ›

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 because she refused to abandon her faith and recant her visions. While she was convicted of heresy, following her mother's efforts during Joan's Trial of Nullification, her contributions and ultimate death for her cause led to her recognition as a martyr.

What is St Joan's tragic flaw? ›

Joan is not of high social standing, but she does rise to a powerful position, and she is accused in the play itself (by the Archbishop) of suffering from one of the traditional tragic flaws of Greek drama: hubris, or pride.

What is the conclusion of the Saint Joan tragedy? ›

Saint Joan ends with an epilogue, in which a good number of the characters materialize in a dream and discuss Joan's legacy on earth. In it we learn how King Charles had Joan's name cleared twenty-five years after he let her be executed.

What makes a tragic heroine? ›

With some kind of imperfection that makes them human and relatable. They have been wounded by some traumatic experience. They have a fatal flaw. Their fatal flaw leads to some kind of realization.

Was St Joan of Arc a feminist? ›

In this context, it was important to highlight that Joan of Arc is also a feminist heroine. She may have lived in the 15th century, but the obstacles she met aren't in the past: even today, thousands of women are trying to do deeds as revolutionary as hers, but they are being ridiculed and discredited by misogynists.

Who prophesied about Joan of Arc? ›

Marie d'Avignon, a woman with a reputation as a prophet, had, some years earlier, foretold the arrival of someone like Joan at the dauphin's court.

What color was Joan of Arc's horse? ›

Joan of Arc (horse)
Joan of Arc
BreederCoolmore Stud
OwnerDerrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor
12 more rows

How did Joan of Arc impact society? ›

She provided a much-needed boost to morale and spurred on the French attempts to reclaim northern territory from the hands of the English. England's eventual loss of the conflict and land on the continent came as a major blow.

Did Joan of Arc accomplish anything? ›

Joan of Arc Accomplishments

Saved France from occupation by the English and helped secure Charles VII's coronation as King of France. Canonized as a saint in 1920 – the only person to be both condemned and canonized by the church.

What did Joan of Arc do to win the war? ›

The king ordered the army to take back the city of Orléans, accompanied by 17-year-old Joan. She cropped her hair short like a man's, donned a suit of white armor, and successfully helped French troops to victory in March 1429, even after being wounded in battle.

What was Joan of Arc character traits? ›

The real Joan of Arc was a complicated person; intensely brilliant and courageous, impulsive and dangerous, her actions rescued France from the hands of the English.

What qualities of Joan of Arc attract you most? ›

Joan, a well-built, strong country girl of 17 to 18 years, is brave and courageous and unafraid of anything. She is confident and asks directly for whatever she wants and is sure of getting it. She is optimistic and feels that if God is on one's side, one can do anything.

What personality type is Joan of Arc? ›

Joan of Arc was an INFJ personality type, which is the rarest type. She had a unique combination of personality traits that made her complex and difficult to understand, even for those who knew her well.

Why is Joan of Arc so inspiring? ›

Joan of Arc inspired the transformation of heart and the pursuit of courage and holiness among the most hardened of military leaders, soldiers, and observers. Despite her youth, lack of military training, and the fact that she was a female, she commanded respect and impressed others with her purity and goodness.

What are the virtues of Joan of Arc? ›

Joan of Arc was commissioned by God to lead France to victory in the war with England. The author, Peter Darcy, explores seven leadership qualities that Joan possessed that helped her in her God-given task. These leadership virtues are spirit, identity, power, mobility, realism, attraction, and inspiration.

How is Joan of Arc remembered today? ›

Joan was captured and burned at the stake as a heretic when she was 19 years old. However, her fame has lived on to the present day through popular histories, novels and plays such as Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw.

Was Joan of Arc intelligent? ›

Joan was a genius, writes Gordon. “She is an impossibility, a puzzle and yet she did come from somewhere.” In the end, though, Joan of Arc was very human. She was terrified of being burned at the stake, and the only time she changed her story was not long before she died.

What social class was Joan of Arc born into? ›

Early Life. Joan of Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans, was born in Domremy, France, on or about January 6, 1412. Her family members were peasants. She took care of the animals on the farm, and she was good at sewing and spinning.

What gender is St Joan of Arc? ›

Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was a pious medieval French girl who transcended gender roles. During the Medieval times, gender roles were rigid, and society was wholly patriarchal. Men dominated feudal society, and – unlike women – they were publicly active, participating in political, social, and military matters.


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