(March is Women’s History Month. Acton will be highlighting a number of women who have contributed significantly to the issue of liberty during this month.)

Artist: Michael C. Hayes

Artist: Michael C. Hayes

Joan of Arc

1412-1431
The Maid of Orleans

Young Joan, by any account, had a plain beginning to an extraordinary life. Until the age of 12 or so, she was the daughter of a farmer, who learned farming and household skills from her parents.

Her native France was involved in what is typically referred to as the Hundred Years War with England, but the French had broken into factions that complicated the resistance against the English invasion. It was during this tumultuous period that Joan began to hear voices and see visions of various saints and angels, urging her to support Charles VII as the true leader of France. This meant, for Joan, that she cut her hair, dressed as a soldier and led Charles’ rag-tag troops into battle.

Further, Joan sought to reform the men’s life in camp: kicking out prostitutes, urging the men to pray, attend Mass, and refrain from looting. While Joan was recognized as a leader in battle, she was not armed, preferring to carry a banner with Jesus and the fleur-de-lis on it.

While Joan was able help Charles VII regain control, she became the focus of a Burgundian conspiracy and was eventually betrayed, arrested and burned at the stake. Various sources claim that she was found guilty of witchcraft, heresy, and even immodest dress (for wearing men’s clothing), but the Burgundian forces which opposed the rule of Charles VII brought her unifying spiritual leadership to an end. However, Joan had achieved the goal she believe God had enjoined her with: bringing Charles back to the throne as the rightful ruler of France.

History remembers Joan of Arc as a young woman of deep spiritual devotion, bravery, and an undeniable passion for serving God and country.

For detailed information about Joan of Arc, visit the Joan of Arc Archive.

  • http://twitter.com/PonsSublicius John Hasley

    And when the king of France offered her any reward she desired for her work, she only asked that her town of Domremy be freed from taxes. (A promise that was kept until the French Revolution.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/saint.joan.of.arc1 Joan Darc

    A good website discussing Joan of Arc as a freedom fighter is http://www.joan-of-arc.us/

  • stephen ryan

    read mark twain;s magnificent essay on Joan of arc at http://ministryvalues.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1113&Itemid=125

    and remember she accomplished everything by taking direction directly from heaven

  • mary-gladys martin kent

    hello Jehanne d’arc name means John John is a job means prophet the charge was insubordination charles was not happy about not receiving prophesy to aid in a war so charles said get out of my face we are no longer friends.yes. j