Saint Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was a woman of great faith. She was born on January 6, 1412 to Jacques and Isabella d’Arc in the village of Domremy, on the eastern border of France. At the time of her childhood the open hostilities of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France defined life for everyone. The clashes, truces, battles and quarrels had always been going on but it seemed that they were violent and happened more frequently during Joan’s childhood. On top of this war, France was in the middle of a civil war. Not much is known about Joan’s young life until the age of about 12 or 13.
Joan started hearing voices at the age of 13. These voices originally only exhorted her to pray often and attend church. After a year or two they started telling her that she must help the dauphin, or future king, of France be crowned. The dauphin, Charles VII, had to be coronated at Reims by tradition, but at that time Reims was held by the English, with their own hopes of crowning Henry VI, who was but a child, when he was old enough.
In 1428, Joan’s visions continued, and her friends [who believed she was really divinely inspired] obtained a horse and boy’s clothing for her and accompanied her to the military commander at Vaucouleurs, Robert de Baudricourt. Baudricourt did not take her seriously and she returned home. In January, 1429, Joan again went to Vaucoulers where this time she was able to gain the confidence of Capitan Baudricourt. He provided her with an escort of six men at arms to take her to the king at Chinon in the Loire Valley. She left Vaucoulers, for Chinon on about February 13, dressed as a man. She, and her escort, traveled 11 days, across enemy held land, before reaching the Dauphin.
The story is that the Dauphin decided to test her and had one of his courtiers pretend to be king. However, Joan [who had never seen Charles] ignored the courtier and went directly to Charles. After months of questioning Joan, and...