1412, it is in the last half-century of the Hundred Years' War in which the French attempted to attain freedom from English rule by fighting to eradicate English strongholds. An unusually strong, healthy, and possibly clairvoyant girl is born to Isabelle RomÃÂ©e and Jacques d'Arc in the small village of Domremy, France. Her mother is from the town of Vouthon, which is west of Domremy. Her surname concurs that either she or a family member has visited Rome. Her father was born in a village called Ceffonds in the province of Champagne. His last name indicates a connection with Arc-en-Barrois, a small town fifty kilometers north of Ceffonds. She had a somewhat wealthy family as you can tell from their home with a stone construction. You can still visit her home today. It has since been used as a wine cellar, a wine press, and a stable. She was one of five children: Jacques, Catherine, Jean, Joan, and Pierre.
Their wealth came from their farming of wheat, flax, beet hemp, and colza. They also bred livestock, spun wool and tow, and kneaded their own bread. She was baptized by Jean Minet in the Church of St. Remy.
She is admired by patriots, women's rights activists, paranormal investigators, and playwrights.
The woman I am talking about is commonly known as Joan of Arc.
When Joan was 13 she began to see visions and hear voices who she later determined to be Saints Catherine, Margaret, and Michael. They convinced her that she was chosen by God to help the dauphin, Charles VII free France and take his seat in the throne. At age 17 in 1429 she gained access to the King through the military commander in Vaucoulaurs.
Charles was desperate because the English had captured almost half of France including Paris. When Joan told him of her visions of the Saints he was doubtful so he set up two tests for her. In the first he disguised himself as a courtier, but she pointed him out immediately.
For the second test he asked her what he prayed to God for the night before she arrived; she told him exactly. Some of the clergy believed her to be Satanic, but Joan was approved. Charles fitted her with armor and gave her command of the military. Soon after she set out to free Orleans from a brutal siege. The other French commanders hesitantly followed orders, but soon they obeyed her whole-heartedly. Under Joan's command the siege was broken after only ten days and the English fled.
She was given the everlasting title "The Maid of Orleans". Joan convinced Charles to undergo a formal coronation in the Cathedral at Reims. While escorting Charles, Joan and her army won several battles with the British along the way. She was at his side when Charles took the throne on July, 17 1429.
During a minor battle in September, 1429 where Joan tried to free Paris, she was injured. Eight months later she was captured by a troop of Burgundians who wished to sell her for ransom. Instead she was sold to the English for a lot of money. The English believed her rumored visions Satanic so they tried her on accusations of witchcraft and heresy. Despite constant badgering she never swayed from her belief that her visions her from God. A French clergy sympathetic to the English convicted and sentenced Joan to death. On May, 30 1431 in the town square at Rouen she was burned at the stake. Due to her bravery in death people thought they had witnessed martyrdom of a Saint. Much to her family's regret she was not allowed a Christian burial as her ashes were thrown into the Seine River.
In 1455 Joan's family requested a retrial for her and a hearing was granted by Pope Callistus III. One year later she was found innocent.
Joan was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and in 1920 she was canonized as a Saint. You can celebrate her feast day on May 30.
"Joan of Arc, the maid of Orleans, was neither a witch nor a saint, but by curious circumstances her life and death fulfilled the requirements of both." -From Jeanne La Pucelle and The Dying God by James L. Matterer