Joan of Arc was a French national heroine who became a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a simple peasant girl who rescued France in one of the darkest periods of the Hundred Years War with England. Her first great triumph was to lead a French army against the English, who had been terrorizing the city of Orleans. She has often been called the Maid of Orleans in honor of that victory.
Jeanne d'Arc, as she was known in France, was born on January 6th, 1412 in the small French village of Donremy, near Nancy. She was the daughter of a successful farmer, Jacques dArc, and of his wife, Isabelle Rommee. Like most peasants of her time, she never learned to read or write. She grew up as a Catholic under the strong influence of her deeply religious mother. The girl called herself Jeanne la Pucelle or Joan the Maid.
Some historians believed that Joan may have been a clairvoyant, a person who can know the future without using any of the five senses.
By the age of 13, Joan has received what she believed were voices of saints. There was one voice that said: Jeanne, you are destined to lead a different kind of life and to accomplish miraculous things, for you are she who has been chosen by the king of Heaven to restore the Kingdom of France, and to aid and protect King Charles VII, who has been driven from his domains. You shall put on masculine clothes; you shall wear armor and become head of the army; all things shall be guided by your counsel. She went to the town of Vaucouleurs to ask a military commander for an escort to see the king. Early in 1429, at about the age of...