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Joan of Arc - Famous Figures in History

Joan of Arc led the French army to defeat the English at Orleans

Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in Domremy, France. She was nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans.” She led the French army to defeat the English at Orleans while she was only 18 years. Unfortunately, French collaborators working together with the English captured Joan a year after her battle victory and burned her. On the 16th of May 1920, the Roman Church canonized her as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan believed that everything that she was doing, she was doing under divine guidance. She is considered to be one of the greatest French National Heroines. Her achievements awakened the consciousness of the French national. Joan believed that the moves she made were guided by voices of St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Michael and St. Catherine of Alexandria. Joan exhibited both physical and mental courage. Her common sense was robust.

Early Life

The family that Joan was brought up in was poor due to the constant conflicts between France and England. Her father was a tenant farmer. Joan of Arc exhibited a religious and sensitive temperament. She started to have mystical visions at a very tender age of 21 years. From the vision, she felt that the voice of God commanded her to renew the nation of the French. In one of her trials, she said that she felt these visions were real just like one would see a person. She further narrates that there was the presence of saints such as St Catherine and St Michael who accompanied these visions. She also noted that there was light in these mystical visions that she experienced. These visions increased the religious inclination of Joan. She was very obedient to the time of the Mass, and she would display this by leaving whatever she was doing and attend the mass when the bell rang. She would also go for confessions frequently. It was until May 1428 that Joan of arc started sharing her visions with others. Her first audience was Charles de Ponthieu who was a French leader but a weak one. There was no unity in France as Joan was growing up. King Henry V of England invaded France in 1415 and had victory over the French army. The defeat of the French army made the country very weak and divided.

Later Life

The reputation of Joan spread throughout the French forces after her miraculous victory. Her army escorted Charles all the way to Reims across the territory of the enemy. They took over towns that resisted. The take over enabled Charles to be coronated in July 1429 as king Charles VII. Joan did put a lot of effort for the army that she led to retake France. However, Charles wavered this move. Georges de La Trémoille cautioned King Charles about Joan since she was becoming very powerful. In 1430 the Burgundians took captive of Joan after a confrontation. She later signed some confession in the year 1431. Later she denied some orders which led to authorities pronouncing her death sentence. She was burned to death in the Rouen market at the age of 19. In 1920 Pope Benedict XV canonized her.

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